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* [Stoicism] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Stoicism]) ..... 45.56.153.148
* [Believe] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Believe]) ..... 45.56.153.211
* [robertlustig] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=robertlustig]) ..... 45.56.153.211
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* [All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=All%20you%20have%20to%20decide%20is%20what%20to%20do%20with%20the%20time%20that%20is%20given%20to%20you]) ..... 182.19.184.96
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* [The 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenaged Daughter] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=The%208%20Simple%20Rules%20for%20Dating%20My%20Teenaged%20Daughter]) ..... 202.156.2.162
* [Diabetes] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Diabetes]) ..... 202.156.2.162
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* [The most beautiful place in the world] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=The%20most%20beautiful%20place%20in%20the%20world]) ..... 202.156.2.162
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* [die kunst des lebens] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=die%20kunst%20des%20lebens]) ..... 202.156.2.162
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* [Salvatore Carecci] (new) ..... 202.156.2.162
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* [Thank You for Being Such a Pain] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Thank%20You%20for%20Being%20Such%20a%20Pain]) ..... 202.156.2.154
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* [Ten ways to enhance your family dinnertime] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Ten%20ways%20to%20enhance%20your%20family%20dinnertime]) ..... 202.156.2.154
* [To Be Forever Young] (new) ..... 202.156.2.154
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* [Detox plan] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Detox%20plan]) ..... 217.228.176.82
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* [How to Boost Your Confidence] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=How%20to%20Boost%20Your%20Confidence]) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Marc Benioff] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
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* [Questions to Ask Yourself, Regularly] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Questions%20to%20Ask%20Yourself%2C%20Regularly]) ..... 80.132.47.57
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* [James Thurber] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=James%20Thurber]) ..... 80.132.51.8
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* [A Warning to the West] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
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* [How To Ask Questions The Smart Way] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
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* [Obesity] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Obesity]) ..... 194.39.131.39
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* [Bertram Trautmann] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
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* [The Best Part of Knowledge] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
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* [Thomas Merton] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
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* [Oberlahr] (new) ..... 217.228.177.232
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* [Ken Wilber] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Ken%20Wilber]) ..... 80.132.53.49
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* [Edsger Wybe Dijkstra] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Bad Antogast] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Bad%20Antogast]) ..... 217.88.239.4
* [Be Not Afraid] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Leo Tolstoy] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Bertrand Russell] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Bertrand%20Russell]) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Die Kunst des Lebens] (new) ..... 80.132.44.4
* [Berlin] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Berlin]) ..... 80.132.44.4
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* [Tattoo] (new) ..... 217.88.234.141
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* [Atal Behari Vajpayee] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Atal%20Behari%20Vajpayee]) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [TogetherSoft] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Jeremy Bentham] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Interbeing : Fourteen Guidelines for Engaged Buddhism] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Interbeing%20%3A%20Fourteen%20Guidelines%20for%20Engaged%20Buddhism]) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Chet Huber] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Ballenberg] (new) ..... 80.132.50.41
* [Abentheuer] (new) ..... 217.228.190.47
* [Jonathan Livingston Seagull] (new) ..... 80.132.42.105
* [Elizabeth Shin] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Elizabeth%20Shin]) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Rheumatoid Arthritis] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Rheumatoid%20Arthritis]) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Kronberg] (new) ..... 80.132.46.224
* [From Science to God] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [George Herbert] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Bamberg] (new) ..... 217.228.185.39
* [Beef] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Henry Ward Beecher] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Victor Borge] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Russ Lipton] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Christmas City Nuremberg] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Christmas%20City%20Nuremberg]) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Benjamin Franklin] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Do Not Believe] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Gut Huebenthal] (new) ..... 80.132.40.133
* [Tony DiCicco] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [George Bernard Shaw] (new) ..... 217.88.230.51
* [David Weinberger] (new) ..... 217.88.238.247
* [Robert Vadra] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Robert%20Vadra]) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Bob Frankston] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Robert Morris] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Yann Arthus-Bertrand] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Yann%20Arthus-Bertrand]) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Easy Topic Maps] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Bryan Bell] (new) ..... 217.228.185.189
* [Astron Hotel Heidelberg] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Oberhofen] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Growing together as a couple] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Rules to follow to be happy] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Rules%20to%20follow%20to%20be%20happy]) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [The Hand That Rocks The Cradle Rules the World] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Arbeit Macht Frei] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Arbeit%20Macht%20Frei]) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [To Those With Little Dust] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Kaminomoto] (new) ..... 80.132.50.73
* [Be] (new) ..... 80.132.57.23
* [Wendell Berry] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Wendell%20Berry]) ..... 217.228.191.120
* [What Is a Human Being?] (new) ..... 217.228.191.67
* [Hilda Charlton] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Beware] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Beware]) ..... 217.228.179.69
* [Michael Hauben] (new) ..... 217.228.179.69
* [Hinduism Today] (new) ..... 217.228.179.69
* [Everything You Need To Know About Contemporary Philosophy] (new) ..... 217.228.191.31
* [badminton] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=badminton]) ..... 217.228.191.31
* [How to Mend Your Parachute] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=How%20to%20Mend%20Your%20Parachute]) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [The Crowne Plaza Heidelberg] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Van Beveren] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Autobiography of a Yogi] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [How To Become A Hacker] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Robert Yeung] (new) ..... 217.88.236.208
* [Cyber Nation] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Cyber%20Nation]) ..... 217.88.236.208
* [To Have or To Be] (new) ..... 217.88.236.208
* [Umberto Eco] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Christopher Wynter] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Masaru Emoto] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Life is Beautiful] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [2be] (new) ..... 217.88.236.39
* [Stomach Ache] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Stomach%20Ache]) ..... 217.88.236.39
* [Why I am Not Going to Buy a Computer] (new) ..... 217.88.236.39
* [On Liberty] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=On%20Liberty]) ..... 217.88.227.145
* [Cyber Essays] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Russell Lipton] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Antoine de Saint-Exupery] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Tools for Thought] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Motto] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Motto]) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Java Outline Editor] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Tom Van Vleck] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Tom%20Van%20Vleck]) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [We want to live] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [When to give away the technology] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=When%20to%20give%20away%20the%20technology]) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Some Good TV Habits to Acquire] (new) ..... 217.228.186.59
* [Carla Otto] (new) ..... 62.225.252.251
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* [Six Ways to Reduce Advertising in Your Life] (new) ..... 217.228.185.251
* [2001September] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=2001September]) ..... 217.228.185.251
* [2001October] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=2001October]) ..... 217.228.185.251
* [Weblog2001November] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Weblog2001November]) ..... 217.228.185.251
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* [Astron Hotel Hirschberg/Heidelberg] (new) ..... 62.225.252.245
* [Scott Burton] (new) ..... 217.88.233.132
* [Bloberger Hof] (new) ..... 62.225.252.250
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* [Top 10 Technologies for 2002] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Tim Berners-Lee] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Never settle for the best] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
____December 27, 2001
* [The three most difficult things for a human being] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Ten Things Men Can Do to End Sexism and Male Violence Against Women] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Ten%20Things%20Men%20Can%20Do%20to%20End%20Sexism%20and%20Male%20Violence%20Against%20Women]) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Anton Skorucak] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Peter Suber] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
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* [FreeToDo] (new) ..... kishore
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* [LinkBaton] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=LinkBaton]) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Tom Peters] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
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* [Ben Brown] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
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* [Bed Time] (new) ..... 172.176.73.13
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* [Aristotle] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Aristotle]) ..... 194.39.131.39
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* [Sharon Holdstock] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Sharon%20Holdstock]) ..... 194.39.131.39
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* [This too shall pass] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Tom Robbins] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
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* [Torah] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Torah]) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [John December] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [How to kill a Lion] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=How%20to%20kill%20a%20Lion]) ..... 172.178.0.65
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* [Isaiah Berlin] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Isaiah%20Berlin]) ..... 194.39.131.40
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____December 7, 2001
* [Tools] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Tools]) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [16 Ways to Be a Smarter Teacher] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Ken Roberts] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
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* [Benjamin Kuipers] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Benjamin%20Kuipers]) ..... 194.39.131.39
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* [The Ten Marks of a Happy Marriage] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=The%20Ten%20Marks%20of%20a%20Happy%20Marriage]) ..... 194.39.131.39
____December 4, 2001
* [Corporate Rebels] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [The Search for Beauty] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
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* [Worse Is Better] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Worse%20Is%20Better]) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Christopher Alexander] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Christopher%20Alexander]) ..... 194.39.131.40
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____November 30, 2001
* [Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Moving from anger into sadness...] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Moving%20from%20anger%20into%20sadness...]) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [I feel so much anger towards my mother....] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=I%20feel%20so%20much%20anger%20towards%20my%20mother....]) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Why so much conflict between the different religions?] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Why%20so%20much%20conflict%20between%20the%20different%20religions%3F]) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Understanding the Lessons of September 11] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Understanding%20the%20Lessons%20of%20September%2011]) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [What is wrong with being in a hurry?] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=What%20is%20wrong%20with%20being%20in%20a%20hurry%3F]) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [The Roots of Obesity] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=The%20Roots%20of%20Obesity]) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [RecentVisitors] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=RecentVisitors]) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Cool Tools] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Cool%20Tools]) ..... 194.39.131.39
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* [Photos] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Photos]) ..... 172.178.70.211
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* [Autos] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Autos]) ..... 194.39.131.40
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* [Philip and Alex's Guide to Web Publishing] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [How to Design Programs] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=How%20to%20Design%20Programs]) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Gerald M. Weinberg] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
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* [How to Think Like a Computer Scientist] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=How%20to%20Think%20Like%20a%20Computer%20Scientist]) ..... 194.39.131.40
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* [Carlton Vogt] (new) ..... kishore
* [ConvertSpacesToTabs] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=ConvertSpacesToTabs]) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [TextFormattingRules] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=TextFormattingRules]) ..... 194.39.131.40
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* [Elektronische Fahrplanauskunft Baden-Wuerttemberg] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [How to set and Achieve Goals] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=How%20to%20set%20and%20Achieve%20Goals]) ..... 194.39.131.40
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* [John Taylor Gatto] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [A Brief History of Time] (new) ..... 155.56.66.11
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* [How to Write a Software Specification] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=How%20to%20Write%20a%20Software%20Specification]) ..... 172.178.7.68
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* [The Best Things in Life] (new) ..... 155.56.66.13
* [The Machine That Changed the World : The Story of Lean Production] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=The%20Machine%20That%20Changed%20the%20World%20%3A%20The%20Story%20of%20Lean%20Production]) ..... 155.56.66.13
____November 15, 2001
* [The Invisible Future: The Seamless Integration of Technology into Everyday Life] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=The%20Invisible%20Future%3A%20The%20Seamless%20Integration%20of%20Technology%20into%20Everyday%20Life]) ..... 155.56.66.13
* [How to Prepare an Effective Resume] (new) ..... 155.56.66.13
* [Viktor Frankl] (new) ..... 155.56.66.13
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* [How I became a Hindu] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=How%20I%20became%20a%20Hindu]) ..... 155.56.66.13
* [Peter Hilton] (new) ..... 155.56.66.11
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* [Bill Clinton] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Bill%20Clinton]) ..... 155.56.66.13
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* [Beyond Vegetarianism] (new) ..... 172.177.64.89
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* [Rebecca Blood] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Rebecca%20Blood]) ..... 155.56.66.11
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* [Kiran Bedi] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
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* [Mentors] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Mentors]) ..... 172.178.6.57
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* [Obstacles to Happiness] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Obstacles%20to%20Happiness]) ..... 172.178.7.2
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* [You already know what to do] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=You%20already%20know%20what%20to%20do]) ..... kishore
* [AUTOSTADT] (new) ..... 172.176.215.120
* [Strawberry] (new) ..... 172.176.215.120
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* [Christopher Ryan] (new) ..... kishore
* [Badminton] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
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* [heidelbergI love.gif] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=heidelbergI%20love.gif]) ..... kishore
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.
4. When will the realization of the Self be gained?
When the world which is what-is-seen has been removed, there will be realization of the Self which is the seer.
5. Will there not be realization of the Self even while the world is there (taken as real)?
There will not be.
The seer and the object seen are like the rope and the snake. Just as the knowledge of the rope which is the substrate will not arise unless the false knowledge of the illusory serpent goes, so the realization of the Self which is the substrate will not be gained unless the belief that the world is real is removed.
7. When will the world which is the object seen be removed?
When the mind, which is the cause of all cognition's and of all actions, becomes quiescent, the world will disappear.
What is called 'mind' is a wondrous power residing in the Self. It causes all thoughts to arise. Apart from thoughts, there is no such thing as mind. Therefore, thought is the nature of mind. Apart from thoughts, there is no independent entity called the world. In deep sleep there are no thoughts, and there is no world. In the states of waking and dream, there are thoughts, and there is a world also. Just as the spider emits the thread (of the web) out of itself and again withdraws it into itself, likewise the mind projects the world out of itself and again resolves it into itself. When the mind comes out of the Self, the world appears. Therefore, when the world appears (to be real), the Self does not appear; and when the Self appears (shines) the world does not appear. When one persistently inquires into the nature of the mind, the mind will end leaving the Self (as the residue). What is referred to as the Self is the Atman. The mind always exists only in dependence on something gross; it cannot stay alone. It is the mind that is called the subtle body or the soul (jiva).
That which rises as 'I' in this body is the mind. If one inquires as to where in the body the thought 'I' rises first, one would discover that it rises in the heart. That is the place of the mind's origin. Even if one thinks constantly 'I' 'I', one will be led to that place. Of all the thoughts that arise in the mind, the 'I' thought is the first. It is only after the rise of this that the other thoughts arise. It is after the appearance of the first personal pronoun that the second and third personal pronouns appear; without the first personal pronoun there will not be the second and third.
10. How will the mind become quiescent?
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.
15. How long should inquiry be practised?
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.
22. Is there no difference between waking and dream?
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.
26. What is the relation between desirelessness and wisdom?
Desirelessness is wisdom. The two are not different; they are the same. Desirelessness is refraining from turning the mind towards any object. Wisdom means the appearance of no object. In other words, not seeking what is other than the Self is detachment or desirelessness; not leaving the Self is wisdom.
27. What is the difference between inquiry and meditation?
Inquiring into the nature of one's self that is in bondage, and realising one's true nature is release.
Weblog2001December
[weblog] > Weblog2001December
[Weblog2001November] : Previous < < < [Weblog2001December] > > > Next : [Weblog2002January]
[Albert Einstein] : There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.
!Remembering 2001
From [Never settle for the best] : ...Give the proper [tools] to a group of [people] who like to make a difference, and they will...
Apart from family and friends, I would like to thank the following people for sharing their thoughts/life and making available usable/useful/enjoyable tools on the web.
* [Tim Berners-Lee] : [World Wide Web|http://www.w3.org/]
* [Philip Greenspun] : [Philip and Alex's Guide to Web Publishing|http://www.arsdigita.com/books/panda/]
* [Aaron Swartz] : who said 'I did it... you can do it too...' and made me realise my dream >>> [World Wide Wisdom|http://www.carnatic.com/www/]
* I list many more people at [Portal] whom I visit virtually and also contribute to who i am...
[Weblog2001November] : Previous < < < [Weblog2001December] > > > Next : [Weblog2002January]
[MSN Messenger] was very useful. We were able to speak to very close friends for a long time.
Snow has beautifully decorated our balcony :-)
If you want to lose weight, [goto India|http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_1668000/1668872.stm] :-)
[Christopher Ryan] [turns two|http://shanson.editthispage.com/2001/12/27]. We have met him in Amsterdam and have a few pictures. He was cute!
[Peter Koestenbaum] in [After Shock|http://www.fastcompany.com/online/54/aftershock.html] : ...We must resolve to work with greatness and never forget to do so again. Every workday is a concert, a Nobel-prize ceremony, or an Olympic victory...
[Top 10 Technologies for 2002]
Inspiration for everyone from [Google] : [Never settle for the best]
[The three most difficult things for a human being]
[Anton Skorucak]'s [Holiday Wish]
[Nomic] must be an interesting game !
It has been a while since realised that I am not in this world _only_ to gain more knowledge, wealth etc. :-)
The Rhine ferry " Drusus " connects Germany with France. We were on this today
[Rheinmuenster|http://www.rheinmuenster.de/] : The people of Greffern have always operated a ferry service between their town and Drusenheim on the left bank of the river: a pontoon bridge was erected in 1875, followed by the motor ferry "Drusus", which has been providing a free ferry service since 1977.
It is the no. 1 movie at http://us.imdb.com/top_250_films
[Jason Levine] [:|http://q.queso.com/2001/12/21] ...I have to say that there's a lot more hype than there is movie....
[Buckminster Fuller] : "For the first time in history it is now possible to take care of everybody at a higher standard of living than any have ever known. Only ten years ago the ‘more with less’ technology reached the point where this could be done. All humanity now has the option to become enduringly successful."
I want to understand [Swaraj] ( http://meadev.nic.in/Gandhi/swaraj.htm )
Happy Holidays to [Dave Winer], [Netizen]s et al
Visit our [portfolio|http://www.photo.net/shared/community-member?user_id=119381] at http://www.photo.net
We are connecting to the net from today with [dsl flat|http://www.billiger-surfen.de/tarifmodelle.php3?name=T-Online&verbindungsnbz=dsl+flat&gueltigab=2001-08-01&gueltigbis=0000-00-00] :-)
I received [Drive10] today. The interface could be better... It could tell us more about what is doing behind the scenes...
[Babylog|http://babyblog.org/] [:|http://babyblog.org/archive/archive.php?12/10/2001_7807035] [W. Bruce Cameron] : [The 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenaged Daughter]
[Stephen Palmer] : If you happen to be looking for a technical architect, project director or development manager to produce a high quality result, I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending [Jeff De Luca] to you.
[Extreme Programming] and [Feature Driven Development] : [a short comparison|http://www.togethercommunity.com/coad-letter/Coad-Letter-0070.html] : The Bottom Line in the article is the essence : ...It is important to discover what works for you and your organization. The name of the process you use is not important. What is important is the ability to repeatedly deliver frequent, tangible, working results on time, within budget and with agreed function...
[LinkBaton] is interesting...
[IBM's Test-Tube Quantum Computer Makes History|http://www.research.ibm.com/resources/news/20011219_quantum.shtml] : ...Scientists at IBM's Almaden Research Center have performed the world's most complicated quantum-computer calculation to date. They caused a billion-billion custom-designed molecules in a test tube to become a seven-qubit quantum computer that solved a simple version of the mathematical problem at the heart of many of today's data-security cryptographic systems...
I started eating vegetarisch [Flammkuchen|http://www.cantate86.de/flammkuchen.htm] at 12:05 today morning !!!
[Russell H. Conwell]'s speech [Acres of Diamonds] concludes ...If you forget everything I have said to you, do not forget this, because it contains more in two lines than all I have said. Bailey says: "He most lives who thinks most, who feels the noblest, and who acts the best."...
Who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best.
Life’s but a means unto an end; that end
Beginning, mean, and end to all things,—God.
The mission of the [North Carolina Christmas Tree Association|http://www.ncchristmastrees.com/] (NCCTA) is to promote "real" Christmas Trees through marketing and education.
[James Allen]'s [As A Man Thinketh] is partly responsible for the creation of the entire personal development industry. Most contemporary PD authors and teachers credit this little book for providing foundation to their principles.
[Ben Brown] and [Ani Moller] are on a three week road trip and will send [super brief updates|http://benbrown.com/is/driving/] using his Nokia's e-mail capabilities.
[Albert Einstein] : A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.
[Oliver Breidenbach] [:|http://www.fsomm.com/discuss/msgReader$902] The Spiegel figured out how to use numerology to better remember the Euro to DM exchange rate: 1.9 55 83 If you take the sum of the last two pairs it is 10 and 11, respectively. So, the exchange rate is one point nine, ten, eleven...
[Mira Art] [quotes|http://surprise.editthispage.com/2001/12/16] [Buckminster Fuller] : When I am Working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only of how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.
[Why we have a terrorism problem with our airlines|http://www.interesting-people.org/archives/interesting-people/200112/msg00227.html] : ...the FAA had come down hard on the airport only because 1,000 badges was too many, in that regulations permit that airport to have only 500 unaccounted-for access badges....
I have read somewhere that the Western World follow a 'parts per million' culture while the Japanese follow the 'zero defect' culture... and that this is the fundamental difference !
[Ian Strecker] : [Toward a Zero-Defect Culture|http://www.slb.com/ir/news/strecker6_96.html]
[Pegasos|http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/] is a literature related resource site
[Sjoerd Visscher] [:|http://w3future.com/weblog/2001/12/12.html] "I got ADSL!" . I hope to say that soon too :-)
[Aristotle] in [Nicomachean Ethics] : The man who gets angry at the right things and with the right people, and in the right way and at the right time and for the right length of time, is commended.
[Jason Levine] : [Stanford University Interview|http://www.broaderminds.com/Profiles/Stanford_university/reviews/987553538431.html] : "More important than the workload at Stanford, I find, is the ‘humbling factor’. Basically, if you can gain admission to a school like Stanford, I have no doubt that you can work at the level set by the professors. The problem is more egotistical: can you handle meeting people just as and possibly more intelligent than yourself?"
[Sharon Holdstock] (is a generic love spreader among others) : [Yoga by Shazzie|http://www.stretchmagazine.com/page.php?content=shazzie&pagetitle=Yoga%20by%20Shazzie] - WOW - see the pictures !
(via [PaperQuote]) [Buddha] : A family is a place where minds come in contact with one another. If these minds love one another the home will be as beautiful as a flower garden.
[Lawrence Lee] pointed to a [new feature|http://ftp3.userland.com/ftpTest/Lawrence/2001/12/11.html] in [Google] and I came across a minor problem ! I did send feedback to Google...
I requested [Brent Simmons] to list all the [Mac OS X applications] used by him. [The answer|http://inessential.com/osxapps.html]. Thanks, Brent.
A visit to their [Garden|http://sheila.inessential.com/garden/] maintained by his wife [Sheila Simmons] is refreshing.
[Saravanan Natarajan] has sent me some (10 !) CDs with Osho's speeches and I have started listening to "Osho about Creativity" and most of the speech is available on the web too...
[Osho] : [CREATIVITY: Unleashing the Forces Within] : ...Creativity means loving whatsoever you do -- enjoying, celebrating it! Maybe nobody comes to know about it -- who is going to praise you for cleaning the floor? History will not take any account of it; newspapers will not publish your name and picture -- but that is irrelevant. You enjoyed it. The value is intrinsic...
(via [PaperQuote]) [John Muir] : Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.
[Lawrence Benedict]
[Google] [unveils huge archive of USENET back to 1981|http://www.google.com/googlegroups/archive_announce_20.html]
[New York City] [Three Months After|http://usinfo.state.gov/topical/pol/terror/album/newyork/]
[Mortimer Jerome Adler] : The purpose of a liberal education is not to learn how to earn a living, but to learn how to live and enjoy life, especially when not working
[Isaiah Berlin] (in [The Hedgehog and the Fox]): There exists a great chasm between those, on one side, who relate everything to a single central vision...and, on the other side, those who pursue many ends, often unrelated and even contradictory...The first kind of intellectual and artistic personality belongs to the hedgehogs, the second to the foxes.
[Jim Roepcke] [:|http://jim.roepcke.com/2001/12/09] I've been reading through the [AppleScript] documentation throughout the day today. So far I'm very impressed.
[Albert Einstein] : If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.
[William James] : As the brain changes are continuous, so do all these consciousnesses melt into each other like dissolving views. Properly they are but one protracted consciousness, one unbroken stream.
I want the following feature in MS Outlook or any email client for that matter: When I send an email, the tool should prompt me... you have sent a similar email to this person and didnot get a reply ! dont bother !!!
Better yet, my browser should have a similar feature :-)
I did something at work which makes me think of the [Elegant Hack] which is being powered by [movabletype] since some days...
Can you put [the fragrance of the rose] into words ?
I was looking for a [Digital Camera] and the winner is [Digital IXUS]. We bought it at [New York Camera] yesterday in person. [Christian Kwyas] is a great sales man. It was (will be) a memorable shopping experience. However Christian should be thankful to [Jeff Keller]'s very useful reviews at [Digital Camera Resource Page]
[Dave Winer] [:|http://scriptingnews.userland.com/backissues/2001/12/06#l86b0989154cbfbef88f0a30f41b96187] Bug reports should have three parts. 1. Here's what I did. 2. This is what I expected to happen. 3. This is what actually happened. For extra credit, if it's a public Web app, provide a URL. It also couldn't hurt to say what version of the software you're using, what OS, and other things that might make your installation different from others.
[Office XP Error Reporting May Send Sensitive Documents to Microsoft|http://www.ciac.org/ciac/bulletins/m-005.shtml]
[16 Ways to Be a Smarter Teacher]
[Ken Roberts] maintains the [Great Books Index]
[Benjamin Kuipers] has [a possible solution|http://www.interesting-people.org/archives/interesting-people/200112/msg00061.html] to the Arab-Israeli Conflict
Found [The End of the World] at his page... which made me goto [RAQ] and found [The Meaning of Life] :-)
I want to buy a [Digital Camera]. [Canon PowerShot A20|http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/canon/a20-review/index.html] is on the top of my list... [Jeff Keller] states ...As always, I recommend a trip to your local camera store to try out the /camera/ and its competitors before you buy!... Do you have any recommendations ?
I am in [The Search for Beauty] in [An English Country Garden|http://www.alfresco.demon.co.uk/]
"For his([Christopher Alexander]) Ph. D. Thesis, later published as the book [Notes on the Synthesis of Form], he was awarded the first Gold Medal for Research by the American Institute of Architects."
via [PaperQuote] [Andre Gide] : It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.
[Christopher Alexander]'s [ideas on office furniture and interiors]
[Richard P. Gabriel] : [Worse Is Better]
[Dan Simmons] in [When Mental Growth Outruns Maturity|http://www.erinyes.org/simmons/interview.html] ...Wabash influenced every part of my life because I learned what being an educated human being meant while I was here...
I bought [National Geographic]'s [100 best pictures|http://www.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/100best/]
[Weblog2001November] : Previous < < < [Weblog2001December] > > > Next : [Weblog2002January]
The Hand That Rocks The Cradle Rules the World
[Articles] > The Hand That Rocks The Cradle Rules the World
An Inspired Talk delivered by [Gurudeva] Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami on his 54th Jayanti, on January 5, 1980, at the Kadavul Hindu Temple in Hawaii, enjoining the modern Hindu woman to not forsake her dharma but protect the home and nurture the family as her gift of love to the next generation. Hmmm! It seems not to have gone out of date much.
Anbe Sivamayam Satyame Parasivam! Tonight we are going to talk about a vast subject, one that is important to every Hindu family: stri dharma, the dharma of the Hindu wife and mother. In Sanskrit stri means "woman." Dharma is a rich word which encompasses many meanings: the path to God Siva, piety, goodness, duty, obligation and more. Stri dharma is the woman's natural path, while purusha dharma, we can say, is the man's.
There is much controversy about the role of the woman in society these days. In the West, a strong women's liberation movement has been at work for many years, and now there has arisen an equally vigorous opposition which defends traditional values. The so-called struggle for women's liberation has affected women the world over--in India, Iran, Europe, Japan and elsewhere. In North America, I began a campaign informally called the Hindu women's liberation movement. It is not what you might expect. Its purpose is to liberate our Hindu women from the liberators, to save them from worldliness and to allow them to fulfill their natural dharma as mother and wife. For a religious woman, being liberated starts with resigning from her job and coming home. Once she is home, she is liberated and liberated and liberated. Working in the world keeps her in the outer dimensions of consciousness, while being at home allows her to live in the depth of her being. I have seen this work many times. There are so many distractions and influences in the world today that divert women away from being a wife and mother. In the West a woman is a wife first and a mother second, but in the East her duties as a mother are foremost. She is trained from early childhood in the arts of homemaking, trained by her mother who was trained in exactly the same way by her mother, and so on right down through history. It's an old pattern.
The Hindu woman is looked upon as most precious. Two thousand years ago Saint Tiruvalluvar observed: "What does a man lack if his wife is worthy? And what does he possess if she is lacking worth?" There is more respect in the East for women and for their role in society. Here in the West, the woman is not fully appreciated. Her contribution is underrated and misunderstood. In fact, this is one of the reasons she seeks fulfillment and recognition in other spheres, because Western society has become oblivious of her unique and vital role. Abused by neglect and disregard, she seeks other avenues where she may be appreciated, recognized and rewarded.
Don't forget that in the East the ties of the extended family are very close. Women live in a community, surrounded by younger and older women, often living in the same house. They enjoy a rewarding life which includes helping the younger ones and being helped by those who are more mature. Several generations work together in sharing the joys as well as the burdens of household culture. It is different in the West. Women here usually do not have the advantages of close association with other family members. Naturally, they become a little lonely, especially if they do not have a religious community of friends. They get lonely and want to get out in the world and enjoy life a little. This is another reason women leave the home. It is very unfortunate.
In the East there is a better balance of the masculine and feminine forces. In the West the masculine is too strong, too dominant. The feminine energies need to be allowed greater expression. But that does not mean women should start doing what men do. No. That only confuses the forces more. A better balance must be found. In the East the woman is protected. She is like a precious gem. You don't leave it unattended. You protect it. You guard it well because you don't wish to lose it. Hindu women are guarded well. They are not allowed to become worldly. They are not exposed to the looks and thoughts of a base public, nor must they surrender their modesty to contend with business affairs. She can be perfectly feminine, expressing her natural qualities of gentleness, intuitiveness, love and modesty. The home and family are the entire focus of a Hindu woman's life.
Many of you here tonight are too young to know that this was also the pattern in the West until about seventy-five years ago. Before World War I, women were very strict in the West. It was that war and the one that followed that broke down the ancient roles of men and women. The men were taken away from industry by the army, and women were forced out of the home into the factories and businesses so that production could continue. Earlier they had been protected, seldom seen unaccompanied in public. Throughout history, women had been the caretakers of the home and the defenders of virtue. They valued their purity, their chastity, and were virgins when they married. Many people don't know that the old values were followed most strictly up until 1915 or so. Then the two world wars broke up the family and disturbed the balance between men and women. For the first time, women were seen alone in public. For the first time, they left the home and competed with men for their jobs.
I speak often of the change humanity is going through in moving out of the agricultural era and into the technological age. This change has affected the dharma of the woman and the dharma of the man in an interesting way. During the tens of thousands of years of the agricultural age, families lived and labored mostly on farms or in craft guilds. The entire family worked on the farm. The men all worked in the fields; the women and children worked in the home. Children were a great asset. More children meant more help, a bigger farm. There were many chores that a young boy or girl could do. When harvest time came, everyone joined in. It was a one team, and everyone contributed. When the crop was sold, that was the income for a combined effort from all members--men, women and even children. In a very real sense, everyone was earning the money, everyone was economically important.
In the technological era, only the man of the house earns the family income. Everyone else spends it. The husband goes to work in a factory or large company office while his wife and children stay at home. There is not much they can do to help him during the day with his work. His work and his wife's are not as closely related as in the old days. He is the provider, the producer now; she and the children are consumers. Because the children cannot help much, they have become more of an economic liability than an asset. This, coupled with the population problems on the Earth, devalues the economic importance of the woman's traditional role as wife and mother. Whereas raising children and taking care of the farmhouse used to be a woman's direct and vital contribution toward the family's livelihood and even the survival of the human race, today it is not. Whereas they used to be partners in a family farm business, today he does all the earning and she feels like a dependent. The answer is not to have women join their men in the factories and corporations. The answer is to bring traditional religious values into the technological era, to find a new balance of karma that allows for the fulfillment of both the man's and the woman's dharma.
When young couples marry, I help them write down their vows to one another. He must promise to support her, to protect her, to give her a full and rewarding life. She must promise to care for him, to manage the home, to maintain the home shrine and to raise fine children. I ask them each to respect the other's realm, to never mentally criticize the other and to make religion the central focus of their life together. I ask the young bride to stay in the home, to be a little shy of involvement in the world.
A mother's place is within the home and not out in the world working. When she is in the home all day, she brings love and security to the children, sensitivity and stability to the husband. By raising her children, she changes the course of history. How does she do that? She raises strong children, good and intelligent children. They will grow up to be the great men and women in the community, the leaders of the nation. They will be the farmers, artists, businessmen, the teachers, the doctors, the lawyers, the architects, the presidents and, most importantly, the spiritual leaders. They will be the mothers, the homemakers and child-raisers, scientists and inventors, pioneers and poets, artists and sculptors and creators in all dimensions of life. It is such men and women who change the course of human history. This is the great power held by the mother and by no one else: to properly mold the mind and character of her children. And she trains her daughters to do the same by example and gentle guidance.
Of course, she also holds the opposite power, expressed through neglect, to allow her children to grow up on their own, on the streets where they will learn a base life. Such children will as surely change society and human history, but negatively. They will be the common men and women, or fall into mental and emotional abysses, there to express man's instinctive nature and become the exemplars of violence and lust, of dependence and crime. The very direction of humankind is right there in the early years, to be turned toward a great potential through love and attentiveness or allowed to decay through neglect. The mother is the child's first guru, and she alone can shape the mind in those impressionable years. So, you can all see the truth in the old saying: "The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world."
Take the case of a mother who is at home every day, morning and night, attending to her children. As she rocks the cradle, her love and energy radiate out to the infant who then feels a natural peacefulness and security. She has time for the child, time to sing sweet lullabies and console when the tears come, time to teach about people, about the world, about the little things in growing up, time to cuddle for no reason except to express her love. On the other hand, the working mother has no time to do extra things. When the infant cries, she may, out of her own frustrations of the day, become impatient and scold him, demanding that he keep quiet. "I told you to be quiet!" she shouts. The infant doesn't even understand English yet. You can imagine this helpless child's feelings as he receives an emotional blast of anger and frustration directed toward his gentle form. Where is he to turn? He cannot find refuge even in his mother's arms. What will the next generation be like if all the children are raised under such circumstances? Will it be strong and self-assured? Will it radiate kindness to others, never having had kindness given to it? Will it be patient and understanding? No. It is a proven fact that most of the people in prison were neglected or beaten as children. It is also a proven fact that nearly all parents who mistreat their children were themselves mistreated by their parents. Unless mothers care for and love their children, society will inherit an entire generation of frustrated adults who were once frustrated children. These will later be the people who rule the world. Then what happens? They in turn raise their children in the same manner, for that is the only example of parenthood they have. They will think that neglect is natural, that children can get along on their own from an early age or be raised by a governess or nurse or at a day-care center. It's a circle: a childhood of neglect produces a bitter adult life; a childhood of love and trust produces a loving and happy adult life.
We learn so many important things from the mother. This learning is not just from the things she explains to us, but from the way she lives her life. If she is patient, we learn patience. If she is angry and unhappy, then we learn to be angry and unhappy. How wonderful it is for a mother to be in the home and give her children the great gifts of life by her example. She can teach them so many things, bring them into profound understandings about the world around them and offer them basic values and points of view that will sustain them throughout their life. Her gift of love is directly to the child, but indirectly it is a gift to all of humanity, isn't it? A child does not learn much from the father until he is older, perhaps eight or nine, or ten years of age.
Let me tell you a sad story. We have a book in our library which describes a plan, made by the Christians, to destroy Hinduism in Sri Lanka and India. One of their major tactics is to get the Hindu women out of the homes and working in the world. They knew that the spiritual force within the home is created by the unworldly woman. They knew that a secure woman makes for a secure home and family, a secure husband and a secure religion. They knew that the Hindu woman is the key to the perpetuation of Hinduism as long as she is in the home. If the woman is in the home, if she is happy and content and the children are nurtured and raised properly, then the astral beings around the home will be devonic, friendly and beneficial. But if she is out of the home and the husband is out of the home, the protective force-field around the home disintegrates, allowing all kinds of astral asuric beings to enter. Such a neglected home becomes inhabited by base, asuric beings on the lower astral plane. You cannot see these beings, but they are there, and you can sense their presence. Things just don't feel right in a home inhabited by negative forces. You have the desire to leave such a home as soon as you enter it. The children absorb these vibrations, these feelings. Children are open and psychically sensitive to such influences, with little means of self-protection. They will become disturbed, and no one will know the reason why. They will be crying and even screaming. They will be constantly disobedient. Why should they become disobedient? There is no positive, protective force field of religion established by the mother. This leaves the inner force field vulnerable to negative and confusing forces of all kinds, especially in modern, overpopulated cities where destructive psychic influences are so strong. These negative vibrations are penetrating the inner atmosphere of the home, and the children are psychic enough to pick them up and suffer.
Religion begins in the home under the mother's influence and instruction. The mother goes to the temple to get strong. That is the reason Hindus live near a temple. They go to the temple to gain the strength from the shakti of the Deity, and they return to the home where they maintain a similar vibration in which to raise the next generation to be staunch and wonderful citizens of the world, to bring peace on Earth, to keep peace on Earth. There is an ancient Tamil proverb which says one should not live in a city which has no temple.
If a child is screaming in its cradle, and the baby sitter is yelling at him and couldn't care less about his feelings, and the mother is out working, that child is not a candidate for peace on Earth. That child is going to keep things confused, as they are today. So, it's all in the hands of the mother; it's not in the hands of the father. Religion and the future of society lie solely in the hands of the mother. It is in the hands of the father to allow or not to allow the mother to be under another man's mind out in the world.
Just as the two world wars took women out of the home, so did another recent change affect mankind. When the automobile came, people forgot about breeding. The automobile did one terrible thing: it made people forget how to breed and how to take care of one another. When people had horses, horses were a part of the family. People had to care for their horses and in the process learned to care for one another. People also had to breed their horses, and in that process learned about the value of intelligent breeding. In those days, you often heard of the "well-bred" person. You don't hear of the well-bred person anymore. People no longer consider that humans, too, are involved in the natural process of breeding. They have become forgetful of these important laws, and this has led to lack of discipline, to bodies indiscriminately creating more bodies. Who is living in them nobody quite knows. That's what we, as a society, forgot when the automobile replaced the horse. When you had a horse, you had to feed it, you had to train it, curry it, stable it and breed it. In breeding it, you had to choose a stud for your mare or find a suitable mare for your stallion. The qualities on both sides were closely observed, and the combination of genetics consciously planned. It was, therefore, natural for people in those days to seek proper mates for their children, and the results were the vital, creative and industrious children of the children. As a civilization, we are slowly forgetting such things, being more careless about our children's future, about their lives and minds.
Television has not helped the matter. In fact, it has virtually stopped the proper education of the child in those communities where it is watched for hours each day. Instead of developing a curiosity by adventuring for hours through a forest or climbing a tree, instead of discovering the wonders of nature and art and music, instead of becoming involved in sports and hobbies, children are mentally carried along by television stories through positive and negative states of mind. They become uncreative, inactive, never learning to use their own minds. Not all television is negative. Some of it can be quite educational; but hours and hours each day of passive absorption are not good for the child's mental and emotional development. Children need to be active, to involve themselves in a wide variety of experiences. If the mother is there, she can intelligently guide their television, being careful that they do not get in the habit of watching it for hours on end, and watching that bold sex, violence and other bad influences are not a daily experience. When the program is over, she can send them out to play. Of course, if she is gone, they will watch anything and everything. For the young, television is one of the most senseless pastimes there is, carrying the mind further and further away from the true Self. I think you will all agree that our values, the values found in the holy Vedas, Tirukural and other sacred scriptures are not found on television. Instead, TV gives our children a brutal and unbalanced view of life which distorts in their minds how life really is. These are very serious questions. It is the mother who protects her children from negative influences, guiding their young minds into positive channels of expression.
Take the case of a farmer who raises livestock, who milks cows and goats. He works hard. He gets up early and takes care of his animals. He cannot succeed if he is also working part-time in the grocery store downtown. He just can't do it. Those animals need attention. There is no sensible man who would run a farm, with cows and goats and chickens, and not be there to take care of them, because those animals need a lot of help. He stays there and takes care of his business. He is a farmer and that is his duty, and he knows it.
Well, what's more important than the child? He needs 24-hour-a-day care. He is learning to walk, to speak, to think. He falls down and needs consoling. He catches the flu and needs to be nursed back to health. It is the mother's duty to provide that care. No one else is going to do it for her. No one else can do it for her. She brought that child into the world, and she must prepare that child for a positive and rewarding life. If the farmer neglects his animals, he creates a karma. The animals suffer. The farm suffers. The community suffers when the farm fails, and the man himself suffers. There is a grave karma, too, for the woman who neglects her stri dharma, who goes out into the world and does not nurture the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual needs of her children. She knows this within herself, but she may be influenced by ill-advised people, or by a mass movement that tells her that she has only one life to live and that she cannot find fulfillment in the home but must express herself, venture out, seek her own path, her own fortune. You have all heard these ideas. I tell you that they are wrong. They spell the disillusionment of the mother who heeds them, then the disintegration of the family that is sacrificed by her absence. Finally, they result in her own unhappiness as she despairs at the loss suffered by her family and herself.
From the point of view of the Second World, or astral plane, the home is the family temple, and the wife and mother is in charge of that spiritual environment. Man can come into that sanctum sanctorum but should not bring the world into it. He will naturally find a refuge in the home if she is doing her duty. He will be able to regain his peace of mind there, renew himself for the next day in the stressful situations that the world is full of. In this technological age a man needs this refuge. He needs that inner balance in his life. When he enters that sanctuary and she is in her soul body and the child is in its soul body, then he becomes consciously conscious in his soul body. He leaves the conscious mind, which is a limited, external state of mind and not a balanced state of mind. He enters the intuitive mind. He gets immediate and intuitive answers to his worldly problems. How can he not be successful in his purusha dharma in the outside world when he has the backing of a good wife? She is naturally perceptive, naturally intuitive. She balances out his intellect, softens the impact of the forces which dash against his nervous system from morning to night. Encouragement and love naturally radiate out from her as she fulfills stri dharma. Without these balancing elements in his life, a man becomes too externalized, too instinctive and sometimes brutal.
If a woman is working, she cannot provide this balance. She has to start thinking and acting like a man. She has to become a little harder, create a protective shell around her emotions. Then the home loses its balance of the masculine and the feminine forces. Take for example the situation in which the wife rushes home from work fifteen minutes before the husband. She's upset. The children come over from grandmother's house or she tells the baby sitter to go home. She scurries to prepare something before he comes home, then rushes to get herself looking halfway decent. Emotionally upset, she tries to calm herself, tries to relax and regain her composure. Her astral body is upset. The children's astral bodies are upset. The husband enters this agitated environment--upset by being in the world anyway--and he becomes more disturbed. He was looking forward to a quiet evening. He feels neglected, disappointed, and that leads him to become distraught, even angry. No wonder he beats his wife and abuses his child. He's mad. He gets more and more disturbed until there is nothing left to do but walk out. It's a totally impossible situation. Furthermore, it's not going to get better but exceedingly worse.
The situation I have just described is one of the main reasons that marriages today have become less stable, that so many married couples--sixty to seventy percent, I'm told--are experiencing difficulties and breaking up. People never get married with the intent of breaking up. Never. The forces do it. You put two magnets together one way and they attract one another. Turn one around, and they repel each other. The same force that brought the people together, when it is not handled right, makes them pull apart and hate each other. They can't see eye to eye. Then to make up, they go out to dinner to talk it over--in another frustrating asuric situation, as far out in the world as they can get--to try to make up. When that doesn't help, they come home, still frustrated. If they went to the nearby temple and worshiped the Deity together, that would help. They would return home in a different state of mind, and discover that their vibration had changed. Why does it help to go to the temple? Because the Deity is in the temple. The Deity is there to adjust the forces of the inner nerve system, to actually change the forces of mind and emotion.
In the home the mother is likened to the Shakti Deity. She is the power of the home. None other. So she has to be there. She has to be treated right. She has to be given the things she needs. It is the man's duty to provide for her and for the children. The husband should provide her with all the fine things, with a good house which she then makes into a home, with gold and jewels and clothes, gold hanging down until her ears hurt, more bracelets, more things to keep her in the home so she is feeling secure and happy. In return she provides a refuge, a serene corner of the world where he can escape from the pressures of daily life, where he can regain his inner perspective, perform his spiritual sadhana and meditations then enjoy his family. Thus, she brings happiness and peace of mind to the family, to the community and to the world.
This working together of the home and the temple brings up the culture and the religion within the family. The family goes to the temple; the temple blesses the family's next project. The mother returns home. She keeps an oil lamp burning in the shrine room on the altar. It's a beautiful thing. All this happens because her astral body is not fretted by the stresses and strains of a worldly life, not polluted by the lustful thoughts of other men directed to her. She is not living in the emotional astral body. She is living in her peaceful soul body of love, fulfilling her dharma and radiating the soulful presence called sannidhya. She was born to be a woman, and that's how a woman should behave.
If she does not do her dharmic duty--this means the duty of birth--then she accrues bad karma. Every time she leaves the home to go out to work, she is making kukarma. Yes, she is. That negative karma will reflect on her astral body and on her husband's astral body and on the astral bodies of their children, causing them to become insecure.
The Christian-Judaic-Islamic idea of a one life, that "you have to get everything out of this life because when you're gone, you're gone, so grab all the gusto that you can out of life" has given the modern Western woman the idea that she is not getting what she should, by being a woman, and therefore the world looks doubly attractive because she is just passing through and will never come back and doesn't want to miss anything. So, living a man's life is very, very attractive. She doesn't want to stay home all the time and not see anything, not meet anybody, go through the boredom of raising a family, taking care of the children. She wants to be out with life, functioning in a man's world because she is told that she is missing something. Therefore, you can understand her desire to get out and work, start seeing and experiencing life and mixing with people, meeting new people. The Hindu woman does not look at life like that. The Hindu woman knows that she was born in a woman's body--this soul has taken an incarnation for a time in a woman's body--to perform a dharma, to perform a duty for the evolution of the soul. The duty is to be a mother to her children, wife to her husband, to strengthen the home and the family, which are the linchpin of society. She knows that the rewards are greater for her in the home. She knows that all she is missing is a man's strenuous work and responsibility, that her stri dharma is equally as great as a man's purusha dharma, even though they are quite different by nature. Because she knows these things, she fulfills her dharma joyously.
Now, a woman may wonder, "If I don't work, how are we going to pay the bills?" The real reason that most women work is economic. The economy of the world is becoming more and more difficult, and the first answer to money problems, especially in the West, where the family unit is not too strong these days, is to have the woman go to work. This is an unhappy solution. The sacrifices are greater than the rewards. It is a false economy. Many times I have told young wives to stay home with their children. They worry. Their husbands worry. But with the wife at home, working to strengthen her husband, he soon becomes confident, creative, energetic. He is reinspired and always finds a way to make things work.
As long as the mother is home, everything is fine. There is security. Without this security, a family begins to disintegrate. Just think how insecure a child is without its mother. When the mother is there, security reigns in the home. As long as the mother is home doing whatever she naturally does as a mother--she doesn't even have to read a book about how to do it--the husband has to support the home. He feels bound to support the home.
Of course, religion must be the basis of the home to make it all work. When women leave the home to work in the world, they sacrifice the depth of their religion; their religious life then simply becomes a social affair. This is true of both Eastern and Western religions. As long as the mother is home, the celestial devas are there, hovering in and around the home. How many of you were raised with your mother staying at home? Well, then you know what I mean. Now, what if she wasn't at home when you were a child? You came home and mother wasn't there. You had to fix your own snack in an empty house. You didn't feel much cared for. You were alone in an empty house, perhaps frightened, and you went around seeing if someone was hiding in the closet. You didn't feel that motherly, protective feeling. When mother finally does come home, she has other things on her mind. She is tired. She has worked hard, and now she has to work even more. She is not thinking about the little helpless kid who can't take care of himself or herself. She may get home and think to herself, "I just can't forget about that good-looking man I met at the office. I even see him in my dreams. I have a husband and I shouldn't be thinking about such things, but" And on and on and on. Arguments begin to happen for the first time in the home. What do you do? You worry for awhile. You cry a little. As soon as you can, you start fending for yourself. You work out ways to take care of yourself or even to get away from the unhappy situation as soon as you can. You end up out on your own in the world at a young age, before you are mature enough to cope with it.
The Hindu woman knows that she is born in a woman's body to perform a woman's dharma, to perform her duty and not to emulate the men. The duty is to be a mother to her children and a wife to her husband, whom she looks to as her lord. She performs that duty willingly as does the man perform his duty which arises out of being born in a man's body. The Hindu woman is trained to perform her stri dharma from the time she is a little girl. She finds ways to express her natural creativity within the home itself. She may write poetry or become an artist. Perhaps she has a special talent for sewing or embroidery or gardening or music. She can learn to loom cloth and make the family's clothing. If needed, she can use her skills to supplement the family income without leaving the home. There are so many ways for a Hindu wife and mother to fully use her creative energies, including being creative enough to never let her life become boring. It is her special blessing that she is free to pursue her religion fully, to study the scriptures, to sing bhajana and keep her own spiritual life strong inside.
Then there is the situation in which the wife is working for her husband in the home. This is not ideal, but it is far better than having her out, away from her husband, under another man's mind. At least the family is working together toward a single goal, and the mother is there to care for the child and answer questions. Of course, if working in the home does not allow for closeness of mother and children, then it is to be avoided--if, for instance, the work is so demanding that the mother is never free to play with the young ones or is so pressured by her other duties that she becomes tense and upset. Otherwise, it is a positive situation. From the child's point of view, mother is home. She is there to answer questions, to make a dosai or say "Go make yourself a nice dosai."
Day11026
[Rules to follow to be happy]
Rules to follow to be happy
[Articles] > Rules to follow to be happy
Don't wish too much, your fate is predestined.
Don't worry too much, nobody knows what may happen tomorrow.
Don't look after children too long, they have their own life to live.
Don't be sad, people find it hard not to see smiling faces.
Don't be fashionable, just keep warm to escape the cold.
Don't be gluttonous, you know what food becomes after it passes through you.
Don't be miserly, you can't take money with you when you die.
Don't hold property so tightly, it must pass from past hands into future ones.
Don't be so proud, your riches and honor won't last forever.
Don't be jealous, others have only what fate has given them.
Don't be wasteful, only diligence and frugality can make you free of debt.
Don't be vengeful, there's no end to vengeance.
Don't plan to far ahead, the world is like a chess game.
Don't play tricks, you may be ruined by your own cleverness.
Don't scold others, nobody can be sure never to err.
Don't divine your fate, your behavior determines your own fate.
Don't be so busy, one unexpected event can make everything fall apart.
The University of Hard Knocks
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"He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his
God, and he shall be my son"--Revelation 21:7.
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
institutes, club gatherings, conventions and before various other
lecturing, because his lectures deal with universal human
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
requires effort--Prodigals must be bumped--The fly and the sticky
III. THE COLLEGE OF NEEDFUL KNOCKS, the bumps that bump into
the "red mud" becomes razor-blades--The world our mirror--The
fatal rattle--We must get ready to get--Testimonials and press
equalize--Help people to help themselves--We cannot get things till
V. GOING UP--How we become great--We must get inside greatness--
There is no top--We make ourselves great by service--the
first step at hand--All can be greatest--Where to find great
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
orations--My maiden sermon--The books that live have been
my schoolmates--At the grave of the boy I had envied--Why Ben Hur
but stop--Few go on south--The plague of incompetents--Today our
best day, tomorrow to be better--Birthdays are promotions--I am
just beginning--Bernhardt, Davis, Edison--Moses begins at
eighty--Too busy to bury--Sympathy for the "sob squad"--Child sees
worst days, not best--Waiting for the second table--Better days on
principle, not praise--Doing duty for the joy of it--Becoming the
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
lecture go differently before every audience. The kind of an
mother wanted to make ginger-bread or cookies, she would send me to
the woodshed to get a bucket of sorghum from that barrel.
Some warm September day I would pull the plug from the barrel and
the sorghum would fairly squirt into my bucket. Later in the fall
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
If you get the feeling that the first personal pronoun is being
lecture. You cannot confess without referring to the confesser.
To Everybody in My Audience
I like you because I am like you.
I believe in you because I believe in myself. We are all one
family. I believe in your Inside, not in your Outside, whoever you
I believe in the Angel of Good inside every block of human marble.
I believe it must be carved out in The University of Hard Knocks.
I believe all this pride, vanity, selfishness, self-righteousness,
hypocrisy and human frailty are the Outside that must be chipped
I believe the Hard Knocks cannot injure the Angel, but can only
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
happy that I am learning the sweet tho painful lessons of the
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.
young, and now two and two made seven, because we lived so much faster.
It is so hard to tell young people anything. They know better. So
they have to get bumped just where we got bumped, to learn that two
But if you will remember some of these things, they will feel like
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.
high-chair throne right up beside the dinner table. The coffee-pot
I became enamored with that coffee-pot. I decided I needed that
coffee-pot in my business. I reached over to get the coffee-pot.
Then I discovered a woman beside me, my mother. She was the most
meddlesome woman I had ever known. I had not tried to do one thing
in three years that that woman had not meddled into.
I was reaching over to get it, that woman said, "Don't touch that!"
The longer I thought about it the more angry I became. What right
has that woman to meddle into my affairs all the time? I have stood
this petticoat tyranny three years, and it is time to stop it!
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.
coffee-pot would spill upon me. I cannot remember when I disobeyed
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,
"Child of humanity, do right, walk in the right path. You will be
wiser and happier." The tongues in the trees, the books in the
running brooks and the sermons in the stones all repeat it.
But we are not compelled to walk in the right path. We are free
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.
be pushed all the time.
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
drift and be amused and follow false gods that promise something
for nothing. They must be led--sometimes driven--by minorities.
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
fill up with disappointment, their vision becomes dulled. They
become anaemic feeding upon the husks.
How they must be bumped to think upon their ways. Every time we do
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
where your poor dear father was lost." And Johnny Fly remembers for
set go over to the flypaper, he goes over, too. He gazes down at
flypaper shows me up better than anything at home. What a fine
place to skate. Just see how close I can fly over it and not get
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
You were bumped yesterday or years ago. Maybe the wound has not yet
healed. Maybe you think it never will heal. You wondered why you
You were doing right--doing just the best you knew how--and yet
heart broken more times than I care to talk about now. Your home
more to live for.
But I am discovering that life only gets good after we have been
are lessons in The College of Needful Knocks. They point upward to
a higher path than we have been traveling.
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
have been tried in the crucibles of affliction. For I am learning
See the piano on this stage? Good evening, Mr. Piano. I am glad to
see you. You are so shiny, beautiful, valuable and full of music,
here. This is no reflection upon the janitor. You became a piano by
I can see you back in your callow beginnings, when you were just a
There you stood in the forest, a perfectly good, green young tree.
You got your lessons, combed your hair, went to Sunday school and
were the best young tree you could be.
That is why you were bumped--because you were good! There came a
man into the woods with an ax, and he looked for the best trees
there to bump. He bumped you--hit you with the ax! How it hurt you!
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.
One day I was up the Missabe road about a hundred miles north of
Duluth, Minnesota, and came to a hole in the ground. It was a big
"That hain't red mud. That's iron ore, an' it's the best iron ore
until you move it--send it to college or somewhere.
of this same red mud. It had been moved over the Great Lakes and
the rails to what they call a blast furnace, the technological name
of which being The College of Needful Knocks for Red Mud.
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
not red mud now, because it had been roasted. It was a freshman--
pig iron, worth more than red mud, because it had been roasted.
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
why did they take me away from my happy hole-in-the-ground? Why do
they pound me and break my heart? I have been good and faithful. O,
it had been roasted--they took it proudly all over the world,
labeled "Made in America." They hung it in show windows, they put
money for what had been roasted the most.
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
There is no human diamond that has not been crystallized in the
crucibles of affliction. There is no gold that has not been refined
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
said. "I have been in pain most of my life. But I have learned all
that I know sitting in this chair. I have learned to be patient and
They told me this crippled woman was the sweetest-spirited,
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
daughter and nobody interested in me? Why is my daughter happy and
why am I not happy? My daughter is always happy and she hasn't a
single thing to make her happy. I am not happy. I have not been
happy for years. Why am I not happy?"
"Madam, I don't want to be unkind, but I really think the reason
you are not happy is that you haven't been bumped enough."
I discover when I am unhappy and selfish and people don't use me
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
prosperity do not often travel hand-in-hand. When we become
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
business might wreck. Your fortune might be swept away. Your good
name might be tarnished. Bereavement might take from you the one
You are down and out." Do not believe that you are down and out,
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
The truth is, another chapter of your real education has been
There is a silver lining to every hard knocks cloud.
greatness. We go up in life. We become educated. Let me bring you
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
You laugh? You don't believe that? Maybe your roads are so good
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.
I saw that for thirty years before I saw it. Did you ever notice
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.
half-filled with small white beans and a few walnuts.
beans and some walnuts. You will pardon me for bringing such a
simple and crude apparatus before you in a lecture, but I ask your
forbearance. I am discovering that we can hear faster thru the eye
than thru the ear. I want to make this so vivid that you will never
forget it, and I do not want these young people to live thirty
years before they see it.
If there are sermons in stones, there must be lectures in cans.
This is a canned lecture. Let the can talk to you awhile.
You note as I shake the jar the little beans quickly settle down
and the big walnuts shake up. Not one bean asks, "Which way do I
automatically goes the right way. The little ones go down and the
themselves just as they were before.
Suppose those objects could talk. I think I hear that littlest bean
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
Bean!" And you see I put them down.
But I shake the can, and the big ones go right back to the top with
the same shakes that send the little ones back to the bottom.
There is only one way for those objects to change their place in
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.
We shake down if we become small; we shake up if we become great.
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
the Chicago house where a number of young ladies worked. Some of
them had been there for a long time. There came a raw, green Dutch
got the bottom job.
The other girls poked fun at her and played jokes upon her because
Do you remember that green things grow?
"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
she had been put at, she would discover something else that ought
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
had been put at, they would wait--O, so patiently they would
wait--to be told what to do next.
time they had been there. Nothing ever escaped her. She had become
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
superintendent. Jennie had been here four years."
The other day in a paper-mill I was standing beside a long machine
neither. I don't work in there." And he did not betray the least
desire to know anything about anything.
man over there at the supercalendered machine?" pointing to the man
who didn't know. "Is he a human being?"
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
do not even get invited. We often become discouraged as we look at
the top-branchers, and we say, "O, if I only had his chance! If I
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.
But if we let life become routine, we are shaking down. The very
be learning new things and discovering new joys in our daily
routine or we become unhappy. If we go on doing just the same
our eyes glued to precedents--just turning round and round in our places
and not growing any, pretty soon we become mere machines. We wear
forward and upward. That is the only way to hold our place.
The farmer must be learning new things about farming to hold his
place this progressive age as a farmer. The merchant must be
growing into a greater, wiser merchant to hold his place among his
competitors. The minister must be getting larger visions of the
ministry as he goes back into the same old pulpit to keep on
filling it. The teacher must be seeing new possibilities in the
same old schoolroom. The mother must be getting a larger horizon in
journals labeled "Finishing Schools," and "A Place to Finish Your
students will get the idea they are being finished, which finishes
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.
But unless we have grown as great as the place we would be a 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
great boots, but he rattles. He must grow greater feet before he
gets greater boots. But he must get the feet before he gets the
We must get ready for things before we get them.
Moses was eighty years getting ready to do forty years work. The
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 pumpkin in one summer, with the accent on the "punk."
We can be a mushroom in a day, with the accent on the "mush." But
we cannot become an oak that way.
the most testimonials generally needs them most to keep him from
rattling. A testimonial so often becomes a crutch.
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
I am the greatest ever, and should he return, no hall would be able
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
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
succeeded by twice as many more. They fail because instead of
having the barrel do the uplifting, they try to do it with a
You cannot uplift a beggar by giving him alms. You are using the
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
beggar sitting at the gate Beautiful. Every day the beggar had been
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
hopeless cripple. No doubt he belonged after a few days of the
"helping" to the Jerusalem Beggars' Union and carried his card.
Maybe he paid a commission for such a choice beggars' beat.
I used to say, "Nobody uses me right. Nobody gives me a chance."
But if chances had been snakes, I would have been bitten a hundred
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
rich wasn't getting richer and the poor poorer, I'd be president of a
I am so glad now that I did not get to be president of the bank.
They are glad, too! I would have rattled down in about fifteen
minutes, down to the peanut row, for I was only a peanut. Remember,
The 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
wanted them! They would have been coffee-pots. Thank goodness, we
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!
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
How We Become Great
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
We may become very great, very educated, rise very high, and yet
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 higher we rise, the better we see that life on this planet is
the going up from the Finite to the Infinite.
The world says that to get greatness means to get great things. So
being things on the inside, not in getting things on the outside.
I weary of the world's pink-sheet extras about "Getting to the Top"
and "Forging to the Front." Too often they are the sordid story of
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
"Are ye able to drink of the cup?" Then he gave the only definition
of greatness that can ever stand: "Whosoever will be great among
you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among
you, let him be your servant."
That is we cannot be "born great," nor "have greatness thrust upon"
inside--developing ability to minister and to serve.
We cannot buy a great arm. Our arm must become a great servant, and
thus it becomes great.
We cannot buy a great mind. Our mind must become a great servant,
and thus it becomes great.
Everybody's privilege and duty is to become great. And the joy of
to go off to New York or Chicago or go chasing around the world to
become great. It is a great stairway that leads from where our feet
are now upward for an infinite number of steps.
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
We find our kitchen or workshop or office becoming a new throne
of power. We find the world around us rising up to call us blessed.
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
have been only a boy playing on the seashore * * * while the great
ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me." That great ocean is
before us all.
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
Becoming great is overcoming our selfishness and fear. He that
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.
Every work is drudgery when done selfishly. Every work becomes
I do not know who fitted the boards into the floor I stand upon. I
come and stand upon it, if each be doing his work with the same
We have to look farther than the "Who's Who" and Dun and Bradstreet
to make a roster of the great people of a community. You will find
the community heart in the precious handful who believe that the
The great people of the community serve and sacrifice for a better
tomorrow. They are the faithful few who get behind the churches,
They are the ones who are "always trying to run things." They are
the happy ones, happy for the larger vision that comes as they go
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
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,
He had broken away from Chicago to have a vacation. Many people
under trees or letting the mind become a blank. But this Chicago
preacher went from one chautauqua town to another, and took his
vacation going up and down the streets. He dug into the local
history of each place, and before dinner he knew more about the
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.
If he had begun life by "taking care of himself" and "looking out
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
came from the struggle. When the people became materially prosperous
and surrendered to ease and indulgence, they became fat, stall-fed weaklings.
Then they fell a prey to younger, hardier peoples.
have become strong men and women thru their struggles, who are
saying, "Our children shall have better chances than we had. We are
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
generally means getting out of his way. Many an orphan can be
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
nothing. He had become rich and honored. Every man in the mill
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
blindness of his love he robbed his boy of his birthright.
The birthright of every child is the opportunity of becoming
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
You remember, then, that after he matriculates--after he gets the
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,
done and the paint was dry. He was a thing of beauty.
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
the streets. The little old man had been translated.
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
would swell up. How fast he grew! He became the most useful man in
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
fool of Gussie. They said Bill succeeded so well because he never
went to one of "them highbrow schools." I am sorry to say I thought
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.
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
greatness, physically, mentally and morally. I believe I know some
people liberally educated who cannot write their own names. But
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.
That is why they say, "All my life I have been handicapped by lack of
proper preparation. Don't make my mistake, children, go to school."
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
the books, remember, you are having a commencement, not an
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
gibbeted in the pulpits as the shocking example of youthful
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
the training of their children. Poverty is a better trainer for the rest.
But Nature's eliminating process is kind to the race in the barrel
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.
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
But remember there is little virtue in work unless it is getting us
somewhere. Just work that gets us three meals a day and a place to
lie down to sleep, then another day of the same grind, then a year
of it and years following until our machine is worn out and on the
Such a worker is like the packhorse who goes forward to keep ahead
of the whip. Such a worker is the horse we used to have hitched to
hearing nothing, his head down, without ambition enough to prick up
follow their nose. "Dumb, driven cattle."
But getting a vision of life, and working to grow upward to it,
even the packhorse job, because it is our "meal ticket" that
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
almost every day of the year--maybe two or three times some
one round of joy, and I ought to pay people for the privilege of
speaking and writing to them instead of them paying me!
If I did not like my work, of course, I would be carrying a
You see, I have no time nowadays to break down. I have no time to
think and grunt and worry about my body. And like Paul I am happy
to be "absent from the body and present with the Lord." Thus this
old body behaves just beautifully and wags along like the tail
follows the dog when I forget all about it. The grunter lets the
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."
log-cabin ancestry has been over-confessed for campaign purposes.
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
not believe there is a school in America with a greater alumni roll
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
the old oak-slab bench with its splintered side up.
not be rows of lithographed cans on the shelves of life. I am
hoping they will not be shorn of their individuality, but will have
it stimulated and unfettered. I am anxious that they be not
All this school machinery is only machinery. Back of it must be
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
Can we keep men before millions, and keep our ideals untainted 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
All of us are Christopher Columbuses, discovering the same new-old
truth becomes a new blessing. Then the oldest, driest platitude
crystallizes into a flashing jewel to delight and enrich our
There is such a difference between reading a thing and knowing a
I used to stand in the row of blessed little rascals in the
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
longer than a human being. They are so smart you cannot teach them
with a few bumps. They have to be pulverized.
That sentence takes me back to the days when I was a "hired man" on
the farm. You might not think I had ever been a "hired man" on the
you might not believe that I had ever trained an orphan calf to
I remember the first county fair I ever attended. Fellow sufferers,
you may remember that at the county fair all the people sort out to
their own departments. Some people go to the canned fruit
department. Some go to the fancywork department. Some go to the
swine department. Everybody goes to his own department. Even the
went--to the "trimming department."
I was in the "trimming department" in five minutes. Nobody told me
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
know he was a gentleman because he said he was a gentleman. He had
became too sultry he would move to greener pastures. On that table
the middle shell. I saw it there, being naturally bright. I was the
under the end shell and bet me money it was under the end shell.
I had saved up my money for weeks to attend the fair. I bet it all
And he seemed like a real nice old gentleman, and maybe he had a
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
hear of a rubber plantation in Central America? That was mine.
between an oil proposition and an oil well! The learning has been
I used to wonder how I ever could spend my income. I do not wonder now.
"Everglades"? I have an alligator ranch there. It is below the
frost-line, also below the water-line. I will sell it by 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
increased my faith that the next ship would be mine. Good, honest,
retired ministers would come periodically and sell me stock in some
buy because I knew the minister was honest and believed in it. He
was selling it on his reputation. Favorite dodge of the promoter to
get the ministers to sell his shares.
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
It would have been better for me if I had thrown about all my
savings into the bottom of the sea.
never met. His name was Thomas A. Cleage, and he was in the Rialto
"You have been selected."
was a friend of our family. "You have been selected because you are
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
train for St. Louis. I was afraid somebody might beat me there if
I waited till next day. I sat up all night in a day coach to save
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
I think it must have been a pool, for I know I fell in and got
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
cannot tell him anything, because he is naturally bright and knows
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
you are naturally bright. When you get a letter, "You have been
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
as you described. The saddest part of it is that the money nearly
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
like them better, because every year I am getting younger. Damsel
Number One comes forth and begins:
"Beyond the Alps (sweep arms forward to the left, left arm leading)
lieth Italy!" (Bring arms down, letting fingers follow the wrist.
How embarrassing at a commencement for the fingers not to follow
the wrist! It is always a shock to the audience when the wrist
means, let the fingers follow the wrist, just as the elocution
Sweet Girl Graduate Number 2, generally comes second. S. G. G. No.
We are laughing the happy laugh at how we have learned these great
You get the most beautiful and sublime truths from Emerson's
essays. (How did they ever have commencements before Emerson?) But
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
been "selected": Maybe this was a local call, not long distance.
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.
I bedecked it with metaphors and semaphores. I filled it with
"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
that earlier. I wish now I had sat down before I got up. I was the
last man out of the church--and I hurried. But they beat me
out--all nine of them. When I went out the door, the old sexton
said as he jiggled the key in the door to hurry me, "Don't feel
I cried all the way to town. If he had plunged a dagger into me he
would not have hurt me so much. It has taken some years to learn
about what you know best, what you have lived. If you know more
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
been lived. Perhaps the books that fail have just as much of truth
in them and they may even be better written, yet they lack the
The best part of our schooling comes not from the books, but from
the men behind the books.
So many young people think because they have a good voice and they have
and irrigation and gargling of the throat are merely symptoms of
a singer--merely neckties. Singers look better with neckties.
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
Berlin, but she had lived that song. She didn't dress the notes
half so beautifully as Jessie did, but she sang it with the
All this was gall and wormwood to Jessie. "Child," I said to her,
"this is the best singing lesson you have ever had. Your study is
all right and you have a better voice than that woman, but you
never know the ache and disappointment you must know before you can
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
resources. I have had years of struggle. I have been sick and
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
the University of Hard Knocks. She here became the song philosopher
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.
The popular song is the song that best voices what is in the
it is a tribute to the good elements in humanity that the
continue to hold their popularity.
become wrecks. But I am insisting upon what I see written all
have worthy visions but are not able to translate them into
looking upward, and half the time their feet are in the flower-beds
ideas must be forged into usefulness available for this day upon
Many of the most brilliant theorists have been the greatest
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
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
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
the floor when you could not sleep. You have learned that "beyond
A good many of you were bumped today or yesterday, or maybe years
because this is a polite and attentive neighborhood. But down in
man talking about? I haven't had these things and I'm not going to
Maybe some of you are naturally bright!
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
trust most betray you. Maybe, betray you with a kiss. You will go
You will see all that seems to make life livable lost out of your
to live for."
For all lives have about the same elements. Your life is going to
be about like other lives.
And you are going to learn the wonderful lesson thru the years, the
bumps and the tears, that all these things somehow are necessary to
soul tighter and tighter, nearer and nearer to God's great concert
had been sending forth the noise and discord.
and understanding come into our lives.
father being a country preacher, we had tin spoons. We never had to
Do you remember the first money you ever earned? I do. I walked
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
handle it, hence the tale that follows.
means green sixteen. But remember again, only green things grow.
I had never studied pedagogy, but I had whittled out three rules
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
with the sheepshears. Mother had been busy with the wash-rag--clear
back of the ears! And into them! So many of them wore collars that
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
now that if Patrick Henry had been present, he would have said,
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
got up before that "last day of school" audience and opened my
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
front rows with their families, and maybe all the old scores have
not yet been settled. The boy he fought with may be down there.
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
could live in that hotel was a superior order of being. But the
I held thanksgiving services that night. I could see better. I had
a picture of the school in that town that had been taken twenty-one
years before, just before commencement. I had not seen the picture
these twenty-one years, for I could not then afford to buy one. The
before? It is a memorable experience.
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
not the one you may be thinking of! No, it was Jim Lambert. He had
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
Most of them were doing very well even Jim Lambert. Jim had become
a lot of men working for him. The committee that took him out
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.
They hung a picture of Mr. Lambert in the high school at the last
stood that night.
Dull boy or girl--you with your eyes tear-dimmed sometimes because
you do not seem to learn like some in your classes can you not get
a bit of cheer from the story of Jim?
young people in that picture. They had been shaken these years 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
almost every note on the keyboard of human possibility had been
yet most of them seemed already to have decided their destinies.
The twenty-one years that followed had not changed their courses.
The only changes had come where God had come into a life to uplift
it, or where Mammon had entered to pull it down. And I saw better
that the foolish dreams of success faded before the natural
unfolding of talents, which is the real success. I saw better that
"the boy is father to the man."
work as a man. The boy who went to the bottom of things in school
was going to the bottom of things in manhood. Which had helped him
to go to the top of things!
Jim Lambert had merely followed the call of talents unseen in him
twenty-one years before.
The lazy boy became a "tired" man. The industrious boy became an
industrious man. The sporty boy became a sporty man. The
domineering egotist boy became the domineering egotist man.
The boy who traded knives with me and beat me--how I used to envy
him! Why was it he could always get the better of me? Well, he went
on trading knives and getting the better of people. Now, twenty-one
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?
He'll be President of the United States some day, and you'll be in
jail." But Model Harry sat around all his life being a model. I
believe Mr. Webster defines a model as a small imitation of the
real thing. Harry certainly was a successful model. He became a
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
beauty contest. Clarice went right on remaining in the social
seemed like she was all out-shine and no in-shine. She mistook
her. Most of the girls who shone with less social luster became the
happy homemakers of the community.
But as I looked into the face of Jim Lambert in the picture, my
irish lass who became an "old maid." She had worked day by day all
these years to support a home and care for her family. She had kept
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
all the struggle taken out of his life. He never followed his
Why Ben Hur Won
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
committed. Ben Hur did not get a fair trial. Nobody can get a fair
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
the lash. Years of the cruel injustice pass. Ben Hur is the
That seems to be your life and my life. In the kitchen or the
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
circus. See Messala, the haughty Roman, and see! Ben Hur from the
forearms of Ben Hur. They swing those flying Arabians into the
inner ring. Ben Hur wins the race! Where got the Jew those huge
Had Ben Hur never pulled on the oar, he never could have won the
Sooner or later you and I are to learn that Providence makes no
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.
I thanked God for parents who believed in the gospel of struggle,
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.
My friends, here is one of the best pictures I can find in nature
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.
Remember, the Mississippi goes south. If he had gone any other
direction he would never have been heard of.
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
the Mississippi, river. he would become a stagnant, poisonous pond.
they stop and stagnate, they die.
GROW GREATER! I hope I can make you remember that and say it over
knee-pants achievement, some kindergarten touchdown, succumb to
their press notices. Their friends crowd around them to congratulate
So many of those young goslings believe that. They quit and get
canned. They think they have gotten to the Gulf of Mexico when they
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
become good servants, workmen or artists. The young people get a
smattering and squeeze into the bottom position and never go on
south to efficiency and promotion. They wonder why their genius is
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.
This Is Our Best Day
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
We say, "I've seen my best days." And the undertaker goes and
greases his buggy. He believes in "preparedness."
Go on south! We have not seen our best days. This is the best day
so far, and tomorrow is going to be better on south.
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
We have left nothing behind but the husks. I would not trade this
moment for all the years before it. I have their footings at
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
ticket-window or on the bench--or under the hod--and you find 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
never get any better. I had reached my limit. Those lectures were
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
boots. He just hibernated and "chawed on."
Bernhardt, Davis and Edison
The spectacle of Sarah Bernhardt, past seventy, thrilling and
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 last man on the bench did not rise. He helplessly looked up at
the senator and said, "Senator, you'll have to excuse me from
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,"
because he was going on south.
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!
who did not believe that Mr. Edison had succeeded. His name was
Thomas Alva Edison. He had gotten to St. Paul, and he went on
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
before I hit upon that."
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."
What a difference between "ed" and "ing"! The difference between
Moses Begins at Eighty
Moses, the great Hebrew law-giver, was eighty years old before he
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
fifty-four," he would have become the seventeenth mummy on the
Imagine Moses living today amidst the din of the high school
time" when he becomes the leader of the Israelite host.
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
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."
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
absorbed in our going that we'll fool the "committee."
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.
tribulations, and I'll be in that bright and happy land." What will
they do with them when they get them there? They would be dill
They say, "I wish I were a child again. I was happy when I was a
child and I'm not happy now. Them was the best days of my life
Wake up! Your clock has run down. Anybody who wants to be a child
again is confessing he has lost his memory. Anybody who can remember
the horrors of childhood could not be hired to live it over again.
sorry for a child. Hurry up and go on south. It is better on south.
I wish I could forget many of my childhood memories. I remember the
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.
I can only remember about four big meals in a year. That was
meeting day." Elder Berry would stay for dinner. His name was
Berry, but being "presiding elder," we called him Elder Berry.
Elder Berry always stayed for dinner. He was one of the easiest men
to get to stay for dinner I ever saw.
Mother would stay home from "quart'ly meeting" to get the big
jelly. I don't just remember if they had blue jelly, but if they
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.
And then Elder Berry would sit down at the table, at the end
nearest the fried chicken. The "company" would sit down. I used to
"company" had to come and gobble it up. They would fill the table
me to sit. Father would say, "You go into the next room, my boy,
The hungriest one of that assemblage would have to go in the next
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
the neck! And I would hear them say, "Elder Berry, may we help you
to another piece of the chicken?"
And Elder Berry would take the neck!
Many a time after that, Elder Berry would come into the room where
boy?" He would come over to the remains of Brother Parlette's boy.
He would often put his hand in benediction upon my head.
My head was not the place that needed the benediction.
He would say, "My boy, I want you to have a good time now." Now!
you are seeing the best days of your life right now as a child."
good time, it's a child. Life has been getting better ever since,
and today is the best day of all. Go on south!
It's Better on South
Seeing your best days as a child? No! You are seeing your worst
days. Of course, you can be happy as a child. A boy can be happy
with fuzz on his upper lip, but he'll be happier when his lip feels
A child can be full of happiness and only hold a pint. But
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
be developed. So many of us do not understand that. We look
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,
ring up the hearse, for you will be a "dead one."
along the street in almost any town and see the dead ones. There
they 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.
few miles below the Twin Cities and see how, by some mysterious
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
becomes, he goes a few miles on south and he is all pure again.
become poisoned by bitter memories and bitter regrets. We carry
us, that sometimes we are bank to bank full of poison and a menace
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
for a better community, gets discouraged at times.
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,
unhappy pond or swamp.
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
be personal saviours. They say this is an ungrateful world.
O, how easy it is to say these things, and how hard it is to do them!
But because the Mississippi does these things, one day the train I
was riding stopped in Louisiana. We had come to a river so great
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
conquering gloriously. You bear upon your bosom the commerce of
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.
And when physical banks fail, we go on south beyond this mere husk,
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
I have builded?" says the Belshazzar of material prosperity as he
drinks to his gods. Then must come the Needful and Needless Knocks
handwriting upon the wall to save him.
You have to shoot many men's eyes out before they can see. You have
to crack their heads before they can think, knock them down before
they can stand, break their hearts before they can sing, and
bankrupt them before they can be rich.
Do you remember that they had to lock John Bunyan in Bedford jail
before he would write his immortal "Pilgrim's Progress"? It may be
that some of us will have to go to jail to do our best work.
Do you remember that one musician became deaf before he wrote music
the world will always hear? Do you remember that one author became
blind before writing "Paradise Lost" the world will always read?
Do you remember that Saul of Tarsus would have never been
remembered had he lived the life of luxury planned for him? He had
to be 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
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
tho twelve years of my life had dropped out of it, and had been
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
cannot be described with this poor human vocabulary. It must be
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
I saw clouds down in the valley below me. I had never before looked
valley below, and dully watched the clouds spread wider and blacker.
must be falling down there. The people must be saying, "The sun
could see all this because I had gone above the valley. I could see
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.
Late that day I was clambering down the side of Mount Lowe. Down in
the valley below me I saw shadows. Then I looked over into the
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."
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.
This will be another Commencement Day and Master's Degree. Infinite
the number on up. "Eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither have
entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared
We are not growing old. We are going up to Eternal Life.
ANOTHER BEGINNING
Turning work Into Play
happiness now in our work, and not tomorrow for our work.
Judge Ben B. Lindsey, the kids' Judge, says:
ought to buy them by the gross and send them to their friends."
Dr. J. G. Crabbe, President of the State Teachers College,
"The Big Business of Life is a real joy to read. It is big and
ought to be read today and tomorrow and forevermore every
The Augsberg Teacher, a Magazine for Teachers, says:
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
book before us is wholesome and vivacious. It provokes many
a smile, and beneath each one is a bit of wisdom it would do us
a world of good to learn. It recalls the saying of the wise man
write us that they think it is even better than "The
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
Garcia and will be handed around just us much. I have handed the book
to business men, to young fellows, bond salesmen and such, to our
own vice president, and they all want another copy to send to some
friend. I would rather be author of it than president of the bank."
Up to You!" for their workers.
one of the great stories of the day."
Mississippi River story together and we were thoroly delighted."
Instruct us to send one of these booklets to your friends. It will
End of Project Gutenberg etext of "The University of Hard Knocks"
Rutger Kortenhorst
He is also known as Mrutyunjayah. He is an active member of School of Practical Philosophy and Economic Sciences.
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.
The precision of Sanskrit stems from the unparalleled detail on how the actual sounds of the alphabet are structured and defined. The sounds have a particular place in the mouth, nose and throat that can be defined and will never change. This is why in Sanskrit the letters are called the ‘Indestructibles’ [aksharáni]. Sanskrit is the only language that has consciously laid out its sounds from first principles. So the five mouth-positions for all Indestructibles [letters] are defined and with a few clearly described mental and physical efforts all are systematically planned: [point out chart]
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?
The qualities of Sanskrit will become the qualities of your child- that is the mind and heart of your child will become beautiful, precise and reliable.
Sanskrit automatically teaches your child and anybody else studying it to pay FINE attention due to its uncanny precision. When the precision is there the experience is, that it feels uplifting. It makes you happy. It is not difficult even for a beginner to experience this. All you have to do is fine-tune your attention and like music you are drawn in and uplifted. This precision of attention serves all subjects, areas and activities of life both while in school and for the rest of life. This will give your child a competitive advantage over any other children. They will be able to attend more fully, easily and naturally. Thus in terms of relationships, work, sport– in fact all aspects of life, they will perform better and gain more satisfaction. Whatever you attend to fully, you excel in and you enjoy more.
By studying Sanskrit, other languages can be learnt more easily; this being the language all others borrow from fractionally. The Sanskrit grammar is reflected in part in Irish or Greek, Latin or English. They all have a part of the complete Sanskrit grammar. Some being more developed than others, but always only a part of the Sanskrit grammar, which is complete in itself.
What Sanskrit teaches us that there is a language that is ordered, following laws unfailingly and as they are applied your child gets uplifted, not only when they grow up, but as they are saying it! This means they get an unusual but precise, definite and clear insight into language while they are enjoying themselves.
They learn to speak well, starting from Sanskrit, the mother language of all languages. Those who speak well run the world. Barack Obama makes a difference because he can speak well. Mahatma Gandhi could move huge crowds with well-balanced words. Mother Theresa could express herself with simple words which uplift us even now. The language of the great Master Teachers of mankind from times past is all we have got after centuries and millennia, but they make all the difference. We can enter the remarkable mind of Plato through his words. If your daughter or son can express themselves well through conscious language they will be the leaders of the next generation.
Sanskrit has the most comprehensive writings in the world expressed through the Vedas and the Gítá. The Upanishads –translated by William Butler Yeats have given people from all over the world an insight into universal religious feelings for more than one century now. To know these well expressed simple words of wisdom in the original is better than dealing with copies or translations as copies are always inferior to originals. We really need clear knowledge on universal religion in an age faced with remarkable levels of religious bigotry and terrorism arising from poorly understood and half-baked religious ideas.
You can put a mass of knowledge into the world, but that will not do it much good. There must come some culture into the blood. We all know in modern times of nations which have masses of knowledge, but what of them? They are like tigers; they are like savages, because culture is not there. Knowledge is only skin-deep, as civilization is, and a little scratch brings out the old savage. Such things happen; this is the danger. Teach the masses in the vernaculars, give them ideas; they will get information, but something more is necessary; give them culture.
Sanskrit can help your child to express universal, harmonious and simple truths better. As a result you will really have done your duty as a parent and the world will reap the benefits in a more humane, harmonious and united society. Sanskrit can do this as it is the only language that is based in knowledge all the way. Nothing is left to chance.
Just think for the moment how confusing it is for a child to learn to say ‘rough’ , but ‘dough’. And why does the ‘o’ in ‘woman’ sound like an ‘e’ in ‘women’? How come the ‘ci’ in ‘special’ is different from the ‘ci’ in ‘cinema’? Teachers may well say ‘Just learn it’ as there is no logical explanation, but it only demonstrates to a child that it is all a bit of a hit-and-miss affair. What else does this randomness in the fundamental building-blocks of language teach a child about the world? That it’s just a confusing, random chance-event? How can this give anyone any confidence?
Now go to a language where everything is following rules. Where nothing is left to chance from the humble origin of a letter to the most sophisticated philosophical idea. How will that child meet the world? Surely with confidence, clarity and the ability to express itself?
I have seen myself and others growing in such qualities, because of our contact with Sanskrit. I have just spent a year in India. Though it felt a bit like camping in a tent for a year, it was well worth it. For many years, we taught Sanskrit like zealots i.e. with high levels of enthusiasm and low levels of understanding, to both adults in the School of Philosophy and children in John Scottus School. We did not perhaps inspire a lot of our students and may have put a number of them off the study of Sanskrit. It felt to me like we needed to go to the source. Sanskrit teachers worth their salt need to live with people whose daily means of communication is in Sanskrit. I had already spent three summers near Bangalore doing just that and becoming less of an amateur, but it really needed a more thorough study. So I moved into a traditional gurukulam for the year. This meant living on campus, eating lots of rice and putting up with a few power-cuts and water shortages, but by December 2009, I made up my mind that I would step down as vice-principal of the Senior School and dedicate myself to Sanskrit for the rest of my teaching life. It felt like a promotion to me as quite a few could be vice-principal but right now which other teacher could forge ahead in Sanskrit in Ireland? [Hopefully this will change before I pop off to the next world.] With Sanskrit I’m expecting my mind to improve with age even if my body slows down a little. Sanskrit is often compared to the full-time teacher, who is there for you 24/7 whereas the other languages are more like part-timers. The effects of studying Sanskrit on me have been first and foremost a realistic confidence. Secondly, it meant I had to become more precise and speak weighing my words more carefully. It also taught me to express myself with less waffle and therefore speak more briefly. My power of attention and retention has undoubtedly increased.
Now, let me explain for a few minutes, HOW Sanskrit is taught. To my surprise it is not taught well in most places in India. Pupils have to learn it from when they are around age 9 to 11 and then they give it up, because it is taught so badly! Only a few die-hards stick with it, in time teaching the same old endings endlessly to the next generation. This is partly due to India having adopted a craving to copy the West and their tradition having been systematically rooted out by colonialism.
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.
6. Any tedious memory work which cannot be avoided should be taught in a song.
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 makes you feel peaceful and happy.
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.

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