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Looking Back: 14 Years of Tips
WHEN Paul Grimes, the originator of the Practical Traveler column, turned it over to me 14 years ago, he said the most important task was to read the fine print on everything — tickets, insurance fliers, tour brochures, guarantees. In the big type, he said, everyone fibs. Typical is the "nine night" tour that the small type clearly shows includes one night in an airline seat.
It's a good first principle. And now that it is time for me to yield this space, I thought to compress into the allotted 1,200 words other nuggets I have derived from 613 weeks — I did take vacations — of sometimes furious research. So here goes.
The term "direct flight" is nonsense. It's a nonstop flight or it is not. I have been shifted to other airlines as well as other planes on trips labeled direct flights.
When you walk out into a foreign city, one where English is not the first language, snag a business card or a brochure from the desk of your hotel. It will save you from the terrors Jean Simmons suffered in "So Long at the Fair," when her hotel room apparently disappeared.
Taxes can destroy bargain rates. A car rented for $179.99 a week in Minneapolis will run $245.10 by the time the taxes and fees are piled on. A hotel room in New York City advertised at, say $129, will cost a somewhat less reasonable $148 a night after the taxes of 13.25 percent plus $2 are added. This could be a particularly unwelcome surprise. Ask about taxes when you call.
Don't let gloaters spoil your trip when they boast about the better exchange rate they got for their lire. Yes, keep your eye on the fees at places with names like KashPoynte. But even if you pay too much once, don't agonize over $2 wasted on a $500 exchange. Honor is not at stake.
Don't pack anything you cannot bear to part with. I still remember seeing a gold charm bracelet at the Unclaimed Baggage store in Scottsboro, Ala. "I bet they cried when they lost that one," the clerk said.
Most travelers have to discover this for themselves, but perhaps one or two people can be spared the embarrassment: that string over the shower in the European hotel is not the light cord. It's an emergency bell. If you pull it, people will be along when you least want them.
If you are going to anything other than a tropical spot, pack gloves: hands can get cold on the most unexpected dates. And mittens are warmer than gloves, if less chic.
Take a map. Even if you've driven the route a hundred times, accidents and detours may dispatch you to Terra Incognita.
If you didn't notice on checking in, you can tell it's an economy hotel by the thinness of the towels.
Check your passport expiration date now, not the day before you leave. If yours expires in the next few months, renew now by mail rather than play the costly game of beat the deadline later. Most photo developing shops now take proper passport pictures.
Get the name of the person who takes your hotel or tour reservation. If the computer system digests badly, that name will uphold your credibility and may even help another employee trace your record.
There is no more free lunch, but the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers does send a directory of English-speaking doctors overseas who agree to limit their fees for office and hotel calls. Write to the organization at 417 Center Street, Lewiston, N.Y. 14092, call (716) 754-4883, or see www.iamat.org. No surprise, the organization lives by contributions, and you will be asked.
What's a double room in another country? It may have one wide bed or two narrow ones. If it matters to you, ask. Similarly, a British hotel room described as having a private bath may indeed have a bath but not a toilet. Ask.
What to Take — and Leave
Carry two credit cards separately when you travel. If one is stolen, and the account is frozen, you have another way to feed and house yourself.
In an airport crisis, blowing up at the gate agent will not help. It can hurt. On an occasion of awful weather at La Guardia some years ago, the man in line in front of me lost it and called the gate agent an obscene word. She told him to step aside before she called the police. He became more objectionable. I told her that if she needed a witness, I would be available. Most of us who stuck it out got on the flight, when there finally was one. He was not aboard, and may have been in detention.
Don't pack brand new shoes. Take only those that are already broken in.
The little note pad with the name and phone number of the hotel in Florence is meant to be taken with you. I have a rack of hotel note pads more treasured than objects from lost arks. When these are given to friends who ask for a recommendation, the hotel will recoup its investment many times over.
Computer systems get knocked out: At hotels, at airports, at car rental counters and even in the stock exchange and A.T.M. networks. Carry a few extra dollars; do not rely utterly on electronic lifelines. And if you have a faxed confirmation sheet, it may get you into a hotel room while the reservation system is brought back up.
It is a dark topic, but children who take airplane trips alone often experience many more difficulties than airlines, parents, safety advocates and airport managers want to acknowledge. Parents should do whatever is humanly possible to avoid sending a child alone by plane before the child is old enough to ride alone on public transportation in a city. Some children are ready at 14; some are still uncertain at 16.
Hotels in the United States are required to provide a card by the room phone stating the telephone charges. If it's not there, ask the front desk for one before you hook up your computer.
A journalism teacher from The Daily News admonished our class at Columbia University many years ago, in colorful language, to let it enter our heads once in a great while that we might be wrong. That's a good thought for coping while traveling.
Ten Commandments of Egoless Programming
Note: [I|Kishore Balakrishnan] didnot write it ! If you know who wrote it... please email to kishore at carnatic dot com - Thanks ! - [Chandramouli Mahadevan] forwarded it to me
* [zdnet.co.uk: Ten Commandments of egoless programming|http://www.zdnet.co.uk/print/?TYPE=story&AT=2111465-39020648t-10000021c] - same as above - printer friendly !
1. Understand and accept that you will make mistakes. The point is to find mistakes early, before they make it into production. Fortunately, except for the few of us developing rocket guidance software at [JPL|http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/], mistakes are rarely fatal in our industry. We aren't surgeons; we can learn, laugh, and move on.
2. You are not your code. Remember, the entire point of a review is to find problems and problems will be found. Don't take it personally when a problem is uncovered.
4. Don't rewrite other programmers' code without consultation. There's a fine line between "fixing other programmers' code" and "rewriting other programmers' code." The former implies that a bug or other functionality problem exists and needs to be fixed; it can also refer to correcting gross readability problems. The latter, however, refers to changes made to code for the sake of style. Programmers fresh from college are often guilty of this. Things like renaming variables, the use of a different construct, recommenting, or gratuitous reformatting of white space fall into this category. Such activities, even with the purest of motives, are high hubris and detrimental to team mentality.
5. Treat people who know less than you with respect, deference, and patience. Nontechnical people who deal with developers on a regular basis almost universally hold the opinion that we are prima donnas at best and crybabies at worst. Becoming angry only reinforces this perception and teaches people to avoid asking questions. This can only harm your work in the long run.
6. The only constant in the world is change. Be open to it and accept it with a smile. Look at each change to your requirements, platform, or tool as a new challenge, not as some serious inconvenience to be fought.
8. Fight for what you believe but gracefully accept defeat. Understand that sometimes your ideas will be overruled. Even if you do turn out to be right, don't take revenge or say, "I told you so" more than a few times at most, and don't make your dearly departed idea a martyr or rallying cry.
9. Don't be "the guy in the room." Don't be the guy coding in the dark office emerging only to buy cola. The guy in the room is out of touch, out of sight, and out of control and has no place in an open, collaborative environment.
10. Critique code instead of people be kind to the coder, not to the code. As much as possible, make all of your comments positive and oriented to improving the code. Relate comments to local standards, program specs, increased performance, etc.
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.
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.
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."
Arjuna: "O Revered Guru! I see nothing but the bird to be aimed at."
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:
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.
Gurudeva
Source: http://www.gurudeva.dynip.com/~htoday/press_releases/
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
battery of tests revealed the cancer and that it had metastasized to other
Hawaii, Washington State and California all concurred that even the most
just a few months to live. The popular Satguru went into seclusion and after
palliative measures. He also made the decision to follow the Indian yogic
practice, called Prayopavesa in Sanskrit scripture, to abstain from
nourishment and take water only from that day on. His doctors endorsed and
News of his impending passage was first released to the Hindu world on
October 16. Immediately temples, ashrams and devotees around the world began
the "Mrityunjaya Yajna," a worship ceremony traditionally offered prior to
return to the great inner heaven worlds whence he was sent by God and the
Gods to help mankind. Nearly a hundred devotees from all over the world flew
to the remote island of Kauai to be nearby during the passage. The
tomorrow morning in a meditation crypt behind the sanctum sanctorum of the
saint's choosing is regarded as an auspicious event, one to be met with
Ma Yoga Shakti, renowned teacher and Hinduism Today's Hindu of the Year for
enlightened soul of the West -- a Hanuman of today, a reincarnation of Siva
helped make Hinduism an even greater gift to humanity." Swami Agnivesh of
most basic beliefs and daily practices to the loftiest refined philosophy
Hinduism Today, which evolved over 21 years from a simple newsletter to an
creation of Iraivan Temple on Kauai, the first all-stone, hand-carved
Endowment to perpetually fund worthy Hindu institutions and his
previously given to the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, Mikhail Gorbachev, Pope
immediately conscious that a saint was present. Total strangers who had no
idea who he was would approach him with reverence, anxious to meet this
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
with deep connections to India. In his teenage years he was trained in
drawn to a spiritual life, he renounced his career at its height and sailed
to India and Sri Lanka in 1947, on the first ship to sail to India following
fasted and meditated until he burst into enlightenment. Soon after that God
Subramuniya, and initiated him into the holy orders of sannyasa, or
renunciate monasticism. Yogaswami then ordained the young mystic into his
Gurudeva introduced the nation to the circular saw, worked with leading
township of Alaveddy, just north of Jaffna.
Gurudeva returned to America in 1950 where he went into a reclusive phase of
deep contemplation and developed the spiritual techniques imparted to him in
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
welcomed Hindu swamis coming for the first time to America, including Swami
"Innersearch" travel-study programs, which he conducted periodically to
most outstanding of these programs was his 1969 pilgrimage to India with 65
devotees, then the largest group from America ever to come to India. Similar
spiritual journeys took him and hundreds of devotees to dozens of nations,
tours focused on connecting with the Tamil Saivite communities around the
In the 1970s he brought his followers and organization entirely into
famed Hinduism Today magazine. He developed a large printing facility in
It was during this decade that large numbers of Hindus began to emigrate
from India to the United States and Europe, encouraged by new immigration
Subramuniyaswami sought to fill the gap by inspiring dozens of groups to
the start of any project, with instructions to immediately begin His
worship. He made himself available to the founders when they encountered
difficulties, and counseled them on how to integrate with the local American
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.
renaissance tours, meeting hundreds of thousands of Hindus in India and Sri
Lanka, to whom he spread a message of courage, regenerating pride of
300,000 Hindus came to his discourses, which called for Hindus to have pride
in their heritage and to cling to their faith despite efforts of other
religions to make inroads and converts. During that Innersearch, Gurudeva
was paraded through towns and villages in the ancient way, seldom seen
today. White hand-woven cloth was laid before him to form a path on which he
would walk to each meeting, each temple rite, each lecture. Sometimes these
Hundreds of thousands of Saivites turned out that morning to welcome the
hundreds of women with baskets full of flowers standing on the tops of each
building raining tons of flowers on the great guru below who had given
India's greatest Bharata Natyam dancer, Kumari Swarnamukhi, to dance in the
to the temples from which they had been banned for so long.
government had invited him to revive a languishing Hindu faith. "Please come
to our country," wrote one Mauritian at the time, "but do not just feed us
rice. Teach us how to grow rice. Teach us our ancient heritage."
floor with desktop publishing, adopting the Apple computer in 1985, then in
its infancy, and instructing his monks to create a state-of-the-art system.
Engineers from Apple came to Kauai to marvel at the setup. Apple even sent a
team of documentary filmmakers to the monastery to show their employees the
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
was in 1994 that he founded Hindu Heritage Endowment to provide permanent
Subramuniyaswami taught the traditional Saivite Hindu path to enlightenment,
a path that leads the soul from simple service to worshipful devotion to
God, from the disciplines of meditation and yoga to the direct knowing of
Divinity within. His insights into the nature of consciousness provide a key
for quieting the external mind and revealing to aspirants their deeper
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
to "know thy Self by thyself" and thus "see God Siva everywhere."
Foundational to all of his work is the Kauai Aadheenam and its resident
countries and include both men born into the Hindu religion and those who
immanent nature of God, the value of temple worship and the need to work
including reincarnation, karma and dharma, vegetarianism, noninjury toward
through penance, pilgrimage and daily worship. Natha gurus refuse to
lowest to the highest, according to spiritual worthiness. Swamis of the
historically lived among the people, rather than in remote areas, and
Throughout his life, Subramuniyaswami sought to establish, stabilize and
his ability to explain the most complex principles in a uniquely lucid and
until him the English representations of Hinduism were mostly Victorian in
Hindu brotherhood are verily indebted to Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami for
carefully arranged, edited and published. Today it can be unhesitatingly
are popular around the world for their easy readability, and are used in
in question and answer format on the basics of Hinduism. Central to "Living
our day, one of which came into play at the end of his own life. Hindu
path ahead and considering the severity of his condition decided to fast to
Living with Siva: "To leave the body in the right frame of mind, in the
right consciousness, through the highest possible chakra, is a key to
to be the only possibilities facing a soul whose body was failing, whose
terminally diseased, to choose a righteous release. What wonderful wisdom.
systems. No loss of the family wealth for prolonged health care or into the
hands of unscrupulous doctors. No lapsing into unconscious coma. No loss of
with mantras and tantras, with scriptural readings, deep meditation,
reflection and listening to favorite religious songs, with joyous release,
light and serious aspirants wishing to follow the path toward illumination
understanding and transcending the various states of mind and the methods to
In addition to the trilogy, Subramuniyaswami produced "Loving Ganesha," a
an administrative manual on his organization which has served to guide other
Hindu organizations in their efforts to transplant Hinduism on Western soil;
as well as dozens of pamphlets, posters and handouts. In response to a
Hindu Religion, now taught to thousands of children around the world.
One book in particular, "How to Become a Hindu," published in 2000,
he was adverse to hiding or minimizing the Hindu origins of his teachings.
not born into the faith, that they sincerely convert to Hinduism if they
wanted to follow him, including legally changing their name to a Hindu name.
The book was well received in India, where people referred to it as "How to
foremost leaders, said it "will provide immense help to those who wish to
enter the Hindu fold, and also to the younger generation of Hindus." The
travels for other events he would take time out to have book signings at
local book stores such as Borders and Barnes and Noble. These were always
famed guru. The store would turn into a temporary temple as devotees and
readers piled flowers at Gurudeva's feet. His helpers quickly learned that
bookstores rarely stocked enough books for the relatively large numbers who
of the evening, Subramuniyaswami would joke with the store's staff, "Well,
Subramuniyaswami founded Hinduism Today magazine in 1979 to fulfill six
purposes: 1) To foster Hindu solidarity as a unity in diversity among all
sects and lineages; 2) To inform and inspire Hindus worldwide and people
interested in Hinduism; 3) To dispel myths, illusions and misinformation
about Hinduism; 4) To protect, preserve and promote the sacred Vedas and the
Hindu religion; 5) To nurture and monitor the ongoing spiritual Hindu
renaissance; 6) To publish a resource for Hindu leaders and educators who
and all countries in which Hindus live. With a studied aversion to politics,
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
Hanuman of today, a reincarnation of Siva Himself -- has watered the roots
united Hindus throughout the world with his dynamic approach to an ancient
"Hinduism Today presents Hinduism's new global face. It takes a strategic
lead in the effort to overcome the problem of self-alienation and growing
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
hired to design the edifice in the thousand-year-old Chola style. The actual
assembled, blacksmith facilities were built along with enormous sheds to
protect the stone sculptors from the Indian sun. A Malaysian family,
to Bangalore to supervise the workers. The family oversees even today the
stones which are quarried, carved and trial-fitted, then shipped to Kauai
where starting in May, 2001, a team of seven master stone carvers from India
arrived to begin assembly. They are presently on the sixth course of the
temple; the work is expected to take several more years to complete. At the
sanctum. This is the first all-stone temple ever built in the Western
careful craftsmanship. He directed the carvers to do everything by hand, and
even when efficiency experts urged him to permit hydraulic tools to speed up
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
to represent God Siva in His transcendent state.
At the moment when Nepal changed from a monarchy to a democracy in 1990, his
influence was instrumental in countering veiled threats to foreign aid that
campaign to "Stop the War in the Home" (see source for this talk at end) and
to change the policies of schools. He directed his own followers in many
nations to stop hitting or abusing, even verbally, their children under any
circumstances, and instructed them to begin teaching nonviolent methods of
children. She visited him on Kauai and together they worked out programs in
When he addressed the 1,200 delegates to the Millennium Peace Summit of
he said in part, "To stop the wars in the world, our best long-term solution
is to stop the war in the home. It is here that hatred begins, that
children learn to solve their problems with violence. This is true of every
throughout his life to create "pure Saivites," as he said shortly before his
inner experience. His staff researched thousands of topics and consulted
regularly with hundreds of scholars, linguists, historians, theologians and
Hinduism, but rather encouraged each to be true to their own traditions and
philosophy. For decades he worked to create a Hindu solidarity by
hundreds were either visited by him in their ashrams or found their way to
In addition to his work within the global Hinduism, Subramuniyaswami also
the authority to clarify and reinterpret scripture and to revise customary
called upon to settle disputes in the community, to advise politicians, even
to help arrange marriages. Subramuniyaswami was called upon to perform all
By far his greatest efforts and most focused energy went toward the 2.5
the country in 1983. Just prior to its onset he toured the country,
poured out of Sri Lanka and made their way to Canada, America, Germany,
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
in Europe, and celebrated with them their successful adaptation to their new
homes. In Denmark in August of 2001 he laid the foundation stone for an
Sivacharya priests of South India, who are traditionally attached to the
aadheenams. He helped restore the dignity of this priesthood and encouraged
young men born in the priest families to follow in the profession of their
fathers instead of opting for higher-paying but totally secular jobs. He
started to treat their priests with respect, pay them decent wages and
provide proper living facilities. He encouraged priests to start their own
considered the status and well-being of the Hindu priesthood to be the most
and monks will continue to champion the cause of Hindu priests around the
turn, for example, by sending young Sivachariya priests to train his monks
in temple worship, a training heretofore never imparted to anyone outside
years, Hindus attracted to Subramuniyaswami's teachings started the
schools. These classes and the widespread distribution of Hinduism Today
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
organizations to also hold youth camps. More recently, he's advocated
devotees to teach classes for other Hindu parents in nonviolent means of
parenting and to change school policies regarding corporal punishment of
new life into Hinduism for the Hindus of Malaysia." Today three of
Manon Mardemootoo, a long-standing devotee of Subramuniyaswami and a
prominent attorney, offered this summary of Subramuniyaswami's work in the
"Subramuniyaswami came to Mauritius in the 1980s at the request of Hindu
village to village with one of his swamis. Then Gurudeva sent a
story of our soul, our great God and Gods, the pillars of Hinduism, karma,
misconceptions in the Tamil Saivite community. Many of us came to understand
the printing of a local edition of Hinduism Today in 1986 on the island and
people would come for the weekly homas held at that time. Today the major
part of this land has been dedicated to a spiritual park, a present of
Subramuniyaswami to the people of Mauritius and the only one of its nature
Kauai Aadheenam, to the monastery. They created the Spiritual Park and held
Subramuniyaswami advised his family members to use ayurvedic medicine and
adopt a healthy diet, including raw sugar, brown rice and brown bread. As
the only way to completely eradicate violence from our society. Gurudeva
excellence at work which he instilled among his members and the need to
members, to take these teachings into the public and make it a living
"He will also be remembered for two meetings to promote community harmony.
The first was with Hindu leaders to strengthen the ties within the Hindu
Louis, he met with religious leaders of all faiths to strengthen the bonds
of friendship, respect and harmony among the people of Mauritius. Today, in
politicians, business people and spiritual individuals wanting to create a
superintendent of schools, business and agricultural leaders, to bring a
unity to the ethnically diverse island of 55,000 and to offer his vision for
forward on local TV and radio programs, at Rotary Club breakfasts to which
he was invited to speak, and in person. He would from time to time be sought
island. Hundreds of residents, well-to-do and not so well-to-do alike,
devotees worldwide to carry his work and institutions forward with
unstinting vigor, to keep one another strong on the spiritual path, to work
diligently on their personal spiritual disciplines and to live every moment
wisdom and love, are well-prepared to keep his mission potent and effective.
These two communities will continue the work together: building the Iraivan
contributing to our local Kauai community, guiding the future of Hinduism
around the globe and working to reduce violence, child-beating and spouse
Website for extensive further information and high-resolution photos
http://www.gurudeva.dynip.com/~htoday/press_releases/
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."
He said, "In that case I will have to see your father."
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.
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.
From Bondage to Freedom,Chapter 40
Azim Premji's Success Recipe
You should dare to dream,
learn to work in teams,
and finally never let success go to your head
"You should dare to dream, define what you stand for, never lose your zest and curiosity, always strive for excellence, build self confidence, learn to work in teams, take care of yourself, preserve, have a broader social vision and finally never let success go to your head," Premji said.
I am privileged to be with you here today and to share this significant moment of your life.
The convocation marks the culmination of all the endless nights you worked through, all the anxieties you have gone through facing one examination after another and all the preparation you have put in, not only to enter this prestigious institution but also to graduate from it successfully. It is no mean achievement.
The world does look very different when it is seen with your eyes. You are filled with enthusiasm and are straining at the leash to get on with life.
And the world is very different from what it was when I was at your age. Never before has the role of technology been so pervasive and so central. The Internet has breached all physical borders and connected the world together like no other force has done before.
For the first time, opportunities for creating wealth in India are at par with the best in world. There is no need for you to sacrifice the joy of remaining in your own country any more.
All opportunities are accompanied by their own challenges. I thought I would share with you a few of the lessons I have learnt in my own life, while loading the transformation at Wipro, from a small company three and a half decades back into a global corporation listed on the New York Stock Exchange. I hope you find them useful.
* Lesson # 1: Dare to dream
What I am happy is that we never stopped dreaming. Even when we achieved a position of leadership in every business we operated in India. We now have a dream of becoming one of the top 10 global it service companies.
Many people wonder whether having unrealistic dreams is foolish. My reply to that is dreams by themselves can never be realistic or safe. If they were, they would not be dreams. I do agree that one must have strategies to execute dreams. And, of course, one must slog to transform dreams into reality. But dreams come first.
What saddens me most is to see young, bright people getting completely disillusioned by a few initial setbacks and slowly turning cynical and some of them want to migrate to America in the hope this is the solution.
It requires courage to keep dreaming. And that is when dreams are most needed- not when everything is going right, but when just about everything is going wrong.
While success is important, it can become enduring only if it is built on a strong foundation of Values. Define what you stand for as early as possible and do not compromise with it for any reason. Nobody can enjoy the fruits of success if you have to argue with your own conscience.
In Wipro, we defined our Beliefs long before it became a fashion to do so. It not only helped us in becoming more resilient to stand up to crises we faced along the way, but it also helped us in attracting the right kind of people.
Eventually, we realised that our values made eminent business sense. Values help in clarifying what everyone should do or not do in any business situation. It saves enormous time and effort because each issue does not have to be individually debated at length.
But remember that values are meaningful only if you practice them. People may listen to what you say but they will believe what you do. Values are a matter of trust. They must be reflected in each one of your actions. Trust takes a long time to build but can be lost quickly by just one inconsistent act.
Remaining on top of what you need to know will become one of the greatest challenges for you.
The natural zest and curiosity for learning is one of the greatest drivers for keeping updated on knowledge. A child's curiosity is insatiable because every new object is a thing of wonder and mystery. The same zest is needed to keep learning new things.
I personally spend at least ten hours every week on reading. If I do not do that, I find myself quickly outdated.
There is a tremendous difference between being good and being excellent in whatever you do. In the world of tomorrow, just being good is not good enough.
One of the greatest advantages of globalisation is that it has brought in completely different standards. Being the best in the country is not enough; one has to be the best in the world. Excellence is a moving target. One has to constantly raise the bar.
In the knowledge-based industries, India has the unique advantage of being a quality leader. just like japan was able to win in the overseas market with its quality leadership in automobile manufacturing, india has been able to do the same in information technology.
At Wipro, we treat quality as the #1 priority. This enabled us not only to become the world's first SEI CMM Level 5 software services company in the world but also a leader in Six Sigma approach to quality in India.
However, even today I am dissatisfied with several things which we are not doing right in the area of customer satisfaction.
They are able to distinguish between what is in their control and what is not. They do not waste their energies on events that are outside their control and hence they can take setbacks in their stride.
* Lesson # 6: Learn to work in teams
The challenges ahead are so complex that no individual will be able to face them alone. While most of our education is focused in individual strength, teaming with others is equally important. You cannot fire a missile from a canoe. Unless you build a strong network of people with complimentary skills, you will be restricted by your own limitations.
Globalisation has brought in people of different origin, different upbringing and different cultures together. Ability to become an integral part of a cross-cultural team will be a must for your success.
The stress that a young person faces today while beginning his or her career is the same as the last generation faced at the time of retirement.
You must develop your own mechanism for dealing with stress. I have found that a daily jog for me, goes a long way in releasing the pressure and building up energy. You will need lots of energy to deal with the challenges.
Finally, no matter what you decide to do in your life, you must persevere. Keep at it and you will succeed, no matter how hopeless it seems at times. In the last three and half decades, we have gone through many difficult times. But we have found that if we remain true to what we believe in, we can surmount every difficulty that comes in the way.
I remember reading this very touching story on perseverance.
An eight-year-old child heard her parents talking about her little brother. All she knew was that he was very sick and they had no money left. They were moving to a smaller house because they could not afford to stay in the present house after paying the doctor's bills. Only a very costly surgery could save him now and there was no one to loan them the money.
When she heard daddy say to her tearful mother with whispered desperation, 'Only a miracle can save him now', the child went to her bedroom and pulled a glass jar from its hiding place in the closet.
Clutching the precious jar tightly, she slipped out the back door and made her way six blocks to the local drug Store. She took a quarter from her jar and placed it on the glass counter.
"And what do you want?" asked the pharmacist. "It's for my little brother," the girl answered back. "He's really, really sick and I want to buy a miracle."
"Listen, I have the money to pay for it. If it isn't enough, I can try and get some more. Just tell me how much it costs."
In the shop was a well-dressed customer. He stooped down and asked the little girl, "What kind of a miracle does you brother need?"
He took her money in one hand and held her hand with the other. He said, "Take me to where you live. I want to see your brother and meet your parents. Let's see if I have the kind of miracle you need."
That well-dressed man was Dr Carlton Armstrong, a surgeon, specialising in neuro-surgery. The operation was completed without charge and it wasn't long before Andrew was home again and doing well.
The government was the logical choice for doing it, but it was strapped for resources. Other countries were willing to give us loans and aids but there was a limit to this.
In the millennium of the mind, knowledge-based industries like Information Technology are in a unique position to earn wealth from outside. While earning is important, we must have mechanisms by which we use it for the larger good of our society.
Through the Azim Premji Foundation, we have targeted over the next 12 months to enrol over a million children, who are out of school due to economic or social reasons.
I personally believe that the greatest gift one can give to others is the gift of education. We who have been so fortunate to receive this gift know how valuable it is.
* Lesson # 10: Never let success go to your head
No matter what we achieve, it is important to remember that we owe this success to many factors and people outside us. This will not only help us in keeping our sense of modesty and humility intact but also help us to retain our sense of proportion and balance.
The moment we allow success to build a feeling or arrogance, we become vulnerable to making bad judgements.
Let me illustrate this with another story:
A lady in faded dress and her husband, dressed in a threadbare suit, walked in without an appointment into the office of the president of the most prestigious educational institution in America.
The secretary ignored them for hours hoping they will go away. But they did not. Finally, the secretary decided to disturb the president, hoping they will go way quickly once they meet him.
The president took one look at the faded dresses and glared sternly at them. The lady said, "Our son studied here and he was very happy. A year ago, he was killed in an accident. My husband and I would like to erect a memorial for him on the campus."
The president was not touched. He was shocked. "Madam, we cannot put up a statue for every student of ours who died. This place would look like a cemetery."
"Oh, no," the lady explained quickly, "we don't want to erect a statue. We thought we would give a building to you."
"A building?" exclaimed the president, looking at their worn out clothes. "Do you have any idea how much a building costs? Our buildings cost close to ten million dollars!"
The lady looked at her husband. "If that is what it costs to start a university, why don't we start our own?" Her husband nodded.
Mr and Mrs Leland Stanford walked away, travelling to Palo Alto, California, where they established the university as a memorial to their son, bearing their name - the Stanford University.
The story goes that this is how Stanford University began.
I suffer immensely from loneliness....
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.
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.
Because you don't know your aloneness, there is fear. You feel lonely so you want to cling to something, to somebody, to some relationship, just to keep the illusion that you are not lonely. But you know you are -- hence the pain. On the one hand you are clinging to something which is not for real, which is just a temporary arrangement -- a relationship, a friendship.
And while you are in the relationship you can create a little illusion to forget your loneliness. But this is the problem: although you can forget for a moment your loneliness, just the next moment you suddenly become aware that the relationship or the friendship is nothing permanent. Yesterday you did not know this man or this woman, you were strangers. Today you are friends -- who knows about tomorrow? Tomorrow you may be strangers again -- hence the pain.
The illusion gives a certain solace, but it cannot create the reality so that all fear disappears. It represses the fear, so on the surface you feel good -- at least you try to feel good. You pretend to feel good to yourself: how wonderful is the relationship, how wonderful is the man or the woman. But behind the illusion -- and the illusion is so thin that you can see behind it -- there is pain in the heart, because the heart knows perfectly well that tomorrow things may not be the same... and they are not the same.
Your whole life's experience supports that things go on changing. Nothing remains stable; you cannot cling to anything in a changing world. You wanted to make your friendship something permanent but your wanting is against the law of change, and that law is not going to make exceptions. It simply goes on doing its own thing. It will change -- everything.
Perhaps in the long run you will understand one day that it was good that it did not listen to you, that existence did not bother about you and just went on doing whatever it wanted to do... not according to your desire.
It may take a little time for you to understand. You want this friend to be your friend forever, but tomorrow he turns into an enemy. Or simply -- "You get lost!" and he is no longer with you. Somebody else fills the gap who is a far superior being. Then suddenly you realize it was good that the other one got lost; otherwise you would have been stuck with him. But still the lesson never goes so deep that you stop asking for permanence.
You will start asking for permanence with this man, with this woman: now this should not change. You have not really learned the lesson that change is simply the very fabric of life. You have to understand it and go with it. Don't create illusions; they are not going to help. And everybody is creating illusions of different kinds.
I used to know one man who said, "I trust only money. I trust nobody else."
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.
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.
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.
Friendship can be of two types. One is a friendship in which you are a beggar -- you need something from the other to help your loneliness -- and the other is also a beggar; he wants the same from you. And naturally two beggars cannot help each other. Soon they will see that their begging from a beggar has doubled or multiplied the need. Instead of one beggar, now there are two. And if, unfortunately, they have children, then there are a whole company of beggars who are asking -- and nobody has anything to give.
The other kind of friendship, the other kind of love, has a totally different quality. It is not of need, it is out of having so much that you want to share. A new kind of joy has come into your being -- that of sharing, which you were not ever aware of before. You have always been begging.
When you share, there is no question of clinging. You flow with existence, you flow with life's change, because it doesn't matter with whom you share. It can be the same person tomorrow -- the same person for your whole life -- or it can be different persons. It is not a contract, it is not a marriage; it is simply out of your fullness that you want to give. So whosoever happens to be near you, you give it. And giving is such a joy.
Begging is such a misery. Even if you get something through begging, you will remain miserable. It hurts. It hurts your pride, it hurts your integrity. But sharing makes you more centered, more integrated, more proud, but not more egoistic -- more proud that existence has been compassionate to you. It is not ego; it is a totally different phenomenon... a recognition that existence has allowed you something for which millions of people are trying, but at the wrong door. You happen to be at the right door.
You are proud of your blissfulness and all that existence has given to you. Fear disappears, darkness disappears, the pain disappears, the desire for the other disappears.
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.
So I will not tell you to do anything about your loneliness.
You will be surprised that different religions have given different names to the ultimate state of realization. The three religions born outside of India don't have any name for it because they never went far in the search for oneself. They remained childish, immature, clinging to a God, clinging to prayer, clinging to a savior. You can see what I mean: they are always dependent -- somebody else is to save them. They are not mature. Judaism, Christianity, Islam -- they are not mature at all and perhaps that is the reason they have influenced the greatest majority in the world, because most of the people in the world are immature. They have a certain affinity.
But the three religions in India have three names for this ultimate state. And I remembered this because of the word aloneness. Jainism has chosen kaivalya, aloneness, as the ultimate state of being. Just as Buddhism chose nirvana, no-selfness, and Hinduism chose moksha, freedom, Jainism chose absolute aloneness. All three words are beautiful. They are three different aspects of the same reality. You can call it liberation, freedom; you can call it aloneness; you can call it selflessness, nothingness -- just different indicators towards that ultimate experience for which no name is sufficient.
But always look to see if anything that you are facing as a problem is a negative thing or a positive thing. If it is a negative thing then don't fight with it; don't bother about it at all. Just look for the positive of it, and you will be at the right door.
There is no door; there is only darkness, there is only absence. And the more they fight, the more they find failure, the more they become dejected, pessimistic ... and ultimately they start finding that life has no meaning, that it is simply torture. But their mistake is they entered from the wrong door.
What is the meaning of Life?
Life in itself has no meaning. Life is an opportunity to create meaning. Meaning has not to be discovered: it has to be created. You will find meaning only if you create it. It is not lying there somewhere behind the bushes, so you can go and you search a little bit and find it. It is not there like a rock that you will find. It is a poetry to be composed, it is a song to be sung, it is a dance to be danced.
Millions of people are living meaningless lives because of this utterly stupid idea that meaning has to be discovered. As if it is already there. All that you need is to just pull the curtain, and behold! meaning is here. It is not like that.
So remember: Buddha finds the meaning because he creates it. I found it because I created it. God is not a thing but a creation. And only those who create find. And it is good that meaning is not lying there somewhere, otherwise one person would have discovered it -- then what would be the need for everybody else to discover it?
Can't you see the difference between religious meaning and scientific meaning? Albert Einstein discovered the theory of relativity; now, do you have to discover it again and again? You will be foolish if you discover it again and again. What is the point? One man has done it; he has given you the map. It may have taken years for him, but for you to understand it will take hours. You can go to the university and learn.
Buddha also discovered something, Zarathustra also discovered something, but it is not like Albert Einstein's discovery. It is not there that you have just to follow Zarathustra and his map and you will find it. You will never find it. You will have to become a Zarathustra. See the difference!
To understand the theory of relativity, you need not become an Albert Einstein, no. You have to be just of average intelligence, that's all. If you are not too much retarded, you will understand it.
But to understand the meaning of Zarathustra, you will have to become a Zarathustra -- less than that won't do. You will have to create it again. And each individual has to give birth to God, to meaning, to truth; each man has to become pregnant with it and pass through the pains of birth. Each one has to carry it in one's womb, feed it by one's own blood, and only then does one discover.
You must be waiting passively for the meaning to come... it will never come. This has been the idea of the past religions, that the meaning is already there. It is not! Freedom is there to create it, energy is there to create it. The field is there to sow the seeds and reap the crop. All is there -- but the meaning has to be created. That's why to create it is such a joy, such an adventure, such an ecstasy.
So the first thing: religion has to be creative. Up to now, religion has remained very passive, almost impotent. You don't expect a religious person to be creative. You just expect him to fast, sit in a cave, get up early in the morning, chant mantras... and this kind of stupid thing. And you are perfectly satisfied! What is he doing? And you praise him because he goes on long fasts. Maybe he is a masochist; maybe he enjoys torturing himself. He sits there when it is icy cold, naked, and you appreciate him. But what is the point, what is the value in it? All the animals of the world are naked in the icy cold -- they are not saints. Or when it is hot, he sits in the hot sun, and you appreciate him. You say, "Look! here is a great ascetic." But what is he doing? What is his contribution to the world? What beauty has he added to the world? Has he changed the world a little bit? Has he made it a little more sweet, more fragrant? No, you don't ask that.
Now, I tell you, this has to be asked: Praise a man because he has created a song. Praise a man because he has created a beautiful sculpture. Praise a man because he plays such a beautiful flute. Let these be religious qualities from now onwards. Praise a man because he is such a lover -- love is religion. Praise a man: because of him the world is becoming more graceful.
Forget all these stupid things! -- fasting and just sitting in a cave, torturing oneself or lying down on a bed of nails. Praise a man because he has cultivated beautiful roses. The world is more colorful because of him. And then you will find meaning.
Meaning comes out of creativity. Religion has to become more poetic, more aesthetic.
And second thing: sometimes it happens that you search for the meaning because you have already concluded. Out of a conclusion you search for it. You have already decided what meaning should be there, or has to be there... and then you don't find it.
The inquiry has to be pure. What do I mean when I say the inquiry has to be pure? It should be without any conclusion. It should not have any a priori in it.
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.
Meaning has to be created. And meaning has to be searched for without any conclusions. If you can drop your knowledge, life will suddenly take on color, it will become psychedelic. But you are continuously carrying the load of your scriptures, books, theories, doctrines, philosophies... you are lost in all that. And everything has become mixed, hotchpotch. And you cannot even remember what is what.
Your mind is a mess. Clean it! Make it a blank. The empty mind is the best mind. And those who have been telling you that the empty mind is the Devil's workshop are the Devil's agents. The empty mind is closer to God than anything. The empty mind is not the Devil's workshop. The Devil cannot do without thoughts.
With emptiness the Devil cannot do anything at all. He has no way Into emptiness.
So many thoughts in the mind, mixed up; nothing seems to be clear; you have heard so many things from so many sources -- your mind is a monster. And you are trying to remember, and you have been told to remember: Don't forget! And, naturally, the burden is so much that you cannot remember. Many things you have forgotten. Many things you have imagined and added on your own.
An Englishman visiting America attended a banquet and heard the Master of Ceremonies give the following toast:
"Here's to the happiest moment of my life,
"By Jove, that's ripping," the Englishman thought to himself. "I must remember to use it back home."
Some weeks later when he returned to England, he attended a church luncheon and was asked to give a toast. In thunderous tones he addressed the crowded room:
"Here's to the happiest moment of my life,
After a long pause the crowd began to grow restless, glaring at the speaker indignantly. The speaker's friend sitting next to him whispered, "You had better explain yourself quickly."
"By Jove," the speaker blurted out, "you will have to excuse me. I forgot the name of the "blooming" woman."
That is happening. You remember this -- Plato has said this. And you remember that -- Lao Tzu has said that. And you remember what Jesus has said, and what Mohammed has said... and you remember many things. And they have all got mixed up. And you have not said a single thing on your own. Unless you say something on your own, you will miss the meaning.
Drop the knowledge and become more creative. Remember, knowledge is gathered -- you need not be creative about it; you have only to be receptive. And that's what man has become: man is reduced to being a spectator. He reads the newspapers, he reads the Bible and the Koran and the Gita; he goes to the movie, sits there and sees the movie; he goes to the football match, or sits before his TV, listens to the radio... and so on and so forth. Twenty-four hours a day he is just in a kind of inactivity, a spectator. Others are doing things, and he is simply watching. You will not find meaning by watching.
You can see a thousand and one lovers making love and you will not know what love is -- you will not know that orgasmic abandonment by watching. You will have to become a participant. Meaning comes through participation. Participate in life! Participate as deeply, as totally, as possible. Risk all for participation. If you want to know what dance is, don't go and see a dancer -- learn dancing, be a dancer. If you want to know anything, participate! That is the true and the right way, the authentic way, to know a thing. And there will be great meaning in your life. And not only one-dimensional -- multi-dimensional meanings. You will be showered by meanings.
And life has to be multi-dimensional, then only is there meaning. Never make life one-dimensional. That too is a problem.
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.
I have heard a very meaningful story about Socrates:
Socrates, while awaiting death in prison, was haunted by a dream that kept urging him, "Socrates, make music!" The old man felt he had always served art with his philosophizing. But now, spurred on by that mysterious voice, he turned fables into verse, indited a hymn to Apollo, and played the flute.
He had never played on the flute. Something inside him persisted, "Socrates, make music!" Just in the face of death! It looked so ridiculous. And he had never played, he had never made music. A part of his being had remained suffocated. Yes, even a man like Socrates, had remained one-dimensional. The denied part insisted, "Enough of logic -- a little music will be good, will bring balance. Enough of argumentation -- play on the flute." And the voice was so persistent that he had to yield to it.
His disciples must have been puzzled: "Has he gone mad? Socrates playing on the flute?" But to me it is very significant. The music could not have been very great, because he had never played. Absolutely amateurish, childish it must have been -- but still something was satisfied, something was bridged. He was no more one-sided. For the first time in his life, maybe, he was spontaneous. For the first time he had done something for which he could not supply any reason. Otherwise, he was a rational man.
Just the other night I was reading a story about the great Hassidic mystic, Baal Shem:
It was a holiday, and the Hassidim had gathered to pray and to have a communion -- sat sang -- with the Master.
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.
procrastination
Use the STING method to stop procrastinating.
PROCRASTINATION: TEN WAYS TO "DO IT NOW"
We all seem to do fine with things we want to do or enjoy doing for fun. But, when we perceive tasks as difficult, inconvenient, or scary, we may shift into our procrastination mode. We have very clever ways of fooling ourselves. See how many of the following excuses hit home for you:
I'll wait until I'm in the mood to do it.
It's OK to celebrate ... besides, I'll start my diet (sobriety) tomorrow.
There's plenty of time to get it done.
Why does the boss give us so much to do? It's not fair.
It's too hard to talk about. I don't know where to begin.
I work better under pressure so I don't need to do it right now.
I've got too many other things to do first.
Once exposed, these self-defeating statements don't sound so convincing. But, when we privately tell ourselves these excuses, they seem quite believable. Don't be fooled by how innocent they sound. They get us to postpone important tasks and duties.
Procrastination is a bad habit. Like other habits, there are two general causes. The first is the "crooked thinking" we employ to justify our behavior. The second source is our behavioral patterns.
A closer look at our crooked thinking reveals three major issues in delaying tactics - perfectionism, inadequacy, and discomfort. Those who believe they must turn in the most exemplary report may wait until all available resources have been reviewed or endlessly rewrite draft after draft. Worry over producing the perfect project prevents them from finishing on time. Feelings of inadequacy can also cause delays. Those who "know for a fact" that they are incompetent often believe they will fail and will avoid the unpleasantness of having their skills put to the test. Fear of discomfort is another way of putting a stop to what needs to be done. Yet, the more we delay, the worse the discomforting problem (like a toothache) becomes.
Our behavioral patterns are the second cause. Getting started on an unpleasant or difficult task may seem impossible. Procrastination is likened to the physics concept of inertia - a mass at rest tends to stay at rest. Greater forces are required to start change than to sustain change. Another way of viewing it is that avoiding tasks reinforces procrastination which makes it harder to get things going. A person may be stuck, too, not by the lack of desire, but by not knowing what to do. Here are some things to break the habit. Remember, don't just read them, do them!
1. Rational Self-Talk. Those old excuses really don't hold up to rational inspection. The "two-column technique" will help. Write down all your excuses on one side of a piece of paper. Start challenging the faulty reasoning behind each of the excuses. Write down your realistic thoughts on the opposite side of each excuse. Here are two examples of excuses and realistic thoughts.
EXCUSE: I'm not in the mood right now. REALISTIC THOUGHT: Mood doesn't do my work, actions do. If I wait for the right mood, I may never get it done. EXCUSE::I'm just lazy. REALISTIC THOUGHT: Labeling myself as lazy only brings me down. My work is really separate from who I am as a person. Getting started is the key to finishing.
2. Positive Self-Statements. Incorporate a list of self-motivating statements into your repertoire of thoughts. Consider ...
doing what I have to do right now."
3. Don't Catastrophe. Jumping to the conclusion that you will fail or that you are no good at something will only create a wall of fear that will stop you cold. Recognize that your negative predictions are not facts. Focus on the present and what positive steps you can take toward reaching your goals.
4. Design Clear Goals. Think about what you want and what needs to be done. Be specific. If it's getting that work project completed by the deadline, figure out a time table with realistic goals at each step. Keep your sights within reason. Having goals too big can scare you away from starting.
5. Set Priorities. Write down all the things that need to be done in order of their importance. The greater the importance or urgency, the higher their priority. Put "messing around" (distractions) in its proper place - last! Start at the top of the list and work your way down.
6. Partialize the Tasks. Big projects feel overwhelming. Break them down into the smallest and most manageable subparts. You'll get more done if you can do it piece by piece. For example, make an outline for a written report before you start composing or do a small portion of the chores rather than all at once. Partializing works especially well with the unpleasant jobs. Most of us can handle duties we dislike as long as they're for a short time and in small increments.
7. Get Organized. Have all your materials ready before you begin a task. Use a daily schedule and have it with you all the time. List the tasks of the day or week realistically. Check off the tasks when you have completed them.
8. Take a Stand. Commit yourself to doing the task. Write yourself a "contract" and sign it. Better still, tell a friend, partner, or supervisor about your plans.
9. Use Prompts. Write reminders to yourself and put them in conspicuous places like on the TV, refrigerator, bathroom mirror, front door, and car dashboard. The more we remember, the greater the likelihood we'll follow through with our plans.
10. Reward Yourself. Self-reinforcement has a powerful effect on developing a "do it now" attitude. Celebrate, pat yourself on the back, smile, and let yourself enjoy the completion of even the smallest of tasks. Don't minimize your accomplishments. Remember, you're already that much closer to finishing those things that need to be done. Go ahead, get started ... NOW!
Weblog2001November
[2001October] : Previous < < < [Weblog2001November] > > > Next : [Weblog2001December]
[Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance]
[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.
(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.
(via [PaperQuote]) [Oliver Wendell Holmes] : What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
[Ralph Waldo Emerson] : Always do what you are afraid to do !
Fun Facts about [Happy Birthday to You|http://www.ibiblio.org/team/fun/birthday/]
[Jutta Degener]'s Objective : To do spectacular and impossible things.
[How to Design Programs]
[Peter Coad] : [Feature Driven Development|http://www.togethersoft.com/services/publications/presentations/fddatjavaone2000_ppt.zip]
We went to [Salzburg] for the weekend. We will go again in Spring, Summer or Autumn and we have learnt some valuable lessons about Winter, Snow etc. !
[Mother Teresa] : The minute you begin to do what you want to do, it's really a different kind of life.
[Mira Art] : [Not being attached to anything....|http://surprise.editthispage.com/2001/11/22] : "...All in the world recognise the beautiful as beautiful. Herein lies ugliness..."
Today is [Buy Nothing Day]
[Allen Downey]'s [How to Think Like a Computer Scientist]
I have come across [Tom Van Vleck]'s [Software Engineering|http://www.multicians.org/thvv/tvvswe.html] once again after a long time :-)
([via|http://www.livejournal.com/users/msram/day/2001/11/07] [Mahesh Shantaram]) [Carlton Vogt]'s [Ethics Matters|http://www2.infoworld.com/cgi/component/columnarchive.wbs?column=ethics]
Today is [Sri Skanda Sashti] - [Kanta Shasti Vratam|http://murugan.org/research/senthilwerl2.htm]
[Patrick David Harrigan] seems to be the lead maintainer of [Murugan Bhakti] - Great Work
A Question : IF it was only possible to browse 1 site in the future... What would it be ?
[Thomas Paine] in [The Age of Reason] : It is necessary to the happiness of man that he be mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving, it consists in professing to believe what one does not believe.
After reading [Andre Durand]'s [Global Consciousness 1.0|http://discuss.andredurand.com/stories/storyReader$187], I have an idea about combining this thought with [Quaker]ism... Why not we implement a system where members can raise 1 issue per day and only 1 a day, Every other member can post their opinion after careful thought and it would be possible to edit the opinion only a few times within the next 1/2 hour ! and That's it ! - I will try to refine it !
[Charles du Bois] : The important thing is this: To be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.
Vikas' [How to Pick a Saree|http://www.kamat.com/kalranga/attire/saree/guide.htm] will be useful to me !
[John Taylor Gatto]'s [writing on the web|http://www.preservenet.com/theory/Gatto.html]
[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.
Once again, I have started reading [Bhagavad Gita] daily...
[Lagaan] seems to be a must see movie...
We went to [Dachau] today to visit the [Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site].
[http://philip.greenspun.com/photo/pcd0075/dachau-arbeit-56.1.jpg]
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 !
Dinner at [Sausalitos|http://www.sausalitos.de/niederlassungen/muenchen_tal.shtml] Im Tal, [Munich]
[Jeremy Stangroom] is the on-line editor for [The Philosopher's Magazine|http://www.philosophers.co.uk/]
[Tim Pozar] : One of my main "themes" in life is to give tools to the world that help them express their ideas. I have this rather utopian idea that if everyone has the tools to exchange ideas then the world will be a better place.
Author Unknown : To the world you might be one person, but to one person you might be the world.
[Kalpana Mohan] : I live in a place where a million dollars is loose change for most people. I live in a place where people lease Mercs while they await their Porsches. It's a place where every minuscule movement of the NASDAQ rumbles into a seismological event. A place where deals are made - to be broken when options vest...
[Peter J. Denning]'s new book is [The Invisible Future: The Seamless Integration of Technology into Everyday Life]
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 !
I sent an email to [Jonathan Abrams] several months ago and he prompty responded by stating that 'the request will be forwarded to Development' - Let us see...
[How to Prepare an Effective Resume]
[Viktor Frankl] : Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.
[Free Alina Lebedeva|http://www.geocities.com/elsvenjo/FreeAlina.html] : ...This site is in support of Alina Lebedeva from Latvia. Alina is the schoolgirl who gave Prince Charles a slap in the face with  a bunch of flowers in protest over Britain's involvement in the war against Afghanistan. She is provisionally charged with endangering the life of foreign dignitary. If found guilty she could face up to 15 years in prison...
[Ramayan Audio|http://www.ramayanaudio.com/] : ...The Ramayana was meant to be heard!...
Today is yet another [Deepavali] away from India...
[Satya Viswanathan|http://www.coroflot.com/satyaviswanathan] : [Ho! I went to America|http://www.livejournal.com/users/satyav/day/2001/10/11]
[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.
[Shoba Narayan] : [Fashionably Devout|http://about.beliefnet.com/frameset.asp?pageLoc=/story/86/story_8692_1.html&boardID=23424]
[Ken Coar] is a Sanagendamgagwedweinini ! --- click on the name to know the meaning :-)
[Peter Hilton]'s [links|http://hilton.org.uk/links.phtml]
[Bill Clinton] : [A struggle for the soul of the 21st century|http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2001/11/10/speech/index.html]
[Richard Fritzson] [reacts|http://www.interesting-people.org/archives/interesting-people/200111/msg00189.html] to article [Study of Disputed Florida Ballots Finds Justices Did Not Cast the Deciding Vote|http://www.interesting-people.org/archives/interesting-people/200111/msg00183.html] by starting 'This is a pretty outrageous headline for this story.'
[This Diwali has lost its sparkle|http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow.asp?art_id=2125046482] : ...Sampoorna Kohli, weaving his way through the small lanes of the Central Market in Lajpat Nagar, sums it up succinctly: "There is uncertainty for everyone. Nobody is feeling particularly festive what with jobs on the line and businesses doing badly. The light has already gone out of this Diwali."...
[We] and [Chandramouli Mahadevan] went to [Linderhof] today
[Swami Sivananda] : From [ABANDON BODY-CONSCIOUSNESS|http://www.dlsmd.org/sdr/11-sdr%20nov/1109.htm] : ...This body which is full of impurities, urine, pus and faecal matter etc., is perishable. It is like froth or bubble or mirage. It is despised by its enemies. It remains like a useless log of wood on the ground when prana (life) leaves it. It is the cause of pain and suffering. It is your enemy. You should treat this body with contempt, as dung. Why should you cling to it and worship it with scents, powders and flowers? Do not be silly and foolish in adorning it with fine silks and ornaments. It is dire ignorance only...
[Alwin Hawkins] : [New tag line|http://www.vfth.com/2001/11/10] and the cornerstone of a new ethic for me. : ''Work, Don't Whine''
[Freeman Thomas], head of advanced product design for DaimlerChrysler : "A lot of people in the design business are full of BS. They want to create the facade of an extreme individual. I don't want to be someone who can't be approached."
I have started collecting [Cool Tools]
[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
corners, that you've got to go along to get along. We
via [Susan A. Kitchens] : [Laid-Off|http://www.oddtodd.com/]
Try this : add [mama_pendse] to your Yahoo Messenger and send message 'help'
[Mentors]
I hurt myself yesterday while playing badminton... Nothing Serious... But I am thinking about [Relative and Absolute Happiness] and about people who are handicapped
[Two unpublished letters|http://www.vedantaofboston.org/Vivekananda/newSVLetters.asp] of [Swami Vivekananda]
[Obstacles to Happiness]
[Stomach Ache]
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...
[2001October] : Previous < < < [Weblog2001November] > > > Next : [Weblog2001December]
Who am i?
"Who am I?" is the title given to a set of questions and answers bearing on Self-enquiry. The questions were put to Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi by one Sri M. Sivaprakasam Pillai about the year 1902. Sri Pillai, a graduate in Philosophy, was at the time employed in the Revenue Department of the South Arcot Collectorate. During his visit to Tiruvannamalai in 1902 on official work, he went to Virupaksha Cave on Arunachala Hill and met the Master there. He sought from him spiritual guidance, and solicited answers to questions relating to Self-enquiry. As Bhagavan was not talking then, not because of any vow he had taken, but because he did not have the inclination to talk, he answered the questions put to him by gestures, and when these were not understood, by writing. As recollected and recorded by Sri Sivaprakasam Pillai, there were fourteen questions with answers to them given by Bhagavan. This record was first published by Sri Pillai in 1923, along with a couple of poems composed by himself relating how Bhagavan's grace operated in his case by dispelling his doubts and by saving him from a crisis in life. 'Who am I?' has been published several times subsequently. We find thirty questions and answers in some editions and twenty-eight in others. There is also another published version in which the questions are not given, and the teachings are rearranged in the form of an essay. The extant English translation is of this essay. The present rendering is of the text in the form of twenty-eight questions and answers.
Along with Vicharasangraham (Self-Enquiry), Nan Yar (Who am I?) constitutes the first set of instructions in the Master's own words. These two are the only prosepieces among Bhagavan's Works. They clearly set forth the central teaching that the direct path to liberation is Self-enquiry. The particular mode in which the enquiry is to be made is lucidly set forth in Nan Yar. The mind consists of thoughts. The 'I' thought is the first to arise in the mind. When the enquiry ' Who am I?' is persistently pursued, all other thoughts get destroyed, and finally the 'I' thought itself vanishes leaving the supreme non-dual Self alone. The false identification of the Self with the phenomena of non-self such as the body and mind thus ends, and there is illumination, Sakshatkara. The process of enquiry of course, is not an easy one. As one enquires 'Who am I?', other thoughts will arise; but as these arise, one should not yield to them by following them , on the contrary, one should ask 'To whom do they arise ?' In order to do this, one has to be extremely vigilant. Through constant enquiry one should make the mind stay in its source, without allowing it to wander away and get lost in the mazes of thought created by itself. All other disciplines such as breath-control and meditation on the forms of God should be regarded as auxiliary practices. They are useful in so far as they help the mind to become quiescent and one-pointed.
For the mind that has gained skill in concentration, Self-enquiry becomes comparatively easy. It is by ceaseless enquiry that the thoughts are destroyed and the Self realized - the plenary Reality in which there is not even the 'I' thought, the experience which is referred to as "Silence".
As all living beings desire to be happy always, without misery, as in the case of everyone there is observed supreme love for one's self, and as happiness alone is the cause for love, in order to gain that happiness which is one's nature and which is experienced in the state of deep sleep where there is no mind, one should know one's self. For that, the path of knowledge, the inquiry of the form "Who am I?", is the principal means.
The gross body which is composed of the seven humours (dhatus), I am not; the five cognitive sense organs, viz. the senses of hearing, touch, sight, taste, and smell, which apprehend their respective objects, viz. sound, touch, colour, taste, and odour, I am not; the five cognitive sense-organs, viz. the organs of speech, locomotion, grasping, excretion, and procreation, which have as their respective functions speaking, moving, grasping, excreting, and enjoying, I am not; the five vital airs, prana, etc., which perform respectively the five functions of in-breathing, etc., I am not; even the mind which thinks, I am not; the nescience too, which is endowed only with the residual impressions of objects, and in which there are no objects and no functioning's, I am not.
What is called 'mind' is a wondrous power residing in the Self. It causes all thoughts to arise. Apart from thoughts, there is no such thing as mind. Therefore, thought is the nature of mind. Apart from thoughts, there is no independent entity called the world. In deep sleep there are no thoughts, and there is no world. In the states of waking and dream, there are thoughts, and there is a world also. Just as the spider emits the thread (of the web) out of itself and again withdraws it into itself, likewise the mind projects the world out of itself and again resolves it into itself. When the mind comes out of the Self, the world appears. Therefore, when the world appears (to be real), the Self does not appear; and when the Self appears (shines) the world does not appear. When one persistently inquires into the nature of the mind, the mind will end leaving the Self (as the residue). What is referred to as the Self is the Atman. The mind always exists only in dependence on something gross; it cannot stay alone. It is the mind that is called the subtle body or the soul (jiva).
That which rises as 'I' in this body is the mind. If one inquires as to where in the body the thought 'I' rises first, one would discover that it rises in the heart. That is the place of the mind's origin. Even if one thinks constantly 'I' 'I', one will be led to that place. Of all the thoughts that arise in the mind, the 'I' thought is the first. It is only after the rise of this that the other thoughts arise. It is after the appearance of the first personal pronoun that the second and third personal pronouns appear; without the first personal pronoun there will not be the second and third.
11. What is the means for constantly holding on to the thought 'Who am I?'
When other thoughts arise, one should not pursue them, but should inquire: 'To whom do they arise?' It does not matter how many thoughts arise. As each thought arises, one should inquire with diligence, "To whom has this thought arisen?". The answer that would emerge would be "To me". Thereupon if one inquires "Who am I?", the mind will go back to its source; and the thought that arose will become quiescent. With repeated practice in this manner, the mind will develop the skill to stay in its source. When the mind that is subtle goes out through the brain and the sense-organs, the gross names and forms appear; when it stays in the heart, the names and forms disappear. Not letting the mind go out, but retaining it in the Heart is what is called "inwardness" (antar-mukha). Letting the mind go out of the Heart is known as "externalisation" (bahir-mukha). Thus, when the mind stays in the Heart, the 'I' which is the source of all thoughts will go, and the Self which ever exists will shine. Whatever one does, one should do without the egoity "I". If one acts in that way, all will appear as of the nature of Siva (God).
Other than inquiry, there are no adequate means. If through other means it is sought to control the mind, the mind will appear to be controlled, but will again go forth. Through the control of breath also, the mind will become quiescent; but it will be quiescent only so long as the breath remains controlled, and when the breath resumes the mind also will again start moving and will wander as impelled by residual impressions. The source is the same for both mind and breath. Thought, indeed, is the nature of the mind. The thought "I" is the first thought of the mind; and that is egoity. It is from that whence egoity originates that breath also originates. Therefore, when the mind becomes quiescent, the breath is controlled, and when the breath is controlled the mind becomes quiescent. But in deep sleep, although the mind becomes quiescent, the breath does not stop. This is because of the will of God, so that the body may be preserved and other people may not be under the impression that it is dead. In the state of waking and in samadhi, when the mind becomes quiescent the breath is controlled. Breath is the gross form of mind. Till the time of death, the mind keeps breath in the body; and when the body dies the mind takes the breath along with it. Therefore, the exercise of breath-control is only an aid for rendering the mind quiescent (manonigraha); it will not destroy the mind (manonasa).
Through meditation on the forms of God and through repetition of mantras, the mind becomes one-pointed. The mind will always be wandering. Just as when a chain is given to an elephant to hold in its trunk it will go along grasping the chain and nothing else, so also when the mind is occupied with a name or form it will grasp that alone. When the mind expands in the form of countless thoughts, each thought becomes weak; but as thoughts get resolved the mind becomes one-pointed and strong; for such a mind Self-inquiry will become easy. Of all the restrictive rules, that relating to the taking of sattvic food in moderate quantities is the best; by observing this rule, the sattvic quality of mind will increase, and that will be helpful to Self-inquiry.
14. Is it possible for the residual impressions of objects that come from beginningless time, as it were, to be resolved, and for one to remain as the pure Self?
Without yielding to the doubt "Is it possible, or not?", one should persistently hold on to the meditation on the Self. Even if one be a great sinner, one should not worry and weep "O! I am a sinner, how can I be saved?"; one should completely renounce the thought "I am a sinner"; and concentrate keenly on meditation on the Self; then, one would surely succeed. There are not two minds - one good and the other evil; the mind is only one. It is the residual impressions that are of two kinds - auspicious and inauspicious. When the mind is under the influence of auspicious impressions it is called good; and when it is under the influence of inauspicious impressions it is regarded as evil.
The mind should not be allowed to wander towards worldly objects and what concerns other people. However bad other people may be, one should bear no hatred for them. Both desire and hatred should be eschewed. All that one gives to others one gives to one's self. If this truth is understood who will not give to others? When one's self arises all arises; when one's self becomes quiescent all becomes quiescent. To the extent we behave with humility, to that extent there will result good. If the mind is rendered quiescent, one may live anywhere.
As long as there are impressions of objects in the mind, so long the inquiry "Who am I?" is required. As thoughts arise they should be destroyed then and there in the very place of their origin, through inquiry. If one resorts to contemplation of the Self unintermittently, until the Self is gained, that alone would do. As long as there are enemies within the fortress, they will continue to sally forth; if they are destroyed as they emerge, the fortress will fall into our hands.
Without desire, resolve, or effort, the sun rises; and in its mere presence, the sun-stone emits fire, the lotus blooms, water evaporates; people perform their various functions and then rest. Just as in the presence of the magnet the needle moves, it is by virtue of the mere presence of God that the souls governed by the three (cosmic) functions or the fivefold divine activity perform their actions and then rest, in accordance with their respective karmas. God has no resolve; no karma attaches itself to Him. That is like worldly actions not affecting the sun, or like the merits and demerits of the other four elements not affecting all pervading space.
He who gives himself up to the Self that is God is the most excellent devotee. Giving one's self up to God means remaining constantly in the Self without giving room for the rise of any thoughts other than that of the Self. Whatever burdens are thrown on God, He bears them. Since the supreme power of God makes all things move, why should we, without submitting ourselves to it, constantly worry ourselves with thoughts as to what should be done and how, and what should not be done and how not? We know that the train carries all loads, so after getting on it why should we carry our small luggage on our head to our discomfort, instead of putting it down in the train and feeling at ease?
As thoughts arise, destroying them utterly without any residue in the very place of their origin is non-attachment. Just as the pearl-diver ties a stone to his waist, sinks to the bottom of the sea and there takes the pearls, so each one of us should be endowed with non-attachment, dive within oneself and obtain the Self-Pearl.
20. Is it not possible for God and the Guru to effect the release of a soul?
God and the Guru will only show the way to release; they will not by themselves take the soul to the state of release. In truth, God and the Guru are not different. Just as the prey which has fallen into the jaws of a tiger has no escape, so those who have come within the ambit of the Guru's gracious look will be saved by the Guru and will not get lost; yet, each one should by his own effort pursue the path shown by God or Guru and gain release. One can know oneself only with one's own eye of knowledge, and not with somebody else's. Does he who is Rama require the help of a mirror to know that he is Rama?
21. Is it necessary for one who longs for release to inquire into the nature of categories (tattvas)?
Just as one who wants to throw away garbage has no need to analyse it and see what it is, so one who wants to know the Self has no need to count the number of categories or inquire into their characteristics; what he has to do is to reject altogether the categories that hide the Self. The world should be considered like a dream.
23. Is it any use reading books for those who long for release?
All the texts say that in order to gain release one should render the mind quiescent; therefore their conclusive teaching is that the mind should be rendered quiescent; once this has been understood there is no need for endless reading. In order to quieten the mind one has only to inquire within oneself what one's Self is; how could this search be done in books? One should know one's Self with one's own eye of wisdom. The Self is within the five sheaths; but books are outside them. Since the Self has to be inquired into by discarding the five sheaths, it is futile to search for it in books. There will come a time when one will have to forget all that one has learned.
Happiness is the very nature of the Self; happiness and the Self are not different. There is no happiness in any object of the world. We imagine through our ignorance that we derive happiness from objects. When the mind goes out, it experiences misery. In truth, when its desires are fulfilled, it returns to its own place and enjoys the happiness that is the Self. Similarly, in the states of sleep, samadhi and fainting, and when the object desired is obtained or the object disliked is removed, the mind becomes inward-turned, and enjoys pure Self-Happiness. Thus the mind moves without rest alternately going out of the Self and returning to it. Under the tree the shade is pleasant; out in the open the heat is scorching. A person who has been going about in the sun feels cool when he reaches the shade. Someone who keeps on going from the shade into the sun and then back into the shade is a fool. A wise man stays permanently in the shade. Similarly, the mind of the one who knows the truth does not leave Brahman. The mind of the ignorant, on the contrary, revolves in the world, feeling miserable, and for a little time returns to Brahman to experience happiness. In fact, what is called the world is only thought. When the world disappears, i.e. when there is no thought, the mind experiences happiness; and when the world appears, it goes through misery.
Remaining quiet is what is called wisdom-insight. To remain quiet is to resolve the mind in the Self. Telepathy, knowing past, present and future happenings and clairvoyance do not constitute wisdom-insight.
Desirelessness is wisdom. The two are not different; they are the same. Desirelessness is refraining from turning the mind towards any object. Wisdom means the appearance of no object. In other words, not seeking what is other than the Self is detachment or desirelessness; not leaving the Self is wisdom.
Inquiring into the nature of one's self that is in bondage, and realising one's true nature is release.
Read It and Think It
[Jokes] > Read It and Think It
Questions:- 1. A murderer is condemned to death. He has to choose between three rooms. The first is full of raging fires,The second is full of assassins with loaded guns,and the third is full of lions that haven't eaten in 3years. Which room is safest for him.
over 5 minutes. Finally, she hangs him. But 5 minutes later they both go out together and enjoy a wonderful dinner together. How can this be?
said, "that's nothing, I can stay under water for 10 minutes using no types of equipment or air pockets!" The magician told the kid if he could do that, he'd give him $10,000. The kid did it and won the money. Can you figure out how?
4. There are two plastic jugs filled with water. How could you put all of this water into a barrel, without using the jugs or any dividers, and still tell which water came from which jug?
7. This is an unusual paragraph. I'm curious how quickly you can find out what is so unusual about it? It looks so plain you would think nothing was wrong with it! In fact, nothing is wrong with it! It is unusual though. Study it, and think about it, but you still may not find anything odd. But if you work at it a bit, you might find out! Try to do so without any coaching!
2. The woman was a photographer. She shot a picture of her husband, developed it, and hung it up to dry.
4. Freeze them first. Take them out of the jugs and put the ice in the barrel. You will be able to tell which water came from which jug.
6. Sure you can: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow!
Definitions Redefined
Cigarette : A pinch of tobacco rolled in paper with fire at one end & a fool on the other.
Lecture : An art of transferring information from the notes of the Lecturer to the notes of the students without passing through "the minds of either"
Conference Room : A place where everybody talks, nobody listens and everybody disagrees later on.
Classic : A book which people praise, but do not read.
Yawn :The only time some married men ever get to open their mouth.
Etc. : A sign to make others believe that you know more than you actually do.
Committee : Individuals who can do nothing individually and sit to decide that nothing can be done together.
Experience :The name men give to their mistakes.
Atom Bomb : An invention to end all inventions.
Philosopher :A fool who torments himself during life, to be spoken of when dead.
Diplomat : A person who tells you to go to hell in such a way that you actually look forward to the trip.
Opportunist :A person who starts taking bath if he accidentally falls into a river.
Optimist : A person who while falling from Eiffel tower says in midway "See I am not injured yet."
Doctor : A person who kills your ills by pills, and kills you with his bills.
Gokulashtami
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.
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.
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 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.
2. Those who can, will recite the Bhagavatam during this period. Others will listen to it being recited.
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.
If you cannot read the whole of the Srimad Bhagavatam during these days, at least you should recite the following four most important verses from the book. The leading two verses and the closing verse are the prologue and the epilogue respectively:
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.
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”.
Six Ways to Reduce Advertising in Your Life
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Some Good TV Habits to Acquire
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2001 January 01 : [Center for Media Literacy Reading Room|http://www.medialit.org/ReadingRoom/readingroom.htm] : "A democratic civilization will save itself only if it makes the language of the image into a stimulus for critical reflection, not an invitation to hypnosis." - [Umberto Eco]
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Wendell Berry
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.
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.
Borries, Philip. "Retired Kentucky Farmer Recalls Days He Spent Tilling the Earth." Lexington Herald Leader. 10 Mar 1974: 26.
Wooley, Bryan. "Wendell Berry, A Kentucky Writer Tries to Strengthen the Ties Between Man and the Land." Courier-Journal & Times. 8-13.
Nathan Coulter. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1960. A book of fiction.
A Place on Earth. Boston: Harcourt, Brace, 1967. A book of fiction.
The Rise. Lexington, Kentucky: Grave Press, 1968. A book of nonfiction.
The Hidden Wound. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1970. A book of nonfiction.
Sayings and Doings. Lexington, Kentucky: Gnoman Press, 1975. A book of 55 entries.
To What Listens. Crete, Nebraska: The Best Cellar Press, 1975. A poem.
The Wild Birds: Six Stories of the Port William Membership. San Francisco: North Point Press, 1986. A book of 6 fiction stories.
* 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."
* [Mr. Wendell Berry of Kentucky|http://brtom.org/berry.html]
[Articles] : [Why I am Not Going to Buy a Computer], [The joy of sales resistance]
The Hand That Rocks The Cradle Rules the World
An Inspired Talk delivered by [Gurudeva] Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami on his 54th Jayanti, on January 5, 1980, at the Kadavul Hindu Temple in Hawaii, enjoining the modern Hindu woman to not forsake her dharma but protect the home and nurture the family as her gift of love to the next generation. Hmmm! It seems not to have gone out of date much.
Anbe Sivamayam Satyame Parasivam! Tonight we are going to talk about a vast subject, one that is important to every Hindu family: stri dharma, the dharma of the Hindu wife and mother. In Sanskrit stri means "woman." Dharma is a rich word which encompasses many meanings: the path to God Siva, piety, goodness, duty, obligation and more. Stri dharma is the woman's natural path, while purusha dharma, we can say, is the man's.
There is much controversy about the role of the woman in society these days. In the West, a strong women's liberation movement has been at work for many years, and now there has arisen an equally vigorous opposition which defends traditional values. The so-called struggle for women's liberation has affected women the world over--in India, Iran, Europe, Japan and elsewhere. In North America, I began a campaign informally called the Hindu women's liberation movement. It is not what you might expect. Its purpose is to liberate our Hindu women from the liberators, to save them from worldliness and to allow them to fulfill their natural dharma as mother and wife. For a religious woman, being liberated starts with resigning from her job and coming home. Once she is home, she is liberated and liberated and liberated. Working in the world keeps her in the outer dimensions of consciousness, while being at home allows her to live in the depth of her being. I have seen this work many times. There are so many distractions and influences in the world today that divert women away from being a wife and mother. In the West a woman is a wife first and a mother second, but in the East her duties as a mother are foremost. She is trained from early childhood in the arts of homemaking, trained by her mother who was trained in exactly the same way by her mother, and so on right down through history. It's an old pattern.
The Hindu woman is looked upon as most precious. Two thousand years ago Saint Tiruvalluvar observed: "What does a man lack if his wife is worthy? And what does he possess if she is lacking worth?" There is more respect in the East for women and for their role in society. Here in the West, the woman is not fully appreciated. Her contribution is underrated and misunderstood. In fact, this is one of the reasons she seeks fulfillment and recognition in other spheres, because Western society has become oblivious of her unique and vital role. Abused by neglect and disregard, she seeks other avenues where she may be appreciated, recognized and rewarded.
Don't forget that in the East the ties of the extended family are very close. Women live in a community, surrounded by younger and older women, often living in the same house. They enjoy a rewarding life which includes helping the younger ones and being helped by those who are more mature. Several generations work together in sharing the joys as well as the burdens of household culture. It is different in the West. Women here usually do not have the advantages of close association with other family members. Naturally, they become a little lonely, especially if they do not have a religious community of friends. They get lonely and want to get out in the world and enjoy life a little. This is another reason women leave the home. It is very unfortunate.
In the East there is a better balance of the masculine and feminine forces. In the West the masculine is too strong, too dominant. The feminine energies need to be allowed greater expression. But that does not mean women should start doing what men do. No. That only confuses the forces more. A better balance must be found. In the East the woman is protected. She is like a precious gem. You don't leave it unattended. You protect it. You guard it well because you don't wish to lose it. Hindu women are guarded well. They are not allowed to become worldly. They are not exposed to the looks and thoughts of a base public, nor must they surrender their modesty to contend with business affairs. She can be perfectly feminine, expressing her natural qualities of gentleness, intuitiveness, love and modesty. The home and family are the entire focus of a Hindu woman's life.
Many of you here tonight are too young to know that this was also the pattern in the West until about seventy-five years ago. Before World War I, women were very strict in the West. It was that war and the one that followed that broke down the ancient roles of men and women. The men were taken away from industry by the army, and women were forced out of the home into the factories and businesses so that production could continue. Earlier they had been protected, seldom seen unaccompanied in public. Throughout history, women had been the caretakers of the home and the defenders of virtue. They valued their purity, their chastity, and were virgins when they married. Many people don't know that the old values were followed most strictly up until 1915 or so. Then the two world wars broke up the family and disturbed the balance between men and women. For the first time, women were seen alone in public. For the first time, they left the home and competed with men for their jobs.
I speak often of the change humanity is going through in moving out of the agricultural era and into the technological age. This change has affected the dharma of the woman and the dharma of the man in an interesting way. During the tens of thousands of years of the agricultural age, families lived and labored mostly on farms or in craft guilds. The entire family worked on the farm. The men all worked in the fields; the women and children worked in the home. Children were a great asset. More children meant more help, a bigger farm. There were many chores that a young boy or girl could do. When harvest time came, everyone joined in. It was a one team, and everyone contributed. When the crop was sold, that was the income for a combined effort from all members--men, women and even children. In a very real sense, everyone was earning the money, everyone was economically important.
In the technological era, only the man of the house earns the family income. Everyone else spends it. The husband goes to work in a factory or large company office while his wife and children stay at home. There is not much they can do to help him during the day with his work. His work and his wife's are not as closely related as in the old days. He is the provider, the producer now; she and the children are consumers. Because the children cannot help much, they have become more of an economic liability than an asset. This, coupled with the population problems on the Earth, devalues the economic importance of the woman's traditional role as wife and mother. Whereas raising children and taking care of the farmhouse used to be a woman's direct and vital contribution toward the family's livelihood and even the survival of the human race, today it is not. Whereas they used to be partners in a family farm business, today he does all the earning and she feels like a dependent. The answer is not to have women join their men in the factories and corporations. The answer is to bring traditional religious values into the technological era, to find a new balance of karma that allows for the fulfillment of both the man's and the woman's dharma.
When young couples marry, I help them write down their vows to one another. He must promise to support her, to protect her, to give her a full and rewarding life. She must promise to care for him, to manage the home, to maintain the home shrine and to raise fine children. I ask them each to respect the other's realm, to never mentally criticize the other and to make religion the central focus of their life together. I ask the young bride to stay in the home, to be a little shy of involvement in the world.
A mother's place is within the home and not out in the world working. When she is in the home all day, she brings love and security to the children, sensitivity and stability to the husband. By raising her children, she changes the course of history. How does she do that? She raises strong children, good and intelligent children. They will grow up to be the great men and women in the community, the leaders of the nation. They will be the farmers, artists, businessmen, the teachers, the doctors, the lawyers, the architects, the presidents and, most importantly, the spiritual leaders. They will be the mothers, the homemakers and child-raisers, scientists and inventors, pioneers and poets, artists and sculptors and creators in all dimensions of life. It is such men and women who change the course of human history. This is the great power held by the mother and by no one else: to properly mold the mind and character of her children. And she trains her daughters to do the same by example and gentle guidance.
Of course, she also holds the opposite power, expressed through neglect, to allow her children to grow up on their own, on the streets where they will learn a base life. Such children will as surely change society and human history, but negatively. They will be the common men and women, or fall into mental and emotional abysses, there to express man's instinctive nature and become the exemplars of violence and lust, of dependence and crime. The very direction of humankind is right there in the early years, to be turned toward a great potential through love and attentiveness or allowed to decay through neglect. The mother is the child's first guru, and she alone can shape the mind in those impressionable years. So, you can all see the truth in the old saying: "The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world."
Take the case of a mother who is at home every day, morning and night, attending to her children. As she rocks the cradle, her love and energy radiate out to the infant who then feels a natural peacefulness and security. She has time for the child, time to sing sweet lullabies and console when the tears come, time to teach about people, about the world, about the little things in growing up, time to cuddle for no reason except to express her love. On the other hand, the working mother has no time to do extra things. When the infant cries, she may, out of her own frustrations of the day, become impatient and scold him, demanding that he keep quiet. "I told you to be quiet!" she shouts. The infant doesn't even understand English yet. You can imagine this helpless child's feelings as he receives an emotional blast of anger and frustration directed toward his gentle form. Where is he to turn? He cannot find refuge even in his mother's arms. What will the next generation be like if all the children are raised under such circumstances? Will it be strong and self-assured? Will it radiate kindness to others, never having had kindness given to it? Will it be patient and understanding? No. It is a proven fact that most of the people in prison were neglected or beaten as children. It is also a proven fact that nearly all parents who mistreat their children were themselves mistreated by their parents. Unless mothers care for and love their children, society will inherit an entire generation of frustrated adults who were once frustrated children. These will later be the people who rule the world. Then what happens? They in turn raise their children in the same manner, for that is the only example of parenthood they have. They will think that neglect is natural, that children can get along on their own from an early age or be raised by a governess or nurse or at a day-care center. It's a circle: a childhood of neglect produces a bitter adult life; a childhood of love and trust produces a loving and happy adult life.
We learn so many important things from the mother. This learning is not just from the things she explains to us, but from the way she lives her life. If she is patient, we learn patience. If she is angry and unhappy, then we learn to be angry and unhappy. How wonderful it is for a mother to be in the home and give her children the great gifts of life by her example. She can teach them so many things, bring them into profound understandings about the world around them and offer them basic values and points of view that will sustain them throughout their life. Her gift of love is directly to the child, but indirectly it is a gift to all of humanity, isn't it? A child does not learn much from the father until he is older, perhaps eight or nine, or ten years of age.
Let me tell you a sad story. We have a book in our library which describes a plan, made by the Christians, to destroy Hinduism in Sri Lanka and India. One of their major tactics is to get the Hindu women out of the homes and working in the world. They knew that the spiritual force within the home is created by the unworldly woman. They knew that a secure woman makes for a secure home and family, a secure husband and a secure religion. They knew that the Hindu woman is the key to the perpetuation of Hinduism as long as she is in the home. If the woman is in the home, if she is happy and content and the children are nurtured and raised properly, then the astral beings around the home will be devonic, friendly and beneficial. But if she is out of the home and the husband is out of the home, the protective force-field around the home disintegrates, allowing all kinds of astral asuric beings to enter. Such a neglected home becomes inhabited by base, asuric beings on the lower astral plane. You cannot see these beings, but they are there, and you can sense their presence. Things just don't feel right in a home inhabited by negative forces. You have the desire to leave such a home as soon as you enter it. The children absorb these vibrations, these feelings. Children are open and psychically sensitive to such influences, with little means of self-protection. They will become disturbed, and no one will know the reason why. They will be crying and even screaming. They will be constantly disobedient. Why should they become disobedient? There is no positive, protective force field of religion established by the mother. This leaves the inner force field vulnerable to negative and confusing forces of all kinds, especially in modern, overpopulated cities where destructive psychic influences are so strong. These negative vibrations are penetrating the inner atmosphere of the home, and the children are psychic enough to pick them up and suffer.
Religion begins in the home under the mother's influence and instruction. The mother goes to the temple to get strong. That is the reason Hindus live near a temple. They go to the temple to gain the strength from the shakti of the Deity, and they return to the home where they maintain a similar vibration in which to raise the next generation to be staunch and wonderful citizens of the world, to bring peace on Earth, to keep peace on Earth. There is an ancient Tamil proverb which says one should not live in a city which has no temple.
If a child is screaming in its cradle, and the baby sitter is yelling at him and couldn't care less about his feelings, and the mother is out working, that child is not a candidate for peace on Earth. That child is going to keep things confused, as they are today. So, it's all in the hands of the mother; it's not in the hands of the father. Religion and the future of society lie solely in the hands of the mother. It is in the hands of the father to allow or not to allow the mother to be under another man's mind out in the world.
Just as the two world wars took women out of the home, so did another recent change affect mankind. When the automobile came, people forgot about breeding. The automobile did one terrible thing: it made people forget how to breed and how to take care of one another. When people had horses, horses were a part of the family. People had to care for their horses and in the process learned to care for one another. People also had to breed their horses, and in that process learned about the value of intelligent breeding. In those days, you often heard of the "well-bred" person. You don't hear of the well-bred person anymore. People no longer consider that humans, too, are involved in the natural process of breeding. They have become forgetful of these important laws, and this has led to lack of discipline, to bodies indiscriminately creating more bodies. Who is living in them nobody quite knows. That's what we, as a society, forgot when the automobile replaced the horse. When you had a horse, you had to feed it, you had to train it, curry it, stable it and breed it. In breeding it, you had to choose a stud for your mare or find a suitable mare for your stallion. The qualities on both sides were closely observed, and the combination of genetics consciously planned. It was, therefore, natural for people in those days to seek proper mates for their children, and the results were the vital, creative and industrious children of the children. As a civilization, we are slowly forgetting such things, being more careless about our children's future, about their lives and minds.
Television has not helped the matter. In fact, it has virtually stopped the proper education of the child in those communities where it is watched for hours each day. Instead of developing a curiosity by adventuring for hours through a forest or climbing a tree, instead of discovering the wonders of nature and art and music, instead of becoming involved in sports and hobbies, children are mentally carried along by television stories through positive and negative states of mind. They become uncreative, inactive, never learning to use their own minds. Not all television is negative. Some of it can be quite educational; but hours and hours each day of passive absorption are not good for the child's mental and emotional development. Children need to be active, to involve themselves in a wide variety of experiences. If the mother is there, she can intelligently guide their television, being careful that they do not get in the habit of watching it for hours on end, and watching that bold sex, violence and other bad influences are not a daily experience. When the program is over, she can send them out to play. Of course, if she is gone, they will watch anything and everything. For the young, television is one of the most senseless pastimes there is, carrying the mind further and further away from the true Self. I think you will all agree that our values, the values found in the holy Vedas, Tirukural and other sacred scriptures are not found on television. Instead, TV gives our children a brutal and unbalanced view of life which distorts in their minds how life really is. These are very serious questions. It is the mother who protects her children from negative influences, guiding their young minds into positive channels of expression.
Take the case of a farmer who raises livestock, who milks cows and goats. He works hard. He gets up early and takes care of his animals. He cannot succeed if he is also working part-time in the grocery store downtown. He just can't do it. Those animals need attention. There is no sensible man who would run a farm, with cows and goats and chickens, and not be there to take care of them, because those animals need a lot of help. He stays there and takes care of his business. He is a farmer and that is his duty, and he knows it.
Well, what's more important than the child? He needs 24-hour-a-day care. He is learning to walk, to speak, to think. He falls down and needs consoling. He catches the flu and needs to be nursed back to health. It is the mother's duty to provide that care. No one else is going to do it for her. No one else can do it for her. She brought that child into the world, and she must prepare that child for a positive and rewarding life. If the farmer neglects his animals, he creates a karma. The animals suffer. The farm suffers. The community suffers when the farm fails, and the man himself suffers. There is a grave karma, too, for the woman who neglects her stri dharma, who goes out into the world and does not nurture the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual needs of her children. She knows this within herself, but she may be influenced by ill-advised people, or by a mass movement that tells her that she has only one life to live and that she cannot find fulfillment in the home but must express herself, venture out, seek her own path, her own fortune. You have all heard these ideas. I tell you that they are wrong. They spell the disillusionment of the mother who heeds them, then the disintegration of the family that is sacrificed by her absence. Finally, they result in her own unhappiness as she despairs at the loss suffered by her family and herself.
From the point of view of the Second World, or astral plane, the home is the family temple, and the wife and mother is in charge of that spiritual environment. Man can come into that sanctum sanctorum but should not bring the world into it. He will naturally find a refuge in the home if she is doing her duty. He will be able to regain his peace of mind there, renew himself for the next day in the stressful situations that the world is full of. In this technological age a man needs this refuge. He needs that inner balance in his life. When he enters that sanctuary and she is in her soul body and the child is in its soul body, then he becomes consciously conscious in his soul body. He leaves the conscious mind, which is a limited, external state of mind and not a balanced state of mind. He enters the intuitive mind. He gets immediate and intuitive answers to his worldly problems. How can he not be successful in his purusha dharma in the outside world when he has the backing of a good wife? She is naturally perceptive, naturally intuitive. She balances out his intellect, softens the impact of the forces which dash against his nervous system from morning to night. Encouragement and love naturally radiate out from her as she fulfills stri dharma. Without these balancing elements in his life, a man becomes too externalized, too instinctive and sometimes brutal.
If a woman is working, she cannot provide this balance. She has to start thinking and acting like a man. She has to become a little harder, create a protective shell around her emotions. Then the home loses its balance of the masculine and the feminine forces. Take for example the situation in which the wife rushes home from work fifteen minutes before the husband. She's upset. The children come over from grandmother's house or she tells the baby sitter to go home. She scurries to prepare something before he comes home, then rushes to get herself looking halfway decent. Emotionally upset, she tries to calm herself, tries to relax and regain her composure. Her astral body is upset. The children's astral bodies are upset. The husband enters this agitated environment--upset by being in the world anyway--and he becomes more disturbed. He was looking forward to a quiet evening. He feels neglected, disappointed, and that leads him to become distraught, even angry. No wonder he beats his wife and abuses his child. He's mad. He gets more and more disturbed until there is nothing left to do but walk out. It's a totally impossible situation. Furthermore, it's not going to get better but exceedingly worse.
The situation I have just described is one of the main reasons that marriages today have become less stable, that so many married couples--sixty to seventy percent, I'm told--are experiencing difficulties and breaking up. People never get married with the intent of breaking up. Never. The forces do it. You put two magnets together one way and they attract one another. Turn one around, and they repel each other. The same force that brought the people together, when it is not handled right, makes them pull apart and hate each other. They can't see eye to eye. Then to make up, they go out to dinner to talk it over--in another frustrating asuric situation, as far out in the world as they can get--to try to make up. When that doesn't help, they come home, still frustrated. If they went to the nearby temple and worshiped the Deity together, that would help. They would return home in a different state of mind, and discover that their vibration had changed. Why does it help to go to the temple? Because the Deity is in the temple. The Deity is there to adjust the forces of the inner nerve system, to actually change the forces of mind and emotion.
In the home the mother is likened to the Shakti Deity. She is the power of the home. None other. So she has to be there. She has to be treated right. She has to be given the things she needs. It is the man's duty to provide for her and for the children. The husband should provide her with all the fine things, with a good house which she then makes into a home, with gold and jewels and clothes, gold hanging down until her ears hurt, more bracelets, more things to keep her in the home so she is feeling secure and happy. In return she provides a refuge, a serene corner of the world where he can escape from the pressures of daily life, where he can regain his inner perspective, perform his spiritual sadhana and meditations then enjoy his family. Thus, she brings happiness and peace of mind to the family, to the community and to the world.
This working together of the home and the temple brings up the culture and the religion within the family. The family goes to the temple; the temple blesses the family's next project. The mother returns home. She keeps an oil lamp burning in the shrine room on the altar. It's a beautiful thing. All this happens because her astral body is not fretted by the stresses and strains of a worldly life, not polluted by the lustful thoughts of other men directed to her. She is not living in the emotional astral body. She is living in her peaceful soul body of love, fulfilling her dharma and radiating the soulful presence called sannidhya. She was born to be a woman, and that's how a woman should behave.
If she does not do her dharmic duty--this means the duty of birth--then she accrues bad karma. Every time she leaves the home to go out to work, she is making kukarma. Yes, she is. That negative karma will reflect on her astral body and on her husband's astral body and on the astral bodies of their children, causing them to become insecure.
The Christian-Judaic-Islamic idea of a one life, that "you have to get everything out of this life because when you're gone, you're gone, so grab all the gusto that you can out of life" has given the modern Western woman the idea that she is not getting what she should, by being a woman, and therefore the world looks doubly attractive because she is just passing through and will never come back and doesn't want to miss anything. So, living a man's life is very, very attractive. She doesn't want to stay home all the time and not see anything, not meet anybody, go through the boredom of raising a family, taking care of the children. She wants to be out with life, functioning in a man's world because she is told that she is missing something. Therefore, you can understand her desire to get out and work, start seeing and experiencing life and mixing with people, meeting new people. The Hindu woman does not look at life like that. The Hindu woman knows that she was born in a woman's body--this soul has taken an incarnation for a time in a woman's body--to perform a dharma, to perform a duty for the evolution of the soul. The duty is to be a mother to her children, wife to her husband, to strengthen the home and the family, which are the linchpin of society. She knows that the rewards are greater for her in the home. She knows that all she is missing is a man's strenuous work and responsibility, that her stri dharma is equally as great as a man's purusha dharma, even though they are quite different by nature. Because she knows these things, she fulfills her dharma joyously.
Now, a woman may wonder, "If I don't work, how are we going to pay the bills?" The real reason that most women work is economic. The economy of the world is becoming more and more difficult, and the first answer to money problems, especially in the West, where the family unit is not too strong these days, is to have the woman go to work. This is an unhappy solution. The sacrifices are greater than the rewards. It is a false economy. Many times I have told young wives to stay home with their children. They worry. Their husbands worry. But with the wife at home, working to strengthen her husband, he soon becomes confident, creative, energetic. He is reinspired and always finds a way to make things work.
As long as the mother is home, everything is fine. There is security. Without this security, a family begins to disintegrate. Just think how insecure a child is without its mother. When the mother is there, security reigns in the home. As long as the mother is home doing whatever she naturally does as a mother--she doesn't even have to read a book about how to do it--the husband has to support the home. He feels bound to support the home.
Of course, religion must be the basis of the home to make it all work. When women leave the home to work in the world, they sacrifice the depth of their religion; their religious life then simply becomes a social affair. This is true of both Eastern and Western religions. As long as the mother is home, the celestial devas are there, hovering in and around the home. How many of you were raised with your mother staying at home? Well, then you know what I mean. Now, what if she wasn't at home when you were a child? You came home and mother wasn't there. You had to fix your own snack in an empty house. You didn't feel much cared for. You were alone in an empty house, perhaps frightened, and you went around seeing if someone was hiding in the closet. You didn't feel that motherly, protective feeling. When mother finally does come home, she has other things on her mind. She is tired. She has worked hard, and now she has to work even more. She is not thinking about the little helpless kid who can't take care of himself or herself. She may get home and think to herself, "I just can't forget about that good-looking man I met at the office. I even see him in my dreams. I have a husband and I shouldn't be thinking about such things, but" And on and on and on. Arguments begin to happen for the first time in the home. What do you do? You worry for awhile. You cry a little. As soon as you can, you start fending for yourself. You work out ways to take care of yourself or even to get away from the unhappy situation as soon as you can. You end up out on your own in the world at a young age, before you are mature enough to cope with it.
The Hindu woman knows that she is born in a woman's body to perform a woman's dharma, to perform her duty and not to emulate the men. The duty is to be a mother to her children and a wife to her husband, whom she looks to as her lord. She performs that duty willingly as does the man perform his duty which arises out of being born in a man's body. The Hindu woman is trained to perform her stri dharma from the time she is a little girl. She finds ways to express her natural creativity within the home itself. She may write poetry or become an artist. Perhaps she has a special talent for sewing or embroidery or gardening or music. She can learn to loom cloth and make the family's clothing. If needed, she can use her skills to supplement the family income without leaving the home. There are so many ways for a Hindu wife and mother to fully use her creative energies, including being creative enough to never let her life become boring. It is her special blessing that she is free to pursue her religion fully, to study the scriptures, to sing bhajana and keep her own spiritual life strong inside.
Then there is the situation in which the wife is working for her husband in the home. This is not ideal, but it is far better than having her out, away from her husband, under another man's mind. At least the family is working together toward a single goal, and the mother is there to care for the child and answer questions. Of course, if working in the home does not allow for closeness of mother and children, then it is to be avoided--if, for instance, the work is so demanding that the mother is never free to play with the young ones or is so pressured by her other duties that she becomes tense and upset. Otherwise, it is a positive situation. From the child's point of view, mother is home. She is there to answer questions, to make a dosai or say "Go make yourself a nice dosai."
Three visions for India
Mr. APJ Abdul Kalaam's speech in Hyderabad/India: MUST read for every
"I have three visions for India. In 3000 years of our history people
came and looted us, took over what was ours. Yet we have not done this
to any other nation.
culture, their history and tried to enforce our way of life on them.
nation. We are among top 5 nations of the world in terms of GDP. We
falling. Our achievements are being globally recognized today. Yet we
lack the self-confidence to see ourselves as a Developed nation, self-
I have a THIRD vision. India must stand up to the world. Because I
believe that unless India stands up to the world, no one will respect
My good fortune was to have worked with three great minds. Dr. Vikram
him and Dr. Brahm Prakash, father of nuclear material. I was lucky to
I see four milestones in my career:
ONE: Twenty years I spent in ISRO. I was given the opportunity to be
the project director for India's first satellite launch vehicle, SLV3.
TWO: After my ISRO years, I joined DRDO and got a chance to be the part
THREE: The Dept. of Atomic Energy and DRDO had this tremendous
tests and proving to the world that India can make it, that we are no
Sciences visited my laboratory. He lifted the material and found it so
light that he took me to his hospital and showed me his patients. There
over three Kg. each, dragging their feet around. He said to me: "Please
and took them to the orthopaedic centre. The children didn't believe
to recognize our own strengths, our achievements? We are such a great
nation. We have so many mazing success stories, but we refuse to
Look at Dr. Sudarshan, he has transferred the tribal village into a
I was in Tel Aviv once and I was reading the Israeli Newspaper. It was
desert land into an orchid and a granary. It was this inspiring picture
that everyone woke up to. The gory details of killings, bombardments,
we only read about death, sickness, errorism, crime.
me for my autograph. I asked her what her goal in life is: She replied:
"I want to live in a developed India." For her, you and I will have to
Got 10 minutes for your country? If yes, then read; otherwise, choice
laws are too old. YOU say that the municipality does not pick up the
destination. YOU say that our country has been fed to the dogs and is
Take a person on his way to Singapore. Give him a name - YOURS. Give
roads or eat in the stores. YOU are as proud of their Underground Links
as they are. You pay $5 (approx. Rs. 60) to drive through Orchard Road
comeback to the parking lot to punch your parking ticket if you have
wouldn't dare to eat in public during Ramadan, in Dubai. YOU would not
dare to go out without your head covered in Jeddah. YOU would not dare
to buy an employee of the telephone exchange in London at 10 pounds (Rs.
650) a month to, "see to it that my STD and ISD calls are billed to
someone else." YOU would not dare to speed beyond 55 mph (88 km/h) in
Washington and then tell the traffic cop, "Jaanta hai sala main kaun
don't YOU spit Paan on the streets of Tokyo? Why don't YOU use
examination jockeys or buy fake certificates in Boston? We are still
talking of the same YOU. YOU who can respect and conform to a foreign
papers and cigarettes on the road the moment you touch Indian ground. If
Ex-municipal commissioner of Bombay Mr. Tinaikar had a point to make.
"Rich people's dogs are walked on the streets to leave their affluent
around to criticize and blame the authorities for inefficiency and dirty
pavements. What do they expect the officers to do? Go down with a broom
dog owner has to clean up after his pet has done the job. Same in Japan.
Will the Indian citizen do that here?" He's right. We go to the polls to
back wanting to be pampered and expect the government to do everything
for us whilst our contribution is totally negative. We expect the
government to clean up but we are not going to stop chucking garbage all
over the place nor are we going to stop to pick an up a stray piece of
paper and throw it in the bin. We expect the railways to provide clean
bathrooms but we are not going to learn the proper use of bathrooms. We
want Indian Airlines and Air India to provide the best of food and
toiletries but we are not going to stop pilfering at the least
opportunity. This applies even to the staff who is known not to pass on
the service to the public. When it comes to burning social issues like
those related to women, dowry, girl child and others, we make loud
drawing room protestations and continue to do the reverse at home. Our
excuse? "It's the whole system, which has to change, how will it matter
if I alone forego my sons' rights to a dowry." So who's going to change
fears we run to America to bask in their glory and praise their system.
When New York becomes insecure we run to England. When England
experiences unemployment, we take the next light out to the Gulf. When
the Gulf is war struck, we demand to be rescued and brought home by the
Indian government. Everybody is out to abuse and rape the country.
Nobody thinks of feeding the system. Our conscience is mortgaged to
a great deal of introspection and pricks one's conscience too....I am
echoing John F. Kennedy's words to his fellow Americans to relate to
Indians..... "ASK WHAT WE CAN DO FOR INDIA AND DO WHAT HAS TO BE DONE
TO MAKE INDIA WHAT AMERICA AND OTHER WESTERN COUNTRIES ARE TODAY" Let's
do what India needs from us. Forward this mail to each Indian for a
Unconditional Acceptance
(forwarded to me via email by a friend !)
college degree. The last class I had to take was Sociology. The teacher
called "Smile." The class was asked to go out and smile at three
project, my husband, youngest son, and I went out to McDonald's one
with our son. We were standing in line, waiting to be served, when all
of a sudden everyone around us began to back away, and then even my
welled up inside of me as I turned to see why they had moved. As I
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
they wanted to sit in the restaurant and warm up, they had to buy
something. He just wanted to be warm). Then I really felt it - the
the young lady behind the counter to give me two more breakfast meals
on a separate tray. I then walked around the corner to the table that
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
cry as I walked away to join my husband and son. When I sat down my
husband smiled at me and said, "That is why God gave you to me,
Sweetie. To give me hope."
of the Grace that we had been given were we able to give. We are not church
That day showed me the pure Light of God's sweet love. I returned to
college, on the last evening of class, with this story in hand. I
turned in "my project" and the instructor read it. Then she looked
I slowly nodded as she got the attention of the class. She began to read
share this need to heal people and be healed. In my own way I had
touched the people at McDonald's, my husband, son, instructor, and
every soul that shared the classroom on the last night I spent as a
Read this and learn how to LOVE PEOPLE AND USE THINGS - NOT LOVE
To handle yourself, use your head, To handle others, use your heart.
God Gives every bird it's food, but He does not throw it into it's nest.
Television
Groucho Marx : I find television very educational. Every time someone switches it on, I go into another room and read a good book.
The University of Hard Knocks
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Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Finds tongues in trees, books in running brooks
Sermons in stones, and good in everything."
the United States and have listened to "The University of Hard
Knocks." It has been delivered to date more than twenty-five
lecture took this unconscious colloquial form before audiences. An
bringing the audiences of America together. For lecture audiences
are not drawn together, they are pushed together."
public, has encouraged the publishers to put more of Mr. Parlette's
lectures into book form, "Big Business" and "Pockets and Paradises"
sorghum barrel--Audience must have place to put lecture--Why so
into--Getting the coffee-pot--Teaching a wilful child--Bumps make
us "stop, look, listen"--Blind man learns with one bump--Going up
III. THE COLLEGE OF NEEDFUL KNOCKS, the bumps that bump into
fatal rattle--We must get ready to get--Testimonials and press
equalize--Help people to help themselves--We cannot get things till
we get ready for them
There is no top--We make ourselves great by service--the
first step at hand--All can be greatest--Where to find great
children--The story of "Gussie" and "Bill Whackem"--Schools and
books only give better tools for service--"Hard knocks" graduates--
Children must have struggle to get strength--Not packhorse work--
Must save the home towns--A school of struggle--New School
the shell game--My "fool drawer"--Getting "selected to receive
but stop--Few go on south--The plague of incompetents--Today our
best day, tomorrow to be better--Birthdays are promotions--I am
eighty--Too busy to bury--Sympathy for the "sob squad"--Child sees
X. GOING UP LIFE'S MOUNTAIN--The defeats that are victories--
Climbing Mount Lowe--Getting above the clouds into the sunshine--
Each day we rise to larger vision--Getting above the night into
I do not want to be seen in this lecture. I want to be heard. I am
only the delivery wagon. When the delivery wagon comes to your
sometimes delivered to you in some very poor delivery wagons.
So in this lecture, please do not pay any attention to the delivery
not pay much attention to the wrappings and strings. Get inside to
Really, I believe the goods are good. I believe I am to recite to
mother wanted to make ginger-bread or cookies, she would send me to
the woodshed to get a bucket of sorghum from that barrel.
the sorghum would fairly squirt into my bucket. Later in the fall
have to wait a long while to get a little sorghum. And on some real
I have brought a barrel of sorghum to this audience. The name of
of this audience. You can have all you want of it, but to get it to
running freely, you will have to warm up.
No matter how the sorghum runs, you have to have a bucket to get
size of the bucket he brings to get it in. A big bucket can get
Here is a great mass of words and sentences and pictures to express
growing up from the Finite to the Infinite, and that it is done by
and struggle up to a higher vision.
We are told that the stomach needs bulk as well as nutriment. It
lecture. You cannot confess without referring to the confesser.
To Everybody in My Audience
about your present. I care much about your future for that is to
it. They do not waste the bumps. We get promoted to the next bump.
Some of us learn to go forward with a few bumps, but most of us are
"naturally bright" and have to be pulverized.
We never graduate. When we stop learning we are due for another
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Finds tongues in trees, books in running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything."
"Tongues in trees," I thought. "Trees can't talk! That man is
no running brooks. They'd get wet. And that sermons in stones! They
get preachers to preach sermons, and they build houses out of
stones."
But I am happy today that I have traveled a little farther. I am
happy that I have begun to learn the lessons from the bumps. I am
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.
I was not interested when father and mother told me these things.
It is so hard to tell young people anything. They know better. So
they have to get bumped just where we got bumped, to learn that two
Bumps that we bump into and bumps that bump into us.
The Bumps That We Bump Into
say that. It was back at the time when I was trying to run our home
to suit myself. I sat in the highest chair in the family circle. I
was three years old and ready to graduate.
coffee-pot in my business. I reached over to get the coffee-pot.
meddlesome woman I had ever known. I had not tried to do one thing
in three years that that woman had not meddled into.
I was reaching over to get it, that woman said, "Don't touch that!"
has that woman to meddle into my affairs all the time? I have stood
this petticoat tyranny three years, and it is time to stop it!
I stopped it. I got the coffee-pot. I know I got the coffee-pot. I
You see, my mother's way was to tell me and then let me do as I
pleased. She told me not to get the coffee-pot and then let me get
Why don't mothers knit today?
that this is the way to raise children, but I insist that this was
the most kind and effective way to rear one stubborn boy I know of.
kind of an insect mother was trying to raise. Mother did know. She
Mother knew that to argue with me was to flatter me. Tell me, serve
That was the quickest and kindest way to teach me.
inflicter. Father attended to that in the laboratory behind the
"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
running brooks and the sermons in the stones all repeat it.
But we are not compelled to walk in the right path. We are free
easier and more attractive. It is so easy to go downward. We slide
downward, but we have to make effort to go upward.
upward has to be pushed.
When we are bumped, we should "stop, look, listen." "Safety first!"
One time I paid a seeress two dollars to look into my honest palm.
unlucky and it had to be.
How I had to be bumped to learn better! Now when I get bumped I try
to learn the lesson of the bump and find the right path, so that
The other day I watched a blind man go down the aisle of the car to
I looked down my nose. "Ralph Parlette," I said to myself, "when
are you going to learn to see as well as that blind man? He learns
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.
the tomorrow of communities that go upward. Majorities are not
willing to make the effort to rule themselves. They are content to
People are like sheep. The shepherd can lead them to heaven--or to
Human life is the story of the Prodigal Son. We look over the fence
of goodness into the mystery of the great unknown world beyond and
How they must be bumped to think upon their ways. Every time we do
the subject. You have pounded your soul into a jelly. You don't
How the old devil works day and night to keep people amused and
The last thing Mamma Fly said as Johnny went off to the city was,
"Remember, son, to stay away from the sticky flypaper. That is
set go over to the flypaper, he goes over, too. He gazes down at
place to skate. Just see how close I can fly over it and not get
right, of course, but she isn't up-to-date. We young set of modern
can't catch us. They were too strict with me back home."
naturally bright young life. Afterwhile, tho, he stubs his toe and
feet down in the stickiness. It is harder to pull them out. Then he
puts three down and puts down a few more trying to pull them out.
"Really," says Johnny Fly bowing to his comrades also stuck around
him, "really, boys, you'll have to excuse me now. Good-bye!" But he
flypaper. It is a fine place to stick around. All his young set of
Most of them stay. They just settle down into the stickiness
The man who goes to jail ought to congratulate himself if he is
guilty. It is the man who does not get discovered who is to be
The world loves to write resolutions of respect. How often we
write, "Whereas, it has pleased an all-wise Providence to remove,"
There is a good deal of suicide charged up to Providence.
The Bumps That Bump Into Us
BUT occasionally all of us get bumps that we do not bump into. They
bump into us. They are the guideboard knocks that point us to the
heart broken more times than I care to talk about now. Your home
more to live for.
We all must learn, if we have not already learned, that these blows
are lessons in The College of Needful Knocks. They point upward to
is--material that needs more Needful Knocks to make it more useful
have to have the Needful Knocks to become useful. And so does
I should like to know every person in this audience. But the ones
See the piano on this stage? Good evening, Mr. Piano. I am glad to
here. This is no reflection upon the janitor. You became a piano by
There you stood in the forest, a perfectly good, green young tree.
You got your lessons, combed your hair, went to Sunday school and
man into the woods with an ax, and he looked for the best trees
there to bump. He bumped you--hit you with the ax! How it hurt you!
It is a very sad story. They took you all bumped and bleeding to
bumped here. All the beauty, harmony and value were bumped into you.
Duluth, Minnesota, and came to a hole in the ground. It was a big
until you move it--send it to college or somewhere.
the rails to what they call a blast furnace, the technological name
I watched this red mud matriculate into a great hopper with
limestone, charcoal and other textbooks. Then they corked it up and
school began. They roasted it. It is a great thing to be roasted.
When it was done roasting they stopped. Have you noticed that they
always stop when anything is done roasting? If we are yet getting
Then they pulled the plug out of the bottom of the college and held
promotion exercises. The red mud squirted out into the sand. It was
Some of the pig iron went into another department, a big teakettle,
Some of the sophomore steel went up into another grade where it was
roasted yet again and rolled thin into a junior. Some of that went
it had been roasted--they took it proudly all over the world,
If a ton of that red mud had become watch-springs or razor-blades,
the price had gone up into thousands of dollars.
red mud. The Needful Knocks are necessary to make us serviceable.
Every bump is raising our price. Every bump is disclosing a path to
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
Illinois, a crippled woman was wheeled into the tent and brought
right down to the foot of the platform. The subject was The
Afterwards I went to her. "Little lady, I want to thank you for
that I know sitting in this chair. I have learned to be patient and
They told me this crippled woman was the sweetest-spirited,
best-loved person in the town.
cripple into the tent. She was tall and stately. She was
had everything that money could buy. But her money seemed unable to
single thing to make her happy. I am not happy. I have not been
"Madam, I don't want to be unkind, but I really think the reason
to congratulate the patients lying there. They are learning the
sympathize. They are to become a precious part of our population.
There is no backward step in life. Whatever experiences come to us
are truly new chapters of our education if we are willing to learn
We think this is true of the good things that come to us, but we do
not want to think so of the bad things. Yet we grow more in lean
materially very prosperous, so many of us begin to say, "Is not
some handwriting on the wall and a bump to save us.
Think of what might happen to you today. Your home might burn. We
don't want your home to burn, but somebody's home is burning just
now. A conflagration might sweep your town from the map. Your
for it is not true. The old enemy of humanity wants you to believe
you are down and out. He wants you to sympathize with yourself. You
opened. Will you read the lesson of the Needful Knocks?
There is a silver lining to every hard knocks cloud.
One day the train stopped at a station to take water. Beside the
big, red, fat apples on the top, and the groceryman, not desiring
to spoil his sign, had reached down under the top layer. He must
have reached to the bottom, for he gave me the worst mess of runts
the groceryman ever put the big apples on top and the little
Man of sorrows, you have been slandered. It never occurred to me
big ones on top and the little ones down underneath. He does not
need to do it. It does itself. It is the shaking of the barrel that
Shake to Their Places
and smooth that things do not shake on the road to town. But back
hauled a wagon-bed full of apples to the cider-mill over a corduroy
try to get to the top. The little, runty apples would try to hold
a mass meeting at the bottom.
how long you have to see most things before you see them? I saw
that when I played marbles. The big marbles would shake to the top
of my pocket and the little ones would rattle down to the bottom.
You children try that tomorrow. Do not wait thirty years to learn
thing shake to the place its size determines. A little larger one
before, the largest on top and the smallest at the bottom.
than thru the ear. I want to make this so vivid that you will never
forget it, and I do not want these young people to live thirty
If there are sermons in stones, there must be lectures in cans.
This is a canned lecture. Let the can talk to you awhile.
automatically goes the right way. The little ones go down and the
down in the bottom saying, "Help me! Help me! I am so unfortunate
I say, "Yes, you little bean, I'll help you." So I lift him up to
the top. See! I have boosted him. I have uplifted him.
See, the can shakes. Back to the bottom shakes the little bean. And
stay on top." So I put him back again on top.
The can shakes. The little bean again shakes back to the bottom. He
is too small to stay up. He cannot stand prosperity.
Then I hear Little Bean say, "Well, if I cannot get to the top, you
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
way to the market place of the future. It is a corduroy road and
stores, the schools, the pulpits, the homes--every place where we
in that can is shaking every person to the place he fits in the
And do you not see that we are very foolish when we want to be
lifted up to some big place, or when we want some big person to be
put down to some little place? We are foolishly trying to overturn
We shake right back to the places our size determines. We must get
ready for places before we can get them and keep them.
The very worst thing that can happen to anybody is to be
artificially boosted up into some place where he rattles.
I hear a good deal about destiny. Some people seem to think destiny
is something like a train and if we do not get to the depot in time
creatures of chance. We have it in our hands to decide our destiny
as we grow or refuse to grow.
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.
In order to hold his place he must hold his size. He must fill the
he rattles. Nature abhors a rattler. He shakes down to a smaller place.
In order to stay the same size he must grow enough each day to supply
So you young people should keep in mind that you will shake into
the places you fit. And when you are in your places--in stores,
shops, offices or elsewhere, if you want to hold your place you
must keep growing enough to keep it tightly filled.
capabilities, do more than you are paid to do--overfill your place,
and you shake up to a greater place.
I believe if I were so fortunate or unfortunate as to have a number
with various sizes of objects. When an employee would come into the
raised. As you grow greater you won't need to ask to be promoted.
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
to size. Every business concern can tell you stories like that of
got the bottom job.
"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
to be done, and she would go right on working, contrary to the
rules of the union! Without being told, mind you. She had that rare
wait--to be told what to do next.
The barrel did the rest. Today she is giving orders to all of them,
was nothing fair about it. Jennie ought to have been made
Then I asked him about a machine in the next room. He said, "I
desire to know anything about anything.
man over there at the supercalendered machine?" pointing to the man
The foreman's face clouded. "I hate to talk to you about that man.
we've got to let him go. We're afraid he'll break the machine. He
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
So books could be filled with just such stories of how people have
Some of us begin life on the top branches, right in the sunshine of
Some of us begin down in the shade on the bottom branches, and we
the top-branchers, and we say, "O, if I only had his chance! If I
were only up there I might amount to something. But I am too low
enough to fill this place?"
appear to have about the same round of duties.
our eyes glued to precedents--just turning round and round in our places
forward and upward. That is the only way to hold our place.
The farmer must be learning new things about farming to hold his
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
same old schoolroom. The mother must be getting a larger horizon in
journals labeled "Finishing Schools," and "A Place to Finish Your
I am sorry for the one who says, "I know all there is to know about
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
For it is mostly rattle. The live one's "my day" is today and
tomorrow. The dead one's is yesterday.
We Must Get Ready to Get
We young people come up into life wanting great places. I would not
look forward to greater and better things tomorrow.
We often think the way to get a great place is just to go after it
We think if we could only get into a great place we would be great.
We do not become great by getting into a great place, any more than
a boy becomes a man by getting into his father's boots. He is in
We must get ready for things before we get them.
Moses was eighty years getting ready to do forty years work. The
Master was thirty years getting ready to do three years work. So
many of us expect to get ready in "four easy lessons by mail."
We can be a mushroom in a day, with the accent on the "mush." But
the most testimonials generally needs them most to keep him from
Many a man writes a testimonial to get rid of somebody. "Well, I
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
progress by reading my press-notices instead of listening to the
me. Whenever I heard an adverse criticism, I would go and read a
to contain the crowd."
was filled before was entirely too big for the audience! The
editors of America--God bless them! They are always trying to boost
We must read people, not press-notices.
When you get to the place where you can stand aside and "see
in the land. They spring up, fail, wail, disappear, only to be
having the barrel do the uplifting, they try to do it with a
not helping them, that is propping them. The beggar who asks you to
help him does not want to be helped. He wants to be propped. He
wants you to license him and professionalize him as a beggar.
You can only help a man to help himself. Help him to grow. You
cannot help many people, for there are not many people willing to
be helped on the inside. Not many willing to grow up.
When Peter and John went up to the temple they found the lame
And so every day that beggar got to be more of a beggar. The public
"helped" him to be poorer in spirit, more helpless and a more
"helping" to the Jerusalem Beggars' Union and carried his card.
I used to say, "Nobody uses me right. Nobody gives me a chance."
I used to work on the "section" and get a dollar and fifteen cents
to see how little I could do and look like I was working. I was the
I used to wonder as I passed Bill Barlow's bank on the way down to
pumping a handcar. I was naturally bright. I used to say "If the
I am so glad now that I did not get to be president of the bank.
They are glad, too! I would have rattled down in about fifteen
minutes, down to the peanut row, for I was only a peanut. Remember,
The fairy books love to tell about some clodhopper suddenly
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.
I used to say, "Just wait till I get to Congress." I think they are
to be the same size. Yes, I'll pass laws to turn the barrel upside
down, so the little ones will be on the top and the big ones will
be at the bottom."
But I had not seen that it wouldn't matter which end was the top,
the big ones would shake right up to it and the little ones would
shake down to the bottom.
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
do not get the coffee-pot until we are ready to handle it.
Today you and I have things we couldn't have yesterday. We just
would not let us have them. Today we have them. They come to us as
naturally today, and we see it is because we have grown ready for
them, and the barrel has shaken us up to them.
Today you and I want things beyond our reach. O, how we want them!
unreadiness? As we grow greater we have greater things. We have
today all we can stand today. More would wreck us. More would start
us to rattling.
And this blessed old barrel of life is just waiting and anxious to
many are trying to grow great on the outside without growing great
We go up from selfishness to unselfishness.
We go up from impurity to purity.
We go up from unhappiness to happiness.
We go up from weakness to strength.
We go up from low ideals to high ideals.
We go up from little vision to greater vision.
We go up from foolishness to wisdom.
We go up from fear to faith.
We go up from ignorance to understanding.
rise above our own obstacles. We learn to see, hear, hold and
great blacksmith shop. It becomes our throne-room!
"Getting to the Top"
"Getting to the top" is the world's pet delusion. There is no top.
the going up from the Finite to the Infinite.
The world says that to get greatness means to get great things. So
I weary of the world's pink-sheet extras about "Getting to the Top"
and "Forging to the Front." Too often they are the sordid story of
are the story of one pig crowding the other pigs out of the trough
Christ Jesus was a great Teacher. His mission was to educate
There came to him those two disciples who wanted to "get to the
top." Those two sons of Zebedee wanted to have the greatest places
They got very busy pursuing greatness, but I do not read that they
"Are ye able to drink of the cup?" Then he gave the only definition
inside--developing ability to minister and to serve.
Everybody's privilege and duty is to become great. And the joy of
to go off to New York or Chicago or go chasing around the world to
We must take the first step now. Most of us want to take the
hundredth step or the thousandth step now. We want to make some
We must go right back to our old place--into our kitchen or our
solve and dissolve the difficulties and turn our burdens into
of earth are born; they rush in from the cold lands to the warm
currents set upward, the world is drawn toward us with its
of power. We find the world around us rising up to call us blessed.
begin to see them. They are around us all the time, but we must get
greater eyes to see them.
greater our vision, the more we see what is yet to be accomplished.
small head could contain it all. It was Newton after giving the
world a new science who looked back over it and said, "I seem to
The great Teacher pointed to the widow who cast her two mites into
the treasury, and then to the rich men who had cast in much more.
have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she
treasury. That is not why we give. We give to become great. The
upon what we do, whether peeling potatoes or ruling a nation, but
upon the percentage of our output to our resources. Upon doing with
our might what our hands find to do. Quit worrying about what you
cannot get to do. Rejoice in doing the things you can get to do.
And as you are faithful over a few things you go up to be ruler
gifts. But when we cast them all into the treasury of right
service, there is an alchemy that transmutes every gift into gold.
I do not know who fitted the boards into the floor I stand upon. I
We have to look farther than the "Who's Who" and Dun and Bradstreet
to make a roster of the great people of a community. You will find
tomorrow. They are the faithful few who get behind the churches,
They are the ones who are "always trying to run things." They are
thanking them until it comes time to draft the "resolutions of
I had to go to the mouth of a coal-mine in a little Illinois town,
to find the man the bureau had given as lyceum committeeman there.
miner's lamp in his cap, could possibly have to do with the lyceum
course. But I learned that he had all to do with it. He had sold
the Sunday school. He was the storm-center of every altruistic
effort in the town--the greatest man there, because the most
bread-and-butter job.
The great people are so busy serving that they have little time to
attend to such things.
Chicago on Sundays to thousands. He writes books and runs a college
uplift movements that his name gets into the papers about every day,
and you read it in almost every committee doing good things in
He had broken away from Chicago to have a vacation. Many people
preacher went from one chautauqua town to another, and took his
vacation going up and down the streets. He dug into the local
history of each place, and before dinner he knew more about the
went to see people who were doing things. He went to see people who
were doing nothing. In every town he would discover somebody of
unusual attainment. He made every town an unusual town. He turned
the humdrum travel map into a wonderland. He scolded lazy towns and
praised enterprising ones. He stopped young fellows on the streets.
"What are you going to do in life?" Perhaps the young man would
say, "I have no chance." "You come to Chicago and I'll give you a
for himself, but every day he was trying to make an investment in
doesn't the doctor take care of himself, instead of taking care of
hasn't strength enough left to lecture and do his own work."
life in loving service finds it returning to him great and
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
career would stop.
for number one," stipulating in advance every cent he was to get
yourself that afterwhile you are going to give great things and do
thousands afterwhile. You need to give it now, and the world needs
to get it now."
Preparing Children to Live
for life. All other kinds of "preparedness" fade into
insignificance before this. The history of nations shows that their
But when the struggle stopped, the strength waned, for the strength
and surrendered to ease and indulgence, they became fat, stall-fed weaklings.
Then they fell a prey to younger, hardier peoples.
living for our children. We are going to give them the best
Then, forgetful of how they became strong, they plan to take away
from their children their birthright--their opportunity to become
forced to sink or swim. Thus he learned to swim.
"We are going to give our children the best education our money can buy."
understanding, and give it to them C. O. D! They seem to think they
else send off to New York or Paris or to "Sears Roebuck," and get
maybe they will have a private pipeline of education laid to their
home. They are going to force this education into them regularly
until they get them full of education. They are going to get them
Toll the bell! There's going to be a "blow out." Those inflated
children are going to have to run on "flat tires."
do is to buy them some tools, perhaps, and open the gate and say,
acquired in a life of struggle." As well expect the athlete to give
As well expect the musician to give them the technic he has
acquired in years of practice. As well expect the scholar to give
them the ability to think he has developed in years of study. As
well expect Moses to give them his spiritual understanding acquired
The Story of "Gussie"
There was a factory town back East. Not a pretty town, but just a
The little old man often said, "I'm going to give that boy the best
He began to buy it. He began to polish and sandpaper Gussie from
He sent him to the astrologer, the phrenologer and all other
"ologers" they had around there. When Gussie was old enough to
export, he sent the boy to one of the greatest universities in the
Gussie had no chance to serve. Everything was handed to him on a
Chicago. Did you ever go over into Packingtown and see a steer
grand bump, said steer does not have to do another thing. His
goes riding thru on that endless cable from his A-B-C's to his
eternal cold storage, each professor hits him a dab. He rides along
from department to department until he is canned.
They "canned" Gussie. He had a man hired to study for him. He rode
from department to department. They upholstered him, enameled him,
the first time in its history. The hands marched down to the depot,
and when the young lord alighted, the factory band played, "See,
crape hanging on the office door. Men and women stood weeping in
Poor little peanut! He rattled. He had never grown great enough to
had a new kind of boss. If I were to give the new boss a
day. But he seemed to fatten on bumps. Every time he was bumped he
got to looking up to him to start and run things.
So when the courts were looking for somebody big enough to take charge
of the wrecked mill, they simply had to appoint Hon. William Whackem.
It was Hon. William Whackem who put the wreckage together and made
the wheels go round, and finally got the hungry town back to work.
Colleges Give Us Tools
went to one of "them highbrow schools." I am sorry to say I thought
say to the book and the college, "Give us an education." They cannot
any more than you can get to New York by reading a travelers' guide.
You cannot get physical education by reading a book on gymnastics.
furnish you finer working tools. But the real education is the
with these instruments and tools.
tools and no experience in using them. Bill was the man with the
poor, homemade, crude tools, but with the energy, vision and
poor, crude tools at their command.
graduates"--people who have never been to college nor have studied
many or any books. Yet they are educated to the degree they have
They realized how they have been handicapped by their poor mental tools.
proper preparation. Don't make my mistake, children, go to school."
machine from a few bits of junk. But send him to Westinghouse and
Get the best tools you can. But remember diplomas, degrees are not
Go out with your fine equipment from your commencements into the
The story of Gussie and Bill Whackem is being written in every
tragedy of our American civilization today.
These fathers and mothers who toil and save, who get great farms,
greatness to their children--they can make great places for them in
life and put them into them.
to grow great enough for the places. The child gets the blame for
A man heard me telling the story of Gussie and Bill Whackem, and he
his boy was not there to hear it. But that good, deluded father now
somebody does not take me aside and tell me a story just as sad
depravity. He seems never to have had a fighting chance to become
a man. He seems to have been robbed of his birthright from the
generals of the Keystone state. He could plat great coal empires
and command armies of men, but he seems to have been pitifully
But Nature's eliminating process is kind to the race in the barrel
generations from shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves.
and mother love you and give you everything you need. You get to
thinking, "I won't have to turn my hand over. Papa and mamma will
to rattle. Father and mother can be great and you can be a peanut.
You must solve your own problems and carry your own loads to have
and food in your stomach, but you cannot own it save as you digest
it--put it into your life.
I have read somewhere about a man who found a cocoon and put it in
insect struggling inside the cocoon. It was trying to get out of
killing it. He took away from it the very thing it had to have--the
that envelope that was needed to reduce its body and develop its
somewhere. Just work that gets us three meals a day and a place to
lie down to sleep, then another day of the same grind, then a year
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
But getting a vision of life, and working to grow upward to it,
enables us to travel upward.
by day for them to hatch. And sure enough, one day the eggs began
to crack and the little turkeys began to stick their heads out of
But they stuck to the shells.
"Little turkeys, I'll have to help you. I'll have to shell you by
Harry Thaw turkey. They had too many silk socks. Too many "advantages."
own obstacles to develop your own powers.
I am pleading for you to get a great arm, a great mind, a great
you to know the joy of overcoming and having the angels come and
minister to you.
Children, I am pleading with you to find happiness. All the world
work that fits your talents, and stop watching the clock and
Loving friends used to warn me against "breaking down." They scared
me into "taking care" of myself. And I got to taking such good care
of myself and watching for symptoms that I became a physical wreck.
I saved myself by getting busier. I plunged into work I love. I
a skinny, fretful, nervous wreck into a hearty, happy man. This has
been a great surprise to my friends and a great disappointment to
the undertaker. I am an editor in the daytime and a lecturer at
one round of joy, and I ought to pay people for the privilege of
speaking and writing to them instead of them paying me!
You see, I have no time nowadays to break down. I have no time to
to be "absent from the body and present with the Lord." Thus this
To worry is to doubt God.
To work at the things you love, or for those you love, is to turn
work into play and duty into privilege.
The world is trying to find happiness in being amused. The world is
for these places keep just what the people want to buy. What a lot
There are ten literary drunkards to one alcoholic drunkard. There
are a hundred amusement drunkards to one victim of strong drink.
And all just as hard to cure.
We have to have amusement, but if we fill our lives with nothing
Almost every day as I go along the street to some hall to lecture,
I hear somebody asking, "What are they going to have in the hall
tonight?"
"Going to have a lecture."
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
want to start a new party to reform the government.
jam of people, most of them imitations--most of them trying to look
white way they go chasing amusement to find happiness. They must be
amused every moment, even when they eat, or they will have to be
The Prodigal Son came to himself afterwhile and thought upon his
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
hope for the person who will not stop and think. And the devil
over to contracting another set of muscles.
Go to the bank president's office, go to the railroad magnate's
office, go to the great pulpit, to the college chair--go to any
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
ago and went to work at the bottom."
Give us steam heat and push-buttons. There is no virtue in a
that young person comes to the city and shakes in the barrel among
from the country year by year into the national arteries, else
"Hep" and "Pep" for the Home Town
But so many of the home towns of America are sick. Many are dying.
The town the young people leave is the town the young people ought
to leave. Somebody says, "The reason so many young people go to
hell is because they have no other place to go."
What is the matter with the small town? Do not blame it all upon
telephones, centralized schools, automobiles and good roads, there
are no more delightful places in the world to live than in the
country or in the small town. They have the city advantages plus
Weston, West Virginia, "You say you have nearly two thousand insane
people in this institution and only a score of guards to keep them
in. Aren't you in danger? What is to hinder these insane people
from getting together, organizing, overpowering the few guards and
could get together they wouldn't be in this asylum. They are
insane. No two of them can agree upon how to get together and how
to break out. So a few of us can hold them."
It would be almost unkind to carry this further, but I have been
thinking ever since that about three-fourths of the small towns of
get together. They cannot organize for the public good. They break
up into little antagonistic social, business and even religious
So the home towns stagnate and the young people with visions go
away to the cities where opportunity seems to beckon. Ninety-nine
opportunity right back in the home town, had the town been awake
We must make the home town the brightest, most attractive, most
promising place for the young people. No home town can afford to
coming back. That is the drain that devitalizes the home towns more
America is to be great, not in the greatness of a few crowded
cities, but in the greatness of innumerable home towns.
The slogan today should be, For God and Home and the Home Town!
Ada, Ohio, one of Ohio's greatest educators, used to say with
pride, "Our students come to school; they are not sent."
He encouraged his students to be self-supporting, and most of them
courses elastic to accommodate them. He saw the need of combining
school into competing groups, so that the student who had no
struggle in his life would at least have to struggle with the
debating societies to compete with each other. He arranged contests
that he was initiating an individual or class effort to win. The
getting new members, going every term to unbelievable efforts to
win over the others. They would go miles out on the trains to
intercept new students, even to their homes in other states. Each
companies turned the school into a military camp for weeks each
Those students went out into the world trained to struggle. I do
I believe the most useful schools today are schools of struggle
schools offering encouragement and facilities for young people to
work their way thru and to act upon their own initiative.
We are trying a new educational experiment today.
Today we are building wonderful public schools with equally
wonderful equipment. Today we are replacing the many small colleges
universities. We are spending millions upon them in laboratories,
equipment and maintenance. Today we scour the earth for specialists
to sit in the chairs and speak the last word in every department of
O, how the students of the "dark ages" would have rejoiced to see
But each student has the same definite effort to make in
assimilation today as then. Knowing and growing demand the same
equipment demanded to serve the present age. But I am more anxious
that each student come in vital touch with great men. We get life
from life, not from laboratories, and we have life more abundantly
as our lives touch greater lives.
Many a small school struggling to live thinks that all it needs is
fatty degeneration. Some schools seem to have been visited by
HOW long it takes to learn things! I think I was thirty-four years
One day a manufacturer took me thru his factory where he makes
I have had the feeling ever since that you and I come into this
world like the fiddle comes from the factory. We have a body and a
neck. That is about all there is either to us or to the fiddle. We
When the human fiddles are about six years old they go into the
fiddles think they are an orchestra right away. They want to quit
We must show these little fiddles they must go back into school and
go up thru all the departments and institutions necessary to give
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
Gussie says, "I have read it in a book." Bill Whackem says," I
Reading and Knowing
All of us are Christopher Columbuses, discovering the same new-old
life--discovering Truth. We read things in a book and have a hazy
crystallizes into a flashing jewel to delight and enrich our
There is such a difference between reading a thing and knowing a
thing. We could read a thousand descriptions of the sun and not
I used to stand in the row of blessed little rascals in the
"deestrick" school and read from McGuffey's celebrated literature,
I did not learn it. I wish I had learned by reading it that if I
play with the fire I will get my fingers burned. I had to slap my
hands upon hot stoves and coffee-pots, and had to get many kinds of
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
took me so long because I was naturally bright. It takes that kind
with a few bumps. They have to be pulverized.
That sentence takes me back to the days when I was a "hired man" on
you might not believe that I had ever trained an orphan calf to
you may remember that at the county fair all the people sort out to
their own departments. Some people go to the canned fruit
department. Some go to the fancywork department. Some go to the
swine department. Everybody goes to his own department. Even the
went--to the "trimming department."
I was in the "trimming department" in five minutes. Nobody told me
where it was. I didn't need to be told. I gravitated there. The
barrel always shakes all of one size to one place. You notice
that--in a city all of one size get together.
Right at the entrance to the "local Midway" I met a gentleman. I
became too sultry he would move to greener pastures. On that table
I had saved up my money for weeks to attend the fair. I bet it all
family to keep. But I would teach him a lesson not to "monkey" with
I went over to the other side of the fairgrounds and sat down. That
was all I had to do now--just go, sit down. I couldn't see the
mermaid now or get into the grandstand.
to learn the lesson from the bump. I said, "Next time I shall be
another gentleman drove into town. He stopped on the public square
and stood up in his buggy. "Let the prominent citizens gather
around me, for I am going to give away dollars."
diseases humanity is heir to. Now just to introduce and advertise,
wrapping a ten-dollar bill around one cake and throwing it into the
And right on top of the pile was the cake with the ten wrapped
around it! I jumped over the rest to shove my five (two weeks' farm
I grew older and people began to notice that I was naturally bright
and therefore good picking. They began to let me in on the ground
I used to have a drawer in my desk I called my "fool drawer." I
to lock up. You get the pathos of that--the investments nobody
wanted to steal. And whenever I would get unduly inflated I would
I had in that drawer the deed to my Oklahoma corner-lots. Those
lots were going to double next week. But they did not double I
I had in that drawer my deed to my rubber plantation. Did you ever
I used to wonder how I ever could spend my income. I do not wonder now.
"Everglades"? I have an alligator ranch there. It is below the
I had also a bale of mining stock. I had stock in gold mines and
silver mines. Nobody knows how much mining stock I have owned.
my gold and silver mine stock, I often noticed that it was printed
in green. I used to wonder why they printed it in green--wonder if
they wanted it to harmonize with me! And I would realize I had so
much to live for--the dividends. I have been so near the dividends
retired ministers would come periodically and sell me stock in some
was selling it on his reputation. Favorite dodge of the promoter to
get the ministers to sell his shares.
stock. That was doubling and trebling my money over night. An old
banker once said to me, "Why don't you invest in something that
savings into the bottom of the sea.
never met. His name was Thomas A. Cleage, and he was in the Rialto
rent my manly bosom as I read that letter from this man who said he
You are a natural leader and everybody looks up to you."
He knew me! He was the only man who did know me. So I took the
"Because of your tremendous influence you have been selected to go
Did you get that? I hope you did. I did not! But I took a night
I waited till next day. I sat up all night in a day coach to save
money for Tom, the friend of our family. But I see now I need not
sheep-shears ready. Lambie, lambie, lambie, come to St. Louis!
respect not my feelings. I am not going to tell you a thing that
O, I am so glad I went to St. Louis. Being naturally bright, I
could not learn it at home, back in Ohio. I had to go clear down to
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
That bump set me to thinking. My fever began to reduce. I got the
I have always regarded Tom as one of my great school teachers. I
had made up to that time, for I got the most out of it. I do not
feel hard toward goldbrick men and "blue sky" venders. I sometimes
better. You simply have to trim him till he bleeds.
It is worth eleven hundred dollars every day to know that one
sentence, You cannot get something for nothing. Life just begins to
get juicy when you know it. Today when I open a newspaper and see
a big ad, "Grasp a Fortune Now!" I will not do it! I stop my
subscription to that paper. I simply will not take a paper with
Today when somebody offers me much more than the legal rate of
Today when I get a confidential letter that starts out, "You have
been selected--" I never read farther than the word "selected."
will have to be "selected." There is no other way for you, because
selected to receive a thousand per cent. dividends," it means you
have been selected to receive this bunch of blisters because you
The other night in a little town of perhaps a thousand, a banker
took me up into his office after the lecture in which I had related
thought it very funny," said he. "I couldn't laugh. It was too
community year after year. I wish you could see what I have to see.
out of our community every year into just such wildcat enterprises
to lose it."
hundred dollars to tell you this one thing, and you get it for a
it. We only own what we have rendered definite service to bound.
have earned and stored in your life, not merely in your pocket,
stomach or mind.
I often think if it takes me thirty-four years to begin to learn
To me that is one of the great arguments for eternal life--how slowly
I learn, and how much there is to learn. It will take an eternity!
they think. This is not to sneer, but to cheer. Isn't it glorious
I love to attend commencements. The stage is so beautifully
"Beyond the Alps (sweep arms forward to the left, left arm leading)
How embarrassing at a commencement for the fingers not to follow
the wrist! It is always a shock to the audience when the wrist
them. It is a grand thing to say, "Beyond the Alps lieth Italy,"
victory beyond. It is fine to say, "We are rowing and not
Did you ever hear a young preacher, just captured, just out of a factory?
was "short-circuited." The "brethren" waited upon me and told me I had
They gave me six weeks in which to load the gospel gun and get
ready for my try-out. I certainly loaded it to the muzzle.
But I made the mistake I am trying to warn you against. Instead of
going to the one book where I might have gotten a sermon--the book
of my experience, I went to the books in my father's library. "As
the poet Shakespeare has so beautifully said," and then I took a
to the poet Tennyson." Come here, Lord Alfred. So I soldered these
fragments from the books together with my own native genius. I
worked that sermon up into the most beautiful splurges and spasms.
"cry here." This was the spilling-point of the wet climax. I was to
I committed it all to memory, and then went to a lady who taught
expression, to get it expressed. You have to get it expressed.
I got the most beautiful gestures nailed into almost every page.
life is expression. But you have to get something to express. Here
necktie, but failed to get any man to hang it upon. I got up before
a mirror for six weeks, day by day, and said the sermon to the
glass. It got so it would run itself. I could have gone to sleep
Then came the grand day. The boy wonder stood forth and before his
grandly than ever to a mirror. Every gesture went off the bat
according to the blueprint. I cried on page fourteen! I never knew
out--all nine of them. When I went out the door, the old sexton
said as he jiggled the key in the door to hurry me, "Don't feel
I cried all the way to town. If he had plunged a dagger into me he
would not have hurt me so much. It has taken some years to learn
about peeling potatoes than about anything else, write about
"Peeling Potatoes," and you are most likely to hear the applause
peal from that part of your audience unrelated to you.
do not sell enough to pay the cost of printing them. As you study
and irrigation and gargling of the throat are merely symptoms of
beautiful voice, and she has been away to "Ber-leen" to have it
attended to. She sang that afternoon in the tent, "The Last Rose of
the same tent "The Last Rose of Summer." She had never been to
All this was gall and wormwood to Jessie. "Child," I said to her,
to sing the songs you have lived."
Why do singers try to execute songs beyond the horizon of their
good fortune to be sitting at table with her I wanted to ask her,
songs the people want to sing?"
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
know what it is to be left alone in the world upon my own
discouraged and down and out. It was in my little back-room, the
only home I had, that I began to write songs. I wrote them for my
surprised and grateful that the world seems to love my songs and
No. Books of theory and harmony and expression only teach us how to
write the words and where to place the notes. These are not the
song, but only the skeleton into which our own life must breathe
face crowned with silvery hair, had learned to write her songs in
she is today. Her defeats were her victories. If Carrie Jacobs-Bond
loneliness, she never would have been able to write the songs that
appeal to the multitudes who have the same battles.
it is a tribute to the good elements in humanity that the
continue to hold their popularity.
have worthy visions but are not able to translate them into
ideas must be forged into usefulness available for this day upon
things to one person who can give you a practical way to fix them.
I used to have respect amounting to reverence for great readers and
book men. I used to know a man who could tell in what book almost
He was a remarkable man--a great reader and with a memory that
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
and the gasoline in the fire. He seemed never to have digested any
of that man as an intellectual cold storage plant.
the Book of Human Experience the "sermons in stones" and the "books
in running brooks." Most fortunate is he who has learned to read
wholesale statements we have not proved, to the cautious, specific
Many audiences are gathered into this one audience. Each person
here is a different audience, reading a different page in the Book
of Human Experience. Each has a different fight to make and a
different burden to carry. Each one of us has more trouble than
ones. You have cried yourselves to sleep, some of you, and walked
A good many of you were bumped today or yesterday, or maybe years
man talking about? I haven't had these things and I'm not going to
You are going to be bumped. You are going to cry yourselves to
sleep. You are going to walk the floor when you cannot sleep. Some
of you are going to know the keen sorrow of having the one you
You will see all that seems to make life livable lost out of your
to live for."
For all lives have about the same elements. Your life is going to
And you are going to learn the wonderful lesson thru the years, the
bumps and the tears, that all these things somehow are necessary to
soul tighter and tighter, nearer and nearer to God's great concert
and understanding come into our lives.
father being a country preacher, we had tin spoons. We never had to
several miles into the country those old reaper days and gathered
head and said, "You are the best boy to work, I ever saw." Then the
Yet I was years learning it is much easier to make money than to
the time, to save money. I think I had all teaching methods in use.
With the small fry I used a small paddle to win their confidence and
day came from all over the township. They were so glad our school
was closing they all turned out to make it a success. They brought
to literature in District No. 1, Jackson Township, that day. I can
shut my eyes and see it yet. I can see my pupils coming forward to
back of the ears! And into them! So many of them wore collars that
stood on the burning deck, whence all but he had fled." I can see
tow-headed patriot in "Give me liberty or give me death." I feel
act on the bill to say farewell. It was customary to cry. I wanted
to yell. Tomorrow I would get my money! I had a speech I had been
friends. I am going away, but I am coming back." I thought to cheer
was "such a good man" and a "pillar of the church." I used to wonder,
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
scarcely know whether to look up or down as I say that. He never
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
does to intelligently handle it afterwards. Incidentally I learned
it may be safer to do business with a first-class sinner than with
A lyceum bureau once sent me back to my home town to lecture. I
imagine most lecturers have a hard time lecturing in the home town.
Their schoolmates and playmates are apt to be down there in the
And he has gotten his lecture out of that home town. The heroes and
come to hear him. "Is not this the carpenter's son?" Perhaps this
town until several generations pass.
I went back to the same hall to speak, and stood upon the same platform
where twenty-one years before I had stood to deliver my graduating oration,
when in impassioned and well modulated tones I had exclaimed,
for I will sa-a-a-a-ave you!" or words to that effect.
Then I went back to the little hotel and sat up alone in my room
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
A class of brilliant and gifted young people went out to take
on them. They were so willing to take charge of the world. They
were going to be presidents and senators and authors and
no brilliant career in view. He was dull and seemed to lack
intellect. He was "conditioned" into the senior class. We all felt
appointed for that purpose took Jim back of the schoolhouse and
broke the news to him that they were going to let him graduate, but
they were not going to let him speak, because he couldn't make a
speech that would do credit to such a brilliant class. They hid Jim
The girl who was to become the authoress became the helloess in the
home telephone exchange, and had become absolutely indispensable to
the community. The girl who was to become the poetess became the
stamp-licking department of the home postoffice. The boy who was
going to Confess was raising the best corn in the county, and his
a lot of men working for him. The committee that took him out
behind the schoolhouse to inform him he could not speak at
commencement, would now have to wait in line before a frosted door
marked, "Mr. Lambert, Private." They would have to send up their
it short, he's busy!" before they could break any news to him
today.
stood that night.
you do not seem to learn like some in your classes can you not get
a bit of cheer from the story of Jim?
Hours pass, and still as I sat in that hotel room I was lost in
I expected to go up had shaken down and some that I expected to
Out of that fifty-four, one had gone to a pulpit, one had gone to
Congress and one had gone to the penitentiary. Some had gone to
brilliant success and some had gone down to sad failure. Some had
yet most of them seemed already to have decided their destinies.
The only changes had come where God had come into a life to uplift
it, or where Mammon had entered to pull it down. And I saw better
"the boy is father to the man."
work as a man. The boy who went to the bottom of things in school
was going to the bottom of things in manhood. Which had helped him
to go to the top of things!
The boy who traded knives with me and beat me--how I used to envy
didn't whisper, who never got into trouble, who always had his hair
combed, and said, "If you please," used to hurt me. He was the
teacher's model boy. All the mothers of the community used to say
to their own reprobate offspring, "Why can't you be like Harry?
because he hadn't the energy to be anything else. It was the boys
age I didn't pay much attention to them. I regarded them as in the
seemed like she was all out-shine and no in-shine. She mistook
But as I looked into the face of Jim Lambert in the picture, my
these years to support a home and care for her family. She had kept
the town proud of him.
I was the janitor of the schoolhouse. Some of my classmates will
carried in the coal. After commencement my career seemed to end and
the careers of Frank and the rest of them seemed to begin. They
were going off to college and going to do so many wonderful things.
But the week after commencement I had to go into a printing office,
roll up my sleeves and go to work in the "devil's corner" to earn
my daily bread. Seemed like it took so much bread!
How easy it is to see as you look backward. But how hard it is to
Twenty-one years afterward as I got off the train in the home town,
I asked, "Where is he?" We went out to the cemetery, where I stood
at a grave and read on the headstone, "Frank."
I had the story of a tragedy--the tragedy of modern unpreparedness.
It was the story of the boy who had every opportunity, but who had
It revived the memory of the story of Ben Hur.
Do you remember it? The Jewish boy is torn from his home in
disgrace. He is haled into court and tried for a crime he never
Then they condemn him. They lead him away to the galleys. They
chain him to the bench and to the oar. There follow the days and
That seems to be your life and my life. In the kitchen or the
office, or wherever we work we seem so often like slaves bound to
That one is chained to no oar. See what a fine time they all have.
they, too, pull on the oar and feel the lash. Most likely they are
forearms of Ben Hur. They swing those flying Arabians into the
Sooner or later you and I are to learn that Providence makes no
on--when we win the victory, strike the deciding blow, stand while
That is why I thanked God as I stood at the grave of my classmate.
But I am a very grateful pupil in the first reader class of The
So even the Father of Waters has to begin as a creek. We are at the
to the place where all of us get sooner or later. The place where
Paul came on the road to Damascus. The place of the "heavenly vision."
want to grow? Then you will have to go south."
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.
know that he has to go hundreds of miles south. He is only trying
to go south. He has not much water, but he does not wait for a
relative to die and bequeath him some water. That is a beautiful
thought! He has water enough to start south, and he does that.
of what it seems to me our lives should be. I hear a great many
We do not have to figure out how far we have to go, nor how many
supplies we will need along the way. All we have to do is to start
Success is not tomorrow or next year. Success is now. Success is
haven't heard it, let us keep our ear to the receiver and live a
It is a divine call--the call of our unfolding talents to be used.
The Mississippi gets to St. Paul and Minneapolis. He is a great
goes on south to St. Louis. He is a wonderful river now. But he
does not stop. He goes on south and grows 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
they stop and stagnate, they die.
schoolrooms, over the business houses and homes--GO ON SOUTH AND
knee-pants achievement, some kindergarten touchdown, succumb to
their press notices. Their friends crowd around them to congratulate
canned. They think they have gotten to the Gulf of Mexico when they
Success is so hard to endure. We can endure ten defeats better than
one victory. Success goes to the head and defeat goes to "de feet."
Civilization is mostly a conspiracy to keep us from going very far south.
The one who keeps on going south defies custom and becomes unorthodox.
The mass of the human family never go on south far enough to
smattering and squeeze into the bottom position and never go on
south to efficiency and promotion. They wonder why their genius is
think that is being a stenographer, when it is merely a symptom of
Nine out of ten workmen cannot be trusted to do what they advertise
to do, because they have never gone south far enough to become
Half of our life is spent in getting competents to repair the
if you are contented to do today just what you did yesterday.
Contented to think today what you thought yesterday.
You must go on south to be safe.
I used to know a violinist who would say, "If I were not a genius,
is the opiate that Nature administers to deaden the pains of mediocrity.
Just because our hair gets frosty or begins to rub off in spots, we
are so prone to say, "I am aging rapidly." It pays to advertise. We
so far, and tomorrow is going to be better on south.
best. I hope he says, "I am just beginning. Just beginning to
understand. Just beginning to know about life."
We are not going on south to old age, we are going on south to
eternal youth. It is the one who stops who "ages rapidly." Each day
first reader hair will pass and you'll get promoted as you go on south.
to employ gray-headed men? They have found that so many of them
These same corporations send out Pinkertons and pay any price for
person in the pulpit, in the schoolroom, in the office, behind the
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
lecture a good while. I am almost ashamed to tell you how long, for
I ought to know more about it by this time. But when anybody says,
"I heard you lecture twenty years ago over at----" I stop him.
"Please don't throw it up to me now. I am just as ashamed of it as
you are. I am trying to do better now."
O, I want to forget all the past, save its lessons. I am just
beginning to live. If anybody wants to be my best friend, let him
come to me and tell me how to improve--what to do and what not to
do. Tell me how to give a better lecture.
Years ago a bureau representative who booked me told me my lectures
were good enough. I told him I wanted to get better lectures, for
I was so dissatisfied with what little I knew. He told me I could
the "limit." I shiver as I think what I was saying then. I want to
were not trying to improve them, and were lost in admiration of
have a new birth. The days when we go on south to larger visions.
Some people seem to string out to near a hundred years with mighty
few birthdays. Some people spin up to Methuselahs in a few years.
From what I can learn of Methuselah, he never grew past copper-toed
years are nothing to me."
Senator Henry Gassaway Davis, West Virginia's Grand Old Man, at
at ninety-two--just a short time before his passing--he went out to
the home was a row of old men inmates. The senator shook hands with
these men and one by one they rose from the bench to return his
the senator and said, "Senator, you'll have to excuse me from
getting up. I'm too old. When you get as old as I am, you'll not
"Senator, I'm old in body and old in spirit. I'm past sixty."
"My boy," laughed Senator Davis, "I was an Odd Fellow before
The senator at ninety-two was younger than the man "past sixty,"
Mr. Edison invented into the meeting at Lakeside, Ohio. The people
You would laugh at it today. It had a tinfoil cylinder, it
screeched and stuttered. You would not have it in your barn today
to play to your ford!
Thomas Alva Edison. He had gotten to St. Paul, and he went on
south. A million people would have stopped there and said, "I have
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
other day, and she wrote me that the great inventor showed her one
the face of seven thousand failures. Today he brings forth a
to this platform and ask him, "Have you succeeded?" he would say
what he has said to reporters and what he said to the young lady,
me how much there is yet to do."
started south. It took him eighty years to get ready. Moses did not
eighty. He went on south into the extra editions after that!
If Moses had retired to a checkerboard in the grocery store or to
Imagine Moses living today amidst the din of the high school
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.
I think I would hear Moses say, "No, no, I am just beginning to see
what to do. Watch things happen from now on. Children of
"Well, he ought to be dead, for he is old enough."
They appoint a committee to bury Moses. You cannot do anything in
Thursday. They get ready the resolutions of respect--
to General Moses' private office. It is his busy day. They have to
stand in line and wait their turn. When they get up to Moses' desk,
The committee begins to weep. "General Moses, you are a very old
committee duly authorized to give you gorgeous burial. The funeral
is to be next Thursday. Kindly die."
who is too busy to attend his own funeral! You cannot bury anybody
to hold that funeral until I get this work pushed off so I can
attend it. I haven't even time to think about getting old."
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.
irreverence. It is joyful reverence. It is the message to all of
us, Go on south to the greater things, and get so enthused and
They were afraid to go on south. Only two of them went on south--
The Indians once owned America. But they failed to go on south.
So another crop of Americans came into the limelight. If we modern
They generally discover the world is "going to the dogs." They cry
not time to look back and see how anybody uses him.
Wake up! Your clock has run down. Anybody who wants to be a child
the horrors of childhood could not be hired to live it over again.
my chances living it thru again. I am not ungrateful to my parents.
about all there was to inherit. I cannot remember when I was not
hungry. I used to go around feeling like the Mammoth Cave, never
children going sadly into the next room to "wait till the second
that my heart does not go out to them. I remember when I did that.
to get to stay for dinner I ever saw.
Mother would stay home from "quart'ly meeting" to get the big
dinner ready. She would cook up about all the "brethren" brought in
and mother would stretch it clear across the room and put on two
I would watch her get the big dinner ready. I would look over the
jelly tremble? I used to think it ought to tremble, for Elder Berry
I would see mother put on the tallest pile of mashed potatoes you
ever saw. She would make a hollow in the top and fill it with
would say, "Hurry, mother, it is going to spill!" O, how I wanted
to spill it! I could hardly hold out faithful.
nearest the fried chicken. The "company" would sit down. I used to
"company" had to come and gobble it up. They would fill the table
me to sit. Father would say, "You go into the next room, my boy,
and wait. There's no room for you at the table."
The hungriest one of that assemblage would have to go in the next
room and hear the big dinner. Did you ever hear a big dinner when
you felt like the Mammoth Cave? I used to think as I would sit in
the next room that heaven would be a place where everybody would
to another piece of the chicken?"
Many a time after that, Elder Berry would come into the room where
boy?" He would come over to the remains of Brother Parlette's boy.
He would say, "My boy, I want you to have a good time now." Now!
and today is the best day of all. Go on south!
Afterwhile this old world gets too small for us and we go on south
into a larger one.
So we cannot grow old. Our life never stops. It goes on and on
forever. Anything that does not stop cannot grow old or have age.
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
I am not worried today over what I do not know. I used to be
worried. I used to say, "I have not time to answer you now!" But
today it is such a relief to look people in the face and say,
And I have to say that to many questions, "I do not know." I often
would not stay to hear me.
day brings the answer to something I could not answer yesterday.
It will take an eternity to know an infinity!
What a wonderful happiness to go on south to it!
Go to Keokuk, Iowa, for your answer.
power to vitalize the valley. A hundred towns and cities radiate
many miles away, throbs with the victory.
So that is why they spent the millions to build the obstacle--to
the river, but it took the obstacle and the overcoming to develop
And where the most obstacles are, there you find the most power to
of light and power in you to be developed. If you see no obstacles,
you are confessing to blindness.
shall have no more obstacles to overcome!" When that time comes,
along the street in almost any town and see the dead ones. There
they are decorating the hitching-racks and festooning the
storeboxes. There they are blocking traffic at the postoffice and
have quit work and moved to town to block improvements and die. But
Usually the deadest loafer is married to the livest woman. Nature
tries to maintain an equilibrium.
trying to go on south. They say of the people trying to do things.
"Aw, he's always tryin' to run things."
They do not join in to promote the churches and schools and big
because they "take money outa town." They do not take any of their
money "outa town." Ringling and Barnum & Bailey get theirs.
I do not smile as I refer to the dead. I weep. I wish I could
squirt some "pep" into them and start them on south.
But all this lecture has been discussing this, so I hurry on to the
Here we come to the most wonderful and difficult thing in life. It
its foul, muddy, poisonous streams back upon the Mississippi to
all the prosperity they have, gives them power to turn their mills.
benefactor.
does not say, "I am not appreciated. My genius is not understood.
I am not going a step farther south. I am going right back to Lake
Itasca." No, he does not even go to live with his father-in-law.
Civilization conspires to defeat the Mississippi. Chicago's
those streams that unite to form the treacherous, sinful,
the Red, the black and the blue floods--all these pour into the
us, that sometimes we are bank to bank full of poison and a menace
to those around us. We say, "I can forgive, but I cannot forget."
sweet again. We forget what we ought to remember and remember what
we ought to forget. We need schools of memory, but we need schools
Don't wait to be thanked. Hurry on to avoid the kick! Do good to
others because that is the way to be happy, but do not wait for a
There is nobody who does not have that to meet. The preacher, the
teacher, the editor, the man in office, the business man, the
father and mother--every one who tries to carry on the work of the
We fail to see what we are doing or why we are doing it. Sometimes
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
it to live. You do it to remain a living river and not a stagnant,
ourselves that we are working to do good, when as we do the good,
us a medal or resolutions, we want to quit. That is why there are
for outside thanks instead of inside thanks. They were trying to
O, how easy it is to say these things, and how hard it is to do them!
was riding stopped in Louisiana. We had come to a river so great
science has not yet been able to put a bridge across it.
ferry-boat, I could look down into the lordly river and then far
north perhaps fifteen hundred miles to the little struggling
knocks, and saw that you never stopped going southward.
And may we read it into our own lives. May we get the vision of
which way to go, and then keep on going south--on and on, overcoming,
Where shall we stop going south? At the Gulf of Mexico?
until he reaches the gulf. Then he pushes right on into the gulf as
many miles right out into the gulf.
And when he comes to the end of his physical banks, he pushes on
south into the gulf, and goes on south round and round the globe.
When you and I come to our Gulf of Mexico, we must push right on
south. So we push our physical banks years farther into the gulf.
into the great Gulf of the Beyond, to go on south unfolding thru eternity.
WE NEVER STOP GOING SOUTH.
The Defeats that are Victories
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
money with the least injury to the race!
itself and the tabby cat has its million. So the tabby cat has to
be doctored by specialists.
If the burden were lifted from most of us we would go to wreck.
When you hear the orator speak and you note the ease and power of
preparing? Do you ever think of the times that orator tried to
speak when he failed and went back to his room in disgrace,
necessary to produce that finish and grace? That is the story of
the actor, the author and every other one of attainment.
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
handwriting upon the wall to save him.
You have to shoot many men's eyes out before they can see. You have
to crack their heads before they can think, knock them down before
Do you remember that they had to lock John Bunyan in Bedford jail
that some of us will have to go to jail to do our best work.
blind before writing "Paradise Lost" the world will always read?
to be blinded before he could see the way to real success. He had
to be scourged and fettered to become the Apostle to the Gentiles.
He, too, had to be sent to prison to write his immortal messages to
humanity. What throne-rooms are some prisons! And what prisons are
some throne-rooms!
relatives and friends say, "Success to you!" I shall take your hand
and say, "Defeat to you! And struggles to you! And bumps to you!"
For that is the only way to say, "Success to you!"
O UNIVERSITY OF HARD KNOCKS, we learn to love you more with each
passing year. We learn that you are cruel only to be kind. We learn
be bumped to see this!
I know no better way to close this lecture than to tell you of a
why I was living. I thought I had nothing more to live for. When a
dog is wounded he crawls away alone to lick his wounds. I felt like
the wounded dog. I wanted to crawl away to lick my wounds.
That is why I climbed Mount Lowe that day. I wanted to get alone.
It is a wonderful experience to climb Mount Lowe. The tourists go
up half a mile into Rubio Canyon, to the engineering miracle, the
hundred feet up the side of a granite cliff, to the top of Echo Mountain.
towards the sky. There is hardly a straight rail in the track.
There are places where the tourist wants to grasp his seat and
lift. There is a wooden shelf nailed to the side of the perpendicular
He looks over the edge of the shelf downward, and then turns to the other
side to look at the face of the cliff they are hugging, and discovers
there is no place to resign!
The car is five thousand feet high where it stops on that last shelf,
upward from Alpine Tavern to the summit. It is three miles long
To go up that last eleven hundred feet and stand upon the flat rock
at the summit of Mount Lowe is to get a picture so wonderful it
feet, more than a mile, into the orange belt of Southern California.
It spreads out below in one great mosaic of turquoise and amber
Just below is Pasadena and Los Angeles. To the westward perhaps
one could throw a pebble over into it. How a mountain does reduce
distances. You throw the pebble and it falls upon your toes!
The granite mountains rise higher to the northward, and to the east
All alone I scrambled up that three-mile trail to the summit. All
alone I stood upon the flat rock at the summit and looked down into
the swimming distances. I did not know why I had struggled up into
valley below, and dully watched the clouds spread wider and blacker.
A great light seemed to break over my stormswept soul. I am under
the clouds of trouble today, BUT THE SUN IS SHINING!
I must go on up the mountain to see it.
The years have been passing, the stormclouds have many times hidden
matter how black and sunless today, when I have struggled on up the
struggles fit into a divine engineering plan to soften the
so important down in the smudgy, stormswept valley, seem so
unimportant as we go higher up the mountain to more important
Today I look back to the bump that sent me up Mount Lowe. I did not
gate, but it opened another gate to a better pathway up the mountain.
the valley below me I saw shadows. Then I looked over into the
where I stood. I was farther up the mountain. I turned and looked
up to the summit. The beams of the setting sun were yet gilding
day on the mountain top!
Child of humanity, are you in the storm? Go on upward. Are you in
For the peace and the light are always above the storm and the
I am going on upward. Take my hand and let us go together. Mount Lowe
showed the way that dark day. There I heard the "sermons in stones."
Some day my night will come. It will spread over all this valley of
material things where the storms have raged.
But I shall be on the mountain top. I shall look down upon the
night, as I am learning to climb and look down upon the storms. I
shall be in the new day of the mountain-top, forever above the night.
I shall find this mountain-top just another shelf on the side of
the first mile. I shall have millions of miles yet to rise.
entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared
We are not growing old. We are going up to Eternal Life.
Turning work Into Play
happiness now in our work, and not tomorrow for our work.
"It is a great big boost for everybody who will read it. People
ought to buy them by the gross and send them to their friends."
"The Big Business of Life is a real joy to read. It is big and
ought to be read today and tomorrow and forevermore every
that it is everyone's business to abolish work and turn this
world into a playground. Who will not confess that many
mortals take their work too seriously, and that to them it is a
joyless, cheerless thing? To be able to find happiness, and to
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
a world of good to learn. It recalls the saying of the wise man
Many who have read The Big Business of Life
mighty hard to beat.
It's Up To You!
The Best is Yet to Come
These booklets by Ralph Parlette are short stories adapted from
bought 1000 copies of the booklet "It's Up to You!" and of it he
says. "Parlette's Beans and Nuts is just as good as the Message to
to business men, to young fellows, bond salesmen and such, to our
own vice president, and they all want another copy to send to some
Up to You!" for their workers.
one of the great stories of the day."
Charles Grilk of Davenport, says: "My two children and I read the
Mississippi River story together and we were thoroly delighted."
Instruct us to send one of these booklets to your friends. It will
Room to Read
[Links] > Room to Read's mission is to provide under-privileged children with an opportunity to gain the lifelong gift of education. It was founded on the belief that education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty and taking control of one’s own life. We currently focus our efforts on Nepal and Vietnam, countries with a desperate lack of resources to educate their children.
http://www.roomtoread.org/
John Wood
Founder, President and Enthusiastic Volunteer, [Room to Read]
http://www.roomtoread.org/management.html
Detachment
...Detachment means separating ourselves from all the tensions of the day - from worries about work, leisure, and personal life; from the news, from sports, from headaches over practical problems, from the distractions of tomorrow's plans. It means standing before God in silence so that we can perceive his working in our hearts...Here I would like to emphasize the significance of the subconscious and remind the reader that the cause of an attack by an evil spirit is often found there. With this in mind, it should be obvious how important it is to find detachment every evening before falling asleep. Whatever we give room to in our heart may work on in us all night long...
Poorvabhashi
While returning to his room the Master
to another first. As soon as you see someone beside you, you should
talk to him first, instead of expecting him to talk to you first. You
should talk to him in an intimate manner as though he is already known
to you.
practise Poorva-Namaskar--that is, doing Namaskar to others before they
do to you. You should know these techniques of winning the hearts of
20050114
complications related to diabetes. Swamiji's mortal remains were
returned to the ashram in the evening. The schedule of ceremonies has
Hinduism Today honoring him as "Hindu of the Year." In announcing that
award, the following article recounting Swamiji's life story was
published in the October, 2003, issue of Hinduism Today and is
A photo of Mahaswamigal is available
was dedicated. Commuting to this temple was a demanding task in those
Mother beckoning. Word spread about the power of Goddess Rajarajeswari
Mahaswamigal, popularly known as Tiruchi Swami. Hinduism Today is proud
to honor him with the Hindu Renaissance Award as Hindu of the Year
highly-placed spiritual leaders come to him for advice in difficult
casual devotees able to sense Her blessings radiating from him. He has
inspired devotees in many countries during his tours of North America
abode of Sri Tiruchi Mahaswamigal. A huge township now surrounds the
temple--it is even named Sri Rajarajeshwari Nagar. Well connected today
to various parts of the city by public transport, real estate values in
the township have skyrocketed.
presence brings peace and serenity to the mind. He infuses confidence.
Last year, rains failed in Karnataka. The state was under pressure to
release reservoir water to its neighbor and there was political unrest.
on foot) to propitiate the rain Gods. He started his journey after
One ashram devotee, a jeweler, told me, "I've been visiting the ashram
for the last 28 years. A lot of good things have come to us with the
to Maddur (60 miles from Bangalore) and, en route, I stopped to seek
Swamiji's blessings. He warned me to drive carefully. Within an hour, a
dedication. Some have stayed back to serve Kailasa Ashrama, and some
Sri Tiruchi Mahaswamigal was destined to be a monk. While traveling in
Subramanya, a glorious son will be born to you. He will be a teacher
and benefactor for all mankind." Born in 1929, young Palaniswami was
drawn to religious life right from his childhood. While in his
twenties, he traveled to Nepal and was initiated as Jagadguru Sri
Sri Tiruchi Mahaswamigal was ordained by his guru, Shivapuri Baba, to
return to India, propagate dharma and build a temple. Before returning,
Swamiji went to Mount Kailash. There, he had a vision of Goddesses
Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati, who told him, "Proceed south and
inspiration to start the ashram and temple near Bangalore.
A devotee approaching Kailasa Ashrama passes through two towering,
Yantra Shrine, spans a full six city blocks. To the left, a three-story
assembly hall, constructed to accommodate thousands during major
monastery complex, adobe shrines to Ganesha and Muniswara stand in a
yards, the impressive Devi Hall, the main monastery building, towers up
four stories, a pastel pink jewel in the tropical sun. To the right of
Devi Hall, a newly-constructed kitchen and dining room sparkle with
fresh paint. To the left, Trichyswami's ever-so-simple personal
flowers. It is in the front room of this unimposing dwelling that the
swami greets guests, who sit on the cool stone floor as he gives
students in a dormitory-style pathasala.
"Kuteeram, " Sri Swamiji is a man of few words. In this room, perhaps
indulging in worldly affairs and refuses to comment on matters of
their troubles. Every morning, if his health permits, Swamiji tours the
of questions posed by Hinduism Today:
HT: Why should we go to temples?
congregational get-together. At a temple, inspiration is more, and
celebration. One has to celebrate life and not lead a mechanical life.
HT: What is Swami's advice for the young people of today?
can see it in the ashram, everyone has to work. In earlier days, one
person had to stand at the main entrance of the ashram and shout three
times, "There is no place for lazy people in Kailash Ashram." Total
more money is necessary, the feeling that another person will have to
work will come. If wants are reduced, automatically the earning will be
will reduce their wants and automatically create a cordial atmosphere
anywhere. A person should be free to choose his own path." As far as
HT: Please speak to the Hindu world about the importance of an order
Swamiji: An order of monks has to be according to the traditions and
customs of the community. The main intention in propagating dharma is
to propagate virtuous living. We should consider the individual way of
life. One aspect of dharma to one person may not be applicable to the
other. It has to be coupled with the way of life. Disciples of Kailasa
experiments to develop medical cures. What are the moral implications?
so also is old age, disease and death. We have to accept what is
inevitable and not go out of the way to protect this frail body, which
is definitely perishable. We have to allow it to go according to the
dictates of nature and find happiness there. I am totally against this
We will do great service to nature in allowing it to maintain the
HT: What motivated you towards sannyas? As an only child, how did
parents react to your decision?
Swamiji: From childhood I had listened so much to the saints, I was
convinced that loka seva, service to humanity, is the greatest purpose
of life. That is why I took sannyas. If I was a grihastha (married
person), I may not have been able to do this. When we are holding a pot
what happens to the pot. The fingers have to be protected. Similarly, I
HT: More and more children are unhesitatingly sending their parents to
hand over the responsibilities and go to the forest--vanaprastha
ashrama. As recently as fifty years ago, too, people went away on
pilgrimage, handing over responsibility to the son once he came of age.
However, today parents do neither. Even when the son is old enough to
Rutger Kortenhorst
He took a year off and stayed in 'Aksharam', Veda Vijnana Gurukulam, Aurobindo Ashram etc. to learn Samskritam, Vedanta etc.
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).
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.
Top teeth
Then there is the sheer beauty of the Sanskrit script as we learn it today. [Some examples on the board]
You may well say: ‘Fine, but so why should my son or daughter have yet another subject and another script to learn in their already busy school-day?’ In what way will he or she benefit from the study of Sanskrit in 2010 in the Western world?
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.
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.
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.”
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.
7. Do not teach grammatical terms. Just as we don’t need to know about the carburettor, when we learn to drive a car.
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.
9. Language learning must be playful. Use drama, song, computer games and other tricks to make learning enjoyable.
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:
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 cleans and loosens your tongue so you can pronounce any language easily.
It gives you access to a vast and liberating literature.
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.
LifeWithoutPrinciple
AT A LYCEUM, not long since, I felt that the lecturer had chosen a theme too foreign to himself, and so failed to interest me as much as he might have done. He described things not in or near to his heart, but toward his extremities and superficies. There was, in this sense, no truly central or centralizing thought in the lecture. I would have had him deal with his privatest experience, as the poet does. The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer. I am surprised, as well as delighted, when this happens, it is such a rare use he would make of me, as if he were acquainted with the tool. Commonly, if men want anything of me, it is only to know how many acres I make of their land- since I am a surveyor- or, at most, what trivial news I have burdened myself with. They never will go to law for my meat; they prefer the shell. A man once came a considerable distance to ask me to lecture on Slavery; but on conversing with him, I found that he and his clique expected seven eighths of the lecture to be theirs, and only one eighth mine; so I declined. I take it for granted, when I am invited to lecture anywhere- for I have had a little experience in that business- that there is a desire to hear what I think on some subject, though I may be the greatest fool in the country- and not that I should say pleasant things merely, or such as the audience will assent to; and I resolve, accordingly, that I will give them a strong dose of myself. They have sent for me, and engaged to pay for me, and I am determined that they shall have me, though I bore them beyond all precedent.
So now I would say something similar to you, my readers. Since you are my readers, and I have not been much of a traveller, I will not talk about people a thousand miles off, but come as near home as I can. As the time is short, I will leave out all the flattery, and retain all the criticism.
This world is a place of business. What an infinite bustle! I am awaked almost every night by the panting of the locomotive. It interrupts my dreams. There is no sabbath. It would be glorious to see mankind at leisure for once. It is nothing but work, work, work. I cannot easily buy a blank-book to write thoughts in; they are commonly ruled for dollars and cents. An Irishman, seeing me making a minute in the fields, took it for granted that I was calculating my wages. If a man was tossed out of a window when an infant, and so made a cripple for life, or seared out of his wits by the Indians, it is regretted chiefly because he was thus incapacitated for business! I think that there is nothing, not even crime, more opposed to poetry, to philosophy, ay, to life itself, than this incessant business.
There is a coarse and boisterous money-making fellow in the outskirts of our town, who is going to build a bank-wall under the hill along the edge of his meadow. The powers have put this into his head to keep him out of mischief, and he wishes me to spend three weeks digging there with him. The result will be that he will perhaps get some more money to board, and leave for his heirs to spend foolishly. If I do this, most will commend me as an industrious and hard-working man; but if I choose to devote myself to certain labors which yield more real profit, though but little money, they may be inclined to look on me as an idler. Nevertheless, as I do not need the police of meaningless labor to regulate me, and do not see anything absolutely praiseworthy in this fellow's undertaking any more than in many an enterprise of our own or foreign governments, however amusing it may be to him or them, I prefer to finish my education at a different school.
If a man walk in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer; but if he spends his whole day as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making earth bald before her time, he is esteemed an industrious and enterprising citizen. As if a town had no interest in its forests but to cut them down!
Most men would feel insulted if it were proposed to employ them in throwing stones over a wall, and then in throwing them back, merely that they might earn their wages. But many are no more worthily employed now. For instance: just after sunrise, one summer morning, I noticed one of my neighbors walking beside his team, which was slowly drawing a heavy hewn stone swung under the axle, surrounded by an atmosphere of industry- his day's work begun- his brow commenced to sweat- a reproach to all sluggards and idlers- pausing abreast the shoulders of his oxen, and half turning round with a flourish of his merciful whip, while they gained their length on him. And I thought, Such is the labor which the American Congress exists to protect- honest, manly toil- honest as the day is long- that makes his bread taste sweet, and keeps society sweet- which all men respect and have consecrated; one of the sacred band, doing the needful but irksome drudgery. Indeed, I felt a slight reproach, because I observed this from a window, and was not abroad and stirring about a similar business. The day went by, and at evening I passed the yard of another neighbor, who keeps many servants, and spends much money foolishly, while he adds nothing to the common stock, and there I saw the stone of the morning lying beside a whimsical structure intended to adorn this Lord Timothy Dexter's premises, and the dignity forthwith departed from the teamster's labor, in my eyes. In my opinion, the sun was made to light worthier toil than this. I may add that his employer has since run off, in debt to a good part of the town, and, after passing through Chancery, has settled somewhere else, there to become once more a patron of the arts.
The ways by which you may get money almost without exception lead downward. To have done anything by which you earned money merely is to have been truly idle or worse. If the laborer gets no more than the wages which his employer pays him, he is cheated, he cheats himself. If you would get money as a writer or lecturer, you must be popular, which is to go down perpendicularly. Those services which the community will most readily pay for, it is most disagreeable to render. You are paid for being something less than a man. The State does not commonly reward a genius any more wisely. Even the poet laureate would rather not have to celebrate the accidents of royalty. He must be bribed with a pipe of wine; and perhaps another poet is called away from his muse to gauge that very pipe. As for my own business, even that kind of surveying which I could do with most satisfaction my employers do not want. They would prefer that I should do my work coarsely and not too well, ay, not well enough. When I observe that there are different ways of surveying, my employer commonly asks which will give him the most land, not which is most correct. I once invented a rule for measuring cord-wood, and tried to introduce it in Boston; but the measurer there told me that the sellers did not wish to have their wood measured correctly- that he was already too accurate for them, and therefore they commonly got their wood measured in Charlestown before crossing the bridge.
The aim of the laborer should be, not to get his living, to get "a good job," but to perform well a certain work; and, even in a pecuniary sense, it would be economy for a town to pay its laborers so well that they would not feel that they were working for low ends, as for a livelihood merely, but for scientific, or even moral ends. Do not hire a man who does your work for money, but him who does it for love of it.
It is remarkable that there are few men so well employed, so much to their minds, but that a little money or fame would commonly buy them off from their present pursuit. I see advertisements for active young men, as if activity were the whole of a young man's capital. Yet I have been surprised when one has with confidence proposed to me, a grown man, to embark in some enterprise of his, as if I had absolutely nothing to do, my life having been a complete failure hitherto. What a doubtful compliment this to pay me! As if he had met me half-way across the ocean beating up against the wind, but bound nowhere, and proposed to me to go along with him! If I did, what do you think the underwriters would say? No, no! I am not without employment at this stage of the voyage. To tell the truth, I saw an advertisement for able-bodied seamen, when I was a boy, sauntering in my native port, and as soon as I came of age I embarked.
The community has no bribe that will tempt a wise man. You may raise money enough to tunnel a mountain, but you cannot raise money enough to hire a man who is minding his own business. An efficient and valuable man does what he can, whether the community pay him for it or not. The inefficient offer their inefficiency to the highest bidder, and are forever expecting to be put into office. One would suppose that they were rarely disappointed.
Perhaps I am more than usually jealous with respect to my freedom. I feel that my connection with and obligation to society are still very slight and transient. Those slight labors which afford me a livelihood, and by which it is allowed that I am to some extent serviceable to my contemporaries, are as yet commonly a pleasure to me, and I am not often reminded that they are a necessity. So far I am successful. But I foresee that if my wants should be much increased, the labor required to supply them would become a drudgery. If I should sell both my forenoons and afternoons to society, as most appear to do, I am sure that for me there would be nothing left worth living for. I trust that I shall never thus sell my birthright for a mess of pottage. I wish to suggest that a man may be very industrious, and yet not spend his time well. There is no more fatal blunderer than he who consumes the greater part of his life getting his living. All great enterprises are self-supporting. The poet, for instance, must sustain his body by his poetry, as a steam planing-mill feeds its boilers with the shavings it makes. You must get your living by loving. But as it is said of the merchants that ninety-seven in a hundred fail, so the life of men generally, tried by this standard, is a failure, and bankruptcy may be surely prophesied.
Merely to come into the world the heir of a fortune is not to be born, but to be still-born, rather. To be supported by the charity of friends, or a government pension- provided you continue to breathe- by whatever fine synonyms you describe these relations, is to go into the almshouse. On Sundays the poor debtor goes to church to take an account of stock, and finds, of course, that his outgoes have been greater than his income. In the Catholic Church, especially, they go into chancery, make a clean confession, give up all, and think to start again. Thus men will lie on their backs, talking about the fall of man, and never make an effort to get up.
As for the comparative demand which men make on life, it is an important difference between two, that the one is satisfied with a level success, that his marks can all be hit by point-blank shots, but the other, however low and unsuccessful his life may be, constantly elevates his aim, though at a very slight angle to the horizon. I should much rather be the last man- though, as the Orientals say, "Greatness doth not approach him who is forever looking down; and all those who are looking high are growing poor."
It is remarkable that there is little or nothing to be remembered written on the subject of getting a living; how to make getting a living not merely holiest and honorable, but altogether inviting and glorious; for if getting a living is not so, then living is not. One would think, from looking at literature, that this question had never disturbed a solitary individual's musings. Is it that men are too much disgusted with their experience to speak of it? The lesson of value which money teaches, which the Author of the Universe has taken so much pains to teach us, we are inclined to skip altogether. As for the means of living, it is wonderful how indifferent men of all classes are about it, even reformers, so called- whether they inherit, or earn, or steal it. I think that Society has done nothing for us in this respect, or at least has undone what she has done. Cold and hunger seem more friendly to my nature than those methods which men have adopted and advise to ward them off.
The title wise is, for the most part, falsely applied. How can one be a wise man, if he does not know any better how to live than other men?- if he is only more cunning and intellectually subtle? Does Wisdom work in a tread-mill? or does she teach how to succeed by her example? Is there any such thing as wisdom not applied to life? Is she merely the miller who grinds the finest logic? It is pertinent to ask if Plato got his living in a better way or more successfully than his contemporaries- or did he succumb to the difficulties of life like other men? Did he seem to prevail over some of them merely by indifference, or by assuming grand airs? or find it easier to live, because his aunt remembered him in her will? The ways in which most men get their living, that is, live, are mere makeshifts, and a shirking of the real business of life- chiefly because they do not know, but partly because they do not mean, any better.
The rush to California, for instance, and the attitude, not merely of merchants, but of philosophers and prophets, so called, in relation to it, reflect the greatest disgrace on mankind. That so many are ready to live by luck, and so get the means of commanding the labor of others less lucky, without contributing any value to society! And that is called enterprise! I know of no more startling development of the immorality of trade, and all the common modes of getting a living. The philosophy and poetry and religion of such a mankind are not worth the dust of a puffball. The hog that gets his living by rooting, stirring up the soil so, would be ashamed of such company. If I could command the wealth of all the worlds by lifting my finger, I would not pay such a price for it. Even Mahomet knew that God did not make this world in jest. It makes God to be a moneyed gentleman who scatters a handful of pennies in order to see mankind scramble for them. The world's raffle! A subsistence in the domains of Nature a thing to be raffled for! What a comment, what a satire, on our institutions! The conclusion will be, that mankind will hang itself upon a tree. And have all the precepts in all the Bibles taught men only this? and is the last and most admirable invention of the human race only an improved muck-rake? Is this the ground on which Orientals and Occidentals meet? Did God direct us so to get our living, digging where we never planted- and He would, perchance, reward us with lumps of gold?
God gave the righteous man a certificate entitling him to food and raiment, but the unrighteous man found a facsimile of the same in God's coffers, and appropriated it, and obtained food and raiment like the former. It is one of the most extensive systems of counterfeiting that the world has seen. I did not know that mankind was suffering for want of old. I have seen a little of it. I know that it is very malleable, but not so malleable as wit. A grain of gold gild a great surface, but not so much as a grain of wisdom.
The gold-digger in the ravines of the mountains is as much a gambler as his fellow in the saloons of San Francisco. What difference does it make whether you shake dirt or shake dice? If you win, society is the loser. The gold-digger is the enemy of the honest laborer, whatever checks and compensations there may be. It is not enough to tell me that you worked hard to get your gold. So does the Devil work hard. The way of transgressors may be hard in many respects. The humblest observer who goes to the mines sees and says that gold-digging is of the character of a lottery; the gold thus obtained is not the same same thing with the wages of honest toil. But, practically, he forgets what he has seen, for he has seen only the fact, not the principle, and goes into trade there, that is, buys a ticket in what commonly proves another lottery, where the fact is not so obvious.
After reading Howitt's account of the Australian gold-diggings one evening, I had in my mind's eye, all night, the numerous valleys, with their streams, all cut up with foul pits, from ten to one hundred feet deep, and half a dozen feet across, as close as they can be dug, and partly filled with water- the locality to which men furiously rush to probe for their fortunes- uncertain where they shall break ground- not knowing but the gold is under their camp itself- sometimes digging one hundred and sixty feet before they strike the vein, or then missing it by a foot- turned into demons, and regardless of each others' rights, in their thirst for riches- whole valleys, for thirty miles, suddenly honeycombed by the pits of the miners, so that even hundreds are drowned in them- standing in water, and covered with mud and clay, they work night and day, dying of exposure and disease. Having read this, and partly forgotten it, I was thinking, accidentally, of my own unsatisfactory life, doing as others do; and with that vision of the diggings still before me, I asked myself why I might not be washing some gold daily, though it were only the finest particles- why I might not sink a shaft down to the gold within me, and work that mine. There is a Ballarat, a Bendigo for you- what though it were a sulky-gully? At any rate, I might pursue some path, however solitary and narrow and crooked, in which I could walk with love and reverence. Wherever a man separates from the multitude, and goes his own way in this mood, there indeed is a fork in the road, though ordinary travellers may see only a gap in the paling. His solitary path across lots will turn out the higher way of the two.
Men rush to California and Australia as if the true gold were to be found in that direction; but that is to go to the very opposite extreme to where it lies. They go prospecting farther and farther away from the true lead, and are most unfortunate when they think themselves most successful. Is not our native soil auriferous? Does not a stream from the golden mountains flow through our native valley? and has not this for more than geologic ages been bringing down the shining particles and forming the nuggets for us? Yet, strange to tell, if a digger steal away, prospecting for this true gold, into the unexplored solitudes around us, there is no danger that any will dog his steps, and endeavor to supplant him. He may claim and undermine the whole valley even, both the cultivated and the uncultivated portions, his whole life long in peace, for no one will ever dispute his claim. They will not mind his cradles or his toms. He is not confined to a claim twelve feet square, as at Ballarat, but may mine anywhere, and wash the whole wide world in his tom.
Howitt says of the man who found the great nugget which weighed twenty-eight pounds, at the Bendigo diggings in Australia: "He soon began to drink; got a horse, and rode all about, generally at full gallop, and, when he met people, called out to inquire if they knew who he was, and then kindly informed them that he was 'the bloody wretch that had found the nugget.' At last he rode full speed against a tree, and nearly knocked his brains out." I think, however, there was no danger of that, for he had already knocked his brains out against the nugget. Howitt adds, "He is a hopelessly ruined man." But he is a type of the class. They are all fast men. Hear some of the names of the places where they dig: "Jackass Flat"- "Sheep's-Head Gully"- "Murderer's Bar," etc. Is there no satire in these names? Let them carry their ill-gotten wealth where they will, I am thinking it will still be "Jackass Flat," if not "Murderer's Bar," where they live.
The last resource of our energy has been the robbing of graveyards on the Isthmus of Darien, an enterprise which appears to be but in its infancy; for, according to late accounts, an act has passed its second reading in the legislature of New Granada, regulating this kind of mining; and a correspondent of the "Tribune" writes: "In the dry season, when the weather will permit of the country being properly prospected, no doubt other rich guacas [that is, graveyards] will be found." To emigrants he says: "do not come before December; take the Isthmus route in preference to the Boca del Toro one; bring no useless baggage, and do not cumber yourself with a tent; but a good pair of blankets will be necessary; a pick, shovel, and axe of good material will be almost all that is required": advice which might have been taken from the "Burker's Guide." And he concludes with this line in Italics and small capitals: "If you are doing well at home, STAY THERE," which may fairly be interpreted to mean, "If you are getting a good living by robbing graveyards at home, stay there."
But why go to California for a text? She is the child of New England, bred at her own school and church.
It is remarkable that among all the preachers there are so few moral teachers. The prophets are employed in excusing the ways of men. Most reverend seniors, the illuminati of the age, tell me, with a gracious, reminiscent smile, betwixt an aspiration and a shudder, not to be too tender about these things- to lump all that, that is, make a lump of gold of it. The highest advice I have heard on these subjects was grovelling. The burden of it was- It is not worth your while to undertake to reform the world in this particular. Do not ask how your bread is buttered; it will make you sick, if you do- and the like. A man had better starve at once than lose his innocence in the process of getting his bread. If within the sophisticated man there is not an unsophisticated one, then he is but one of the devil's angels. As we grow old, we live more coarsely, we relax a little in our disciplines, and, to some extent, cease to obey our finest instincts. But we should be fastidious to the extreme of sanity, disregarding the gibes of those who are more unfortunate than ourselves.
In our science and philosophy, even, there is commonly no true and absolute account of things. The spirit of sect and bigotry has planted its hoof amid the stars. You have only to discuss the problem, whether the stars are inhabited or not, in order to discover it. Why must we daub the heavens as well as the earth? It was an unfortunate discovery that Dr. Kane was a Mason, and that Sir John Franklin was another. But it was a more cruel suggestion that possibly that was the reason why the former went in search of the latter. There is not a popular magazine in this country that would dare to print a child's thought on important subjects without comment. It must be submitted to the D.D.'s. I would it were the chickadee-dees.
You come from attending the funeral of mankind to attend to a natural phenomenon. A little thought is sexton to all the world.
I hardly know an intellectual man, even, who is so broad and truly liberal that you can think aloud in his society. Most with whom you endeavor to talk soon come to a stand against some institution in which they appear to hold stock- that is, some particular, not universal, way of viewing things. They will continually thrust their own low roof, with its narrow skylight, between you and the sky, when it is the unobstructed heavens you would view. Get out of the way with your cobwebs; wash your windows, I say! In some lyceums they tell me that they have voted to exclude the subject of religion. But how do I know what their religion is, and when I am near to or far from it? I have walked into such an arena and done my best to make a clean breast of what religion I have experienced, and the audience never suspected what I was about. The lecture was as harmless as moonshine to them. Whereas, if I had read to them the biography of the greatest scamps in history, they might have thought that I had written the lives of the deacons of their church. Ordinarily, the inquiry is, Where did you come from? or, Where are you going? That was a more pertinent question which I overheard one of my auditors put to another one- "What does he lecture for?" It made me quake in my shoes.
To speak impartially, the best men that I know are not serene, a world in themselves. For the most part, they dwell in forms, and flatter and study effect only more finely than the rest. We select granite for the underpinning of our houses and barns; we build fences of stone; but we do not ourselves rest on an underpinning of granitic truth, the lowest primitive rock. Our sills are rotten. What stuff is the man made of who is not coexistent in our thought with the purest and subtilest truth? I often accuse my finest acquaintances of an immense frivolity; for, while there are manners and compliments we do not meet, we do not teach one another the lessons of honesty and sincerity that the brutes do, or of steadiness and solidity that the rocks do. The fault is commonly mutual, however; for we do not habitually demand any more of each other.
That excitement about Kossuth, consider how characteristic, but superficial, it was!- only another kind of politics or dancing. Men were making speeches to him all over the country, but each expressed only the thought, or the want of thought, of the multitude. No man stood on truth. They were merely banded together, as usual one leaning on another, and all together on nothing; as the Hindoos made the world rest on an elephant, the elephant on a tortoise, and the tortoise on a serpent, and had nothing to put under the serpent. For all fruit of that stir we have the Kossuth hat.
Just so hollow and ineffectual, for the most part, is our ordinary conversation. Surface meets surface. When our life ceases to be inward and private, conversation degenerates into mere gossip. We rarely meet a man who can tell us any news which he has not read in a newspaper, or been told by his neighbor; and, for the most part, the only difference between us and our fellow is that he has seen the newspaper, or been out to tea, and we have not. In proportion as our inward life fails, we go more constantly and desperately to the post-office. You may depend on it, that the poor fellow who walks away with the greatest number of letters, proud of his extensive correspondence, has not heard from himself this long while.
I do not know but it is too much to read one newspaper a week. I have tried it recently, and for so long it seems to me that I have not dwelt in my native region. The sun, the clouds, the snow, the trees say not so much to me. You cannot serve two masters. It requires more than a day's devotion to know and to possess the wealth of a day.
We may well be ashamed to tell what things we have read or heard in our day. I did not know why my news should be so trivial- considering what one's dreams and expectations are, why the developments should be so paltry. The news we hear, for the most part, is not news to our genius. It is the stalest repetition. You are often tempted to ask why such stress is laid on a particular experience which you have had- that, after twenty-five years, you should meet Hobbins, Registrar of Deeds, again on the sidewalk. Have you not budged an inch, then? Such is the daily news. Its facts appear to float in the atmosphere, insignificant as the sporules of fungi, and impinge on some neglected thallus, or surface of our minds, which affords a basis for them, and hence a parasitic growth. We should wash ourselves clean of such news. Of what consequence, though our planet explode, if there is no character involved in the explosion? In health we have not the least curiosity about such events. We do not live for idle amusement. I would not run round a corner to see the world blow up.
All summer, and far into the autumn, perchance, you unconsciously went by the newspapers and the news, and now you find it was because the morning and the evening were full of news to you. Your walks were full of incidents. You attended, not to the affairs of Europe, but to your own affairs in Massachusetts fields. If you chance to live and move and have your being in that thin stratum in which the events that make the news transpire- thinner than the paper on which it is printed- then these things will fill the world for you; but if you soar above or dive below that plane, you cannot remember nor be reminded of them. Really to see the sun rise or go down every day, so to relate ourselves to a universal fact, would preserve us sane forever. Nations! What are nations? Tartars, and Huns, and Chinamen! Like insects, they swarm. The historian strives in vain to make them memorable. It is for want of a man that there are so many men. It is individuals that populate the world. Any man thinking may say with the Spirit of Lodin-
Not without a slight shudder at the danger, I often perceive how near I had come to admitting into my mind the details of some trivial affair- the news of the street; and I am astonished to observe how willing men are to lumber their minds with such rubbish- to permit idle rumors and incidents of the most insignificant kind to intrude on ground which should be sacred to thought. Shall the mind be a public arena, where the affairs of the street and the gossip of the tea-table chiefly are discussed? Or shall it be a quarter of heaven itself- an hypaethral temple, consecrated to the service of the gods? I find it so difficult to dispose of the few facts which to me are significant, that I hesitate to burden my attention with those which are insignificant, which only a divine mind could illustrate. Such is, for the most part, the news in newspapers and conversation. It is important to preserve the mind's chastity in this respect. Think of admitting the details of a single case of the criminal court into our thoughts, to stalk profanely through their very sanctum sanctorum for an hour, ay, for many hours! to make a very bar-room of the mind's inmost apartment, as if for so long the dust of the street had occupied us- the very street itself, with all its travel, its bustle, and filth, had passed through our thoughts' shrine! Would it not be an intellectual and moral suicide? When I have been compelled to sit spectator and auditor in a court-room for some hours, and have seen my neighbors, who were not compelled, stealing in from time to time, and tiptoeing about with washed hands and faces, it has appeared to my mind's eye, that, when they took off their hats, their ears suddenly expanded into vast hoppers for sound, between which even their narrow heads were crowded. Like the vanes of windmills, they caught the broad but shallow stream of sound, which, after a few titillating gyrations in their coggy brains, passed out the other side. I wondered if, when they got home, they were as careful to wash their ears as before their hands and faces. It has seemed to me, at such a time, that the auditors and the witnesses, the jury and the counsel, the judge and the criminal at the bar- if I may presume him guilty before he is convicted- were all equally criminal, and a thunderbolt might be expected to descend and consume them all together.
By all kinds of traps and signboards, threatening the extreme penalty of the divine law, exclude such trespassers from the only ground which can be sacred to you. It is so hard to forget what it is worse than useless to remember! If I am to be a thoroughfare, I prefer that it be of the mountain brooks, the Parnassian streams, and not the town sewers. There is inspiration, that gossip which comes to the ear of the attentive mind from the courts of heaven. There is the profane and stale revelation of the bar-room and the police court. The same ear is fitted to receive both communications. Only the character of the hearer determines to which it shall be open, and to which closed. I believe that the mind can be permanently profaned by the habit of attending to trivial things, so that all our thoughts shall be tinged with triviality. Our very intellect shall be macadamized, as it were- its foundation broken into fragments for the wheels of travel to roll over; and if you would know what will make the most durable pavement, surpassing rolled stones, spruce blocks, and asphaltum, you have only to look into some of our minds which have been subjected to this treatment so long.
If we have thus desecrated ourselves- as who has not?- the remedy will be by wariness and devotion to reconsecrate ourselves, and make once more a fane of the mind. We should treat our minds, that is, ourselves, as innocent and ingenuous children, whose guardians we are, and be careful what objects and what subjects we thrust on their attention. Read not the Times. Read the Eternities. Conventionalities are at length as had as impurities. Even the facts of science may dust the mind by their dryness, unless they are in a sense effaced each morning, or rather rendered fertile by the dews of fresh and living truth. Knowledge does not come to us by details, but in flashes of light from heaven. Yes, every thought that passes through the mind helps to wear and tear it, and to deepen the ruts, which, as in the streets of Pompeii, evince how much it has been used. How many things there are concerning which we might well deliberate whether we had better know them- had better let their peddling-carts be driven, even at the slowest trot or walk, over that bride of glorious span by which we trust to pass at last from the farthest brink of time to the nearest shore of eternity! Have we no culture, no refinement- but skill only to live coarsely and serve the Devil?- to acquire a little worldly wealth, or fame, or liberty, and make a false show with it, as if we were all husk and shell, with no tender and living kernel to us? Shall our institutions be like those chestnut burs which contain abortive nuts, perfect only to prick the fingers?
America is said to be the arena on which the battle of freedom is to be fought; but surely it cannot be freedom in a merely political sense that is meant. Even if we grant that the American has freed himself from a political tyrant, he is still the slave of an economical and moral tyrant. Now that the republic- the respublica- has been settled, it is time to look after the res-privata- the private state- to see, as the Roman senate charged its consuls, "ne quid res-PRIVATA detrimenti caperet," that the private state receive no detriment.
Do we call this the land of the free? What is it to be free from King George and continue the slaves of King Prejudice? What is it to be born free and not to live free? What is the value of any political freedom, but as a means to moral freedom? Is it a freedom to be slaves, or a freedom to be free, of which we boast? We are a nation of politicians, concerned about the outmost defences only of freedom. It is our children's children who may perchance be really free. We tax ourselves unjustly. There is a part of us which is not represented. It is taxation without representation. We quarter troops, we quarter fools and cattle of all sorts upon ourselves. We quarter our gross bodies on our poor souls, till the former eat up all the latter's substance.
With respect to a true culture and manhood, we are essentially provincial still, not metropolitan- mere Jonathans. We are provincial, because we do not find at home our standards; because we do not worship truth, but the reflection of truth; because we are warped and narrowed by an exclusive devotion to trade and commerce and manufactures and agriculture and the like, which are but means, and not the end.
So is the English Parliament provincial. Mere country bumpkins, they betray themselves, when any more important question arises for them to settle, the Irish question, for instance- the English question why did I not say? Their natures are subdued to what they work in. Their "good breeding" respects only secondary objects. The finest manners in the world are awkwardness and fatuity when contrasted with a finer intelligence. They appear but as the fashions of past days- mere courtliness, knee-buckles and small-clothes, out of date. It is the vice, but not the excellence of manners, that they are continually being deserted by the character; they are cast-off-clothes or shells, claiming the respect which belonged to the living creature. You are presented with the shells instead of the meat, and it is no excuse generally, that, in the case of some fishes, the shells are of more worth than the meat. The man who thrusts his manners upon me does as if he were to insist on introducing me to his cabinet of curiosities, when I wished to see himself. It was not in this sense that the poet Decker called Christ "the first true gentleman that ever breathed." I repeat that in this sense the most splendid court in Christendom is provincial, having authority to consult about Transalpine interests only, and not the affairs of Rome. A praetor or proconsul would suffice to settle the questions which absorb the attention of the English Parliament and the American Congress.
Government and legislation! these I thought were respectable professions. We have heard of heaven-born Numas, Lycurguses, and Solons, in the history of the world, whose names at least may stand for ideal legislators; but think of legislating to regulate the breeding of slaves, or the exportation of tobacco! What have divine legislators to do with the exportation or the importation of tobacco? what humane ones with the breeding of slaves? Suppose you were to submit the question to any son of God- and has He no children in the Nineteenth Century? is it a family which is extinct?- in what condition would you get it again? What shall a State like Virginia say for itself at the last day, in which these have been the principal, the staple productions? What ground is there for patriotism in such a State? I derive my facts from statistical tables which the States themselves have published.
A commerce that whitens every sea in quest of nuts and raisins, and makes slaves of its sailors for this purpose! I saw, the other day, a vessel which had been wrecked, and many lives lost, and her cargo of rags, juniper berries, and bitter almonds were strewn along the shore. It seemed hardly worth the while to tempt the dangers of the sea between Leghorn and New York for the sake of a cargo of juniper berries and bitter almonds. America sending to the Old World for her bitters! Is not the sea-brine, is not shipwreck, bitter enough to make the cup of life go down here? Yet such, to a great extent, is our boasted commerce; and there are those who style themselves statesmen and philosophers who are so blind as to think that progress and civilization depend on precisely this kind of interchange and activity- the activity of flies about a molasses- hogshead. Very well, observes one, if men were oysters. And very well, answer I, if men were mosquitoes.
Lieutenant Herndon, whom our government sent to explore the Amazon, and, it is said, to extend the area of slavery, observed that there was wanting there "an industrious and active population, who know what the comforts of life are, and who have artificial wants to draw out the great resources of the country." But what are the "artificial wants" to be encouraged? Not the love of luxuries, like the tobacco and slaves of, I believe, his native Virginia, nor the ice and granite and other material wealth of our native New England; nor are "the great resources of a country" that fertility or barrenness of soil which produces these. The chief want, in every State that I have been into, was a high and earnest purpose in its inhabitants. This alone draws out "the great resources" of Nature, and at last taxes her beyond her resources; for man naturally dies out of her. When we want culture more than potatoes, and illumination more than sugar-plums, then the great resources of a world are taxed and drawn out, and the result, or staple production, is, not slaves, nor operatives, but men- those rare fruits called heroes, saints, poets, philosophers, and redeemers.
What is called politics is comparatively something so superficial and inhuman, that practically I have never fairly recognized that it concerns me at all. The newspapers, I perceive, devote some of their columns specially to politics or government without charge; and this, one would say, is all that saves it; but as I love literature and to some extent the truth also, I never read those columns at any rate. I do not wish to blunt my sense of right so much. I have not got to answer for having read a single President's Message. A strange age of the world this, when empires, kingdoms, and republics come a-begging to a private man's door, and utter their complaints at his elbow! I cannot take up a newspaper but I find that some wretched government or other, hard pushed and on its last legs, is interceding with me, the reader, to vote for it- more importunate than an Italian beggar; and if I have a mind to look at its certificate, made, perchance, by some benevolent merchant's clerk, or the skipper that brought it over, for it cannot speak a word of English itself, I shall probably read of the eruption of some Vesuvius, or the overflowing of some Po, true or forged, which brought it into this condition. I do not hesitate, in such a case, to suggest work, or the almshouse; or why not keep its castle in silence, as I do commonly? The poor President, what with preserving his popularity and doing his duty, is completely bewildered. The newspapers are the ruling power. Any other government is reduced to a few marines at Fort Independence. If a man neglects to read the Daily Times, government will go down on its knees to him, for this is the only treason in these days.
Those things which now most engage the attention of men, as politics and the daily routine, are, it is true, vital functions of human society, but should be unconsciously performed, like the corresponding functions of the physical body. They are infrahuman, a kind of vegetation. I sometimes awake to a half-consciousness of them going on about me, as a man may become conscious of some of the processes of digestion in a morbid state, and so have the dyspepsia, as it is called. It is as if a thinker submitted himself to be rasped by the great gizzard of creation. Politics is, as it were, the gizzard of society, full of grit and gravel, and the two political parties are its two opposite halves- sometimes split into quarters, it may be, which grind on each other. Not only individuals, but states, have thus a confirmed dyspepsia, which expresses itself, you can imagine by what sort of eloquence. Thus our life is not altogether a forgetting, but also, alas! to a great extent, a remembering, of that which we should never have been conscious of, certainly not in our waking hours. Why should we not meet, not always as dyspeptics, to tell our had dreams, but sometimes as eupeptics, to congratulate each other on the ever-glorious morning? I do not make an exorbitant demand, surely.

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