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* [World Attractions] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Ken Thompson] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [How to Think Like a Computer Scientist] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=How%20to%20Think%20Like%20a%20Computer%20Scientist]) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Ed Yourdon] (new) ..... 172.177.240.151
* [Electronic Review of Computer Books] (new) ..... 172.177.240.151
* [Things a Computer Scientist Rarely Talks About] (new) ..... 172.177.240.151
* [Donald Knuth] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Donald%20Knuth]) ..... 172.177.240.151
* [Carlton Vogt] (new) ..... kishore
* [The Invitation] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=The%20Invitation]) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [FrontPage] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=FrontPage]) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [ConvertSpacesToTabs] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=ConvertSpacesToTabs]) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [PhpWikiAdministration] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=PhpWikiAdministration]) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Internet Application Workbook] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [The Age of Reason] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Nonviolence and us] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Nonviolence%20and%20us]) ..... kishore
* [HTML Validation Service] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Elektronische Fahrplanauskunft Baden-Wuerttemberg] (new) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [Jonathan Wallace] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Jonathan%20Wallace]) ..... 194.39.131.40
* [honesty vs practical] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=honesty%20vs%20practical]) ..... 172.179.153.45
* [How to Write a Software Specification] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=How%20to%20Write%20a%20Software%20Specification]) ..... 172.178.7.68
* [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
* [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
* [Jonathan Abrams] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Jonathan%20Abrams]) ..... 155.56.66.13
* [Peter Hilton] (new) ..... 155.56.66.11
* [Bill Clinton] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Bill%20Clinton]) ..... 155.56.66.13
* [Richard Fritzson] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Richard%20Fritzson]) ..... 155.56.66.13
* [Beyond Vegetarianism] (new) ..... 172.177.64.89
* [John R. Henderson] (new) ..... 172.178.152.44
* [All Things Web] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=All%20Things%20Web]) ..... 172.178.152.44
* [Confucius] (new) ..... 172.178.152.44
* [Brent Simmons] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Brent%20Simmons]) ..... 172.178.152.44
* [William Damon] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=William%20Damon]) ..... 155.56.66.13
* [Conversation of William Knott and Mr Watt.] (new) ..... 155.56.66.11
* [Intuition] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Intuition]) ..... kishore
* [Sharon Franquemont] (new) ..... kishore
* [Grayson Harding] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=Grayson%20Harding]) ..... 172.176.215.120
* [Dan Sanderson] (new) ..... 172.176.215.120
* [meditation] ([diff|phpwiki:?diff=meditation]) ..... kishore
* [George Monbiot] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
* [Badminton] (new) ..... 194.39.131.39
____Day one (first day for this Wiki)
Index
* [Anthony de Mello] , [Osho]
A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.
* [Think on these Things], [Books That Changed My Life]
![Quotations]
* [All things must pass]
![Credits] and [Colophon]
![Spirituality] , [Religion] and [Mantras]
* [Meditation]
* [Philips] : Let's make things better
* Canon [Digital IXUS]
Books
"To read well, that is to read true books in a true spirit, is a noble exercise," Henry David Thoreau writes in Walden. "A written word is choicest of relics. It is something at once more intimate with us and more universal than any other work of art. It is the work of art nearest to life itself."
2009 09 24 Thu via http://www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2009/09/23.html
|<a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1430219483/carnaticcom"><img src="http://images.amazon.com/images/P/1430219483.01.TZZZZZZZ.jpg" border="0" alt="Coders at work" hspace="3" vspace="3"/></a>
2009 09 21 mon via http://ff.im/8rWbg
|<a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0307266303/carnaticcom"><img src="http://images.amazon.com/images/P/0307266303.01.TZZZZZZZ.jpg" border="0" alt="Born to Run" hspace="3" vspace="3"/></a>
|<a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0007161484/carnaticcom"><img src="http://images.amazon.com/images/P/0007161484.01.TZZZZZZZ.jpg" border="0" alt="Osho : The ABC of Enlightenment" hspace="3" vspace="3"/></a>
|<a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/157062318X/carnaticcom"><img src="http://images.amazon.com/images/P/157062318X.01.TZZZZZZZ.jpg" border="0" alt="Georg Feuerstein : Teachings of Yoga" hspace="3" vspace="3"/></a>
Daniel P. Goleman : [The Meditative Mind: Varieties of Meditative Experience|http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0874778336/carnaticcom]
[Andrew Cohen] : [Who Am I? and How Shall I Live?|http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1883929245/carnaticcom] : ...The heart of the spiritual life ultimately consists of two fundamental experiences: [meditation] and [contemplation]...
[Radha Burnier] : [no other path to go|http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/8170592763/carnaticcom]
[Chop Wood, Carry Water|http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0874772095/carnaticcom]: A Guide to Finding Spiritual Fulfillment in Everyday Life
Jiddu Krishnamurti : [Think on these things|http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0060916095/carnaticcom]
|<a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0060916095/ref=nosim/carnaticcom"><img src="http://images.amazon.com/images/P/0060916095.01.TZZZZZZZ.jpg" border="0" alt="Jiddu Krishnamurti : Think on these things" hspace="3" vspace="3"/></a>
Penelope Trunk : [Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success|http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0446578649/ref=nosim/carnaticcom]
|<a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0446578649/ref=nosim/carnaticcom"><img src="http://images.amazon.com/images/P/0446578649.01.TZZZZZZZ.jpg" border="0" alt="Penelope Trunk: Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success" hspace="3" vspace="3"/></a>
Scott Berkun : [The Myths of Innovation|http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0596527055/ref=nosim/carnaticcom]
|<a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0596527055/ref=nosim/carnaticcom"><img src="http://images.amazon.com/images/P/0596527055.01.TZZZZZZZ.jpg" border="0" alt="Scott Berkun: The Myths of Innovation" hspace="3" vspace="3"/></a>
Scott Berkun : [The Art of Project Management|http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0596007868/ref=nosim/carnaticcom]
|<a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0596007868/ref=nosim/carnaticcom"><img src="http://images.amazon.com/images/P/0596007868.01.TZZZZZZZ.jpg" border="0" alt="Scott Berkun: The Art of Project Management" hspace="3" vspace="3"/></a>
[Mortimer Jerome Adler] : "In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." (source : [Favorite Books & Reading Quotations|http://quotations.about.com/library/db/bltop_books.htm] )
[Rene Descartes] in [Discourse on the Method] : The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest men of past centuries.
Once there was a well known philosopher and scholar who devoted himself to the study of Zen for many years. On the day that he finally attained [enlightenment], he took all of his books out into the yard, and burned them all.
* [Think on These Things]
!Online
* [The Science of Reincarnation|http://www.mantra-meditation.com/science-of-reincarnation.html]
* [The Path: One Man's Quest on the Only Path There Is|http://www.crystalclarity.com/kriyananda/Table/table.html] by J. Donald Walters (Swami Kriyananda)
* [It's Only Natural|http://www.oneflesh.org/only-contents.html]
* [The Meditations|http://classics.mit.edu/Antoninus/meditations.html] - By Marcus Aurelius - Written 167 A.C.E.\
* [Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs|http://mitpress.mit.edu/sicp/full-text/book/book.html]
* [Art of Money Getting]
* [On-Line Books at Bharatvani.org|http://www.bharatvani.org/books.html]
* [One Minute Wisdom]
* [The Song of the Bird]
* [I Am That|http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0893860220/carnaticcom], [Pointers from Nisargadatta Maharaj|http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0893860336/carnaticcom] (via [Nisargadatta|http://users.pandora.be/ananda/ngdt.htm])
* [Ed Iglehart]'s [Readinglist and Inspirations|http://www.tipiglen.dircon.co.uk/readinglist.html]
* Craig's [BookNotes|http://booknotes.weblogs.com/] : Books, libraries, preservation, digital convergence, music, politics
* [Joel Spolsky] : I really want to hear what people think is the SINGLE best book on "painless software management." - [votes|http://discuss.fogcreek.com/joelonsoftware/default.asp?cmd=show&ixPost=934]
* [Ed Yourdon]'s [Virtual Book Store|http://www.yourdon.com/books/coolbooks/coolbooks.html]
* [Ian Alexander]'s [Reviews of Books on Requirements, Systems, and Software Engineering|http://easyweb.easynet.co.uk/~iany/reviews/reviews.htm]
I would like to hear from you... What is _the_ one book that changed your life ?
[Google-Friends Newsletter for April 2003|http://www.google.com/googlefriends/moreapr03.html#wait] : Based on a real but utterly unscientific sample of books lying open on Googler desks:
* Fast Food Nation (Eric Schlosser)
* Information Rules: A strategic guide to the network economy (Carl Shapiro)
* Readings in Information Retrieval (Karen Sparck Jones, editor)
Quotations
Quotations
[James Michener] : The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he's always doing both.
[John Searle] : In general, I feel if you can't say it clearly you don't understand it yourself.
[Christopher Wynter] : At the end of all Seeking... the Seeker is the one Sought.
Oliver Goldsmith : You can preach a better sermon with your life than with your
[Christopher Wynter] : "what you are looking for, is what you are looking out of, which is what is looking for you." --- " the the true teacher cannot teach you anything...but can only remind you of what, on some level...you already know."
[Voltaire] in [Freedom of Thought] : It rests entirely with you to learn to think. You're born with a mind. You are a bird in the cage of the Inquisition: the Holy Office has clipped your wings, but they can grow back. Whoever doesn't know geometry can learn it; every man can tutor himself: it's shameful to put your soul in the hands of those to whom you'd never trust your money. _Dare to think for yourself._
[John Stuart Mill] (in [On Liberty]): If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.
[George Harrison] : Everything else can wait but the search for God cannot wait, and love one another
[Swami Sivananda] : The [goal of life|http://www.SivanandaDlshq.org/messages/goal.htm] is god realisation.
In Illusions (by [Richard Bach]) : Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you're alive, it isn't.
[Janis Joplin] : Don't compromise yourself. You're all you've got.
Zhenzhou : The key to understanding is in oneself.
One who pays attention only to knowledge from outside will lose sight of one's own potential.
[Confucius] : By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third, by experience, which is the bitterest.
[Ralph Waldo Emerson] : Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
great principles are involved, as a rule the majority are wrong. The
truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and
they always fall. Think of it always.
2. Pleasure Without Conscience
[Martin Luther King, Jr.] : Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies
in a descending spiral of destruction... The chain reaction of
annihilation.
To ask is a moments shame, not to ask, and remain ignorant, is a lifelong shame.
[Gurdjieff used to say to his disciples|http://www.barnett.sk/software/osho/askosh71.htm] -- the first thing, the very very first thing, "Find out what your greatest characteristic is, your greatest undoing, your central characteristic of unconsciousness." Each one's is different.
Somebody is sex-obsessed. In a country like India, where for centuries sex has been repressed, that has become almost a universal characteristic; everybody is obsessed with sex. Somebody is obsessed with anger, and somebody else is obsessed with greed. You have to watch which is your basic obsession.
[Henry Miller], Sexus : Every day we slaughter our finest impulses. That is why we get a heart-ache when we read those lines written by the hand of a master and recognize them as our own, as the tender shoots which we stifled because we lacked the faith to believe in our own powers, our own criterion of truth and beauty. Every man, when he gets quiet, when he becomes desperately honest with himself, is capable of uttering profound truths. We all derive from the same source. There is no mystery about the origin of things. We are all part of creation, all kings, all poets, all musicians; we have only to open up, to discover what is already there.
[Helen Keller] : I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.
[Helen Keller] : I am only one; but I am still one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. I will not refuse to do the something I can do.
[Stephen Palmer] : To attribute an idea to solely one person is naivety; to attribute an idea solely to oneself is arrogance
* Software Manager: It's only a bug if you see it twice
* [Jeff De Luca] : Information Technology is 80% psychology and 20% technology
* [brian douglas skinner]'s [100 favorite quotes|http://www.gumption.org/1996/quotes.htm]
* [Roger Ebsen]'s [Quotes|http://www.actualizations.com/quotes/]
* [The QuotesPage|http://www.westegg.com/morgan/quotes.html] of [Steven Morgan Friedman] : "These quotes sum up my views on things"
* http://quotations.about.com/
* [L. Murphy Smith] [Quotations on Ethics|http://acct.tamu.edu/smith/ethics/quotes.htm]
Ten Commandments of Egoless Programming
Dan MacNeil <dan at lctc dot org> : ...the term "egoless programming" was created in [The Psychology Of Computer Programming]... - Can anyone let me know if these commandments are from that book !
* [builder.com: Lamont Adams: Ten Commandments of Egoless Programming|http://builder.com.com/5100-6404-1045782.html]
1. Understand and accept that you will make mistakes. The point is to find mistakes early, before they make it into production. Fortunately, except for the few of us developing rocket guidance software at [JPL|http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/], mistakes are rarely fatal in our industry. We aren't surgeons; we can learn, laugh, and move on.
2. You are not your code. Remember, the entire point of a review is to find problems and problems will be found. Don't take it personally when a problem is uncovered.
3. No matter how much karate you know, someone else will always know more. This fact kept the Samurai from indiscriminately attacking people in Imperial Japan. In our less violent times, the individual who knows more can teach you some new moves if you ask. There will always be people who know more than you. Seek and accept input from others, even when you think it's not needed.
4. Don't rewrite other programmers' code without consultation. There's a fine line between "fixing other programmers' code" and "rewriting other programmers' code." The former implies that a bug or other functionality problem exists and needs to be fixed; it can also refer to correcting gross readability problems. The latter, however, refers to changes made to code for the sake of style. Programmers fresh from college are often guilty of this. Things like renaming variables, the use of a different construct, recommenting, or gratuitous reformatting of white space fall into this category. Such activities, even with the purest of motives, are high hubris and detrimental to team mentality.
5. Treat people who know less than you with respect, deference, and patience. Nontechnical people who deal with developers on a regular basis almost universally hold the opinion that we are prima donnas at best and crybabies at worst. Becoming angry only reinforces this perception and teaches people to avoid asking questions. This can only harm your work in the long run.
6. The only constant in the world is change. Be open to it and accept it with a smile. Look at each change to your requirements, platform, or tool as a new challenge, not as some serious inconvenience to be fought.
7. The only true authority stems from knowledge, not from position. Knowledge engenders authority, and authority engenders respect so if you want respect in an egoless environment, cultivate knowledge.
8. Fight for what you believe but gracefully accept defeat. Understand that sometimes your ideas will be overruled. Even if you do turn out to be right, don't take revenge or say, "I told you so" more than a few times at most, and don't make your dearly departed idea a martyr or rallying cry.
9. Don't be "the guy in the room." Don't be the guy coding in the dark office emerging only to buy cola. The guy in the room is out of touch, out of sight, and out of control and has no place in an open, collaborative environment.
Science, Religion and the Big Bang Theory
[People] > [Osho] > Science, Religion and the Big Bang Theory
You said the other day that no one is interested any more in questions like "Who created the universe?" But a recent edition of Time magazine devoted considerable space to an article entitled "In the Beginning: God and Science."
The basic them of the article was that science and religion have been brought close together by the "big bang" theory of creation in which the universe is supposed to have come into being through a vast fireball explosion, fifteen or twenty billion years ago.
Time says that this sounds very much like the story which the old testament has been telling all along, namely that the universe began in a single flashing act of creation.
What is wrong with the hypothesis that the universe was created, that it had a beginning? And why do you assert that it did not? Is it not a step in the right direction when science and religion agree?
Subhuti, the first thing to remember is, for three hundred years religion has been losing its territory continuously. First, religion tried to destroy science. It was unable to do it -- because you cannot destroy truth, and science was truer, as far as the objective world is concerned, than religion. In fact religion has no authority to say anything about the objective world.
When you are ill you go to the physician, you don't go to the poet. The poet has no authority; he may be a great poet but that is irrelevant when you are ill. He may be a great poet, but when something goes wrong in your bathroom you don't call him, you call a plumber. The plumber may not be a poet at all, but the plumber is relevant there. You don't call Albert Einstein -- he may be a great physicist, but what does he know about plumbing?
Religion was proving to be utterly wrong. It was wrong about the objective world. Once science started investigating the objective, organized religion was very much afraid. If there had been a Jesus he would not have been afraid, he would simply have said: "About the objective, listen to science." If a Buddha was there he would have said: "Listen to science."
But there was no Buddha in the West where science was growing. And people like Galileo and Copernicus and Kepler were tortured in every possible way because organized religion, the church, became very much afraid: what they were saying was going against their scriptures.
The scientists were saying that the sun does not go around the earth -- and The Bible says it does. The scientists were saying the earth goes around the sun...now, if The Bible can be wrong in one thing, then why not in others? That was the problem, that was the fear.
The person who said that the earth goes around the sun was called to the court by the Vatican. Galileo had to appear, in his old age -- he was more than seventy, ill, on his deathbed, but he was forced to come to the court to declare there that whatsoever he had said is wrong.
He must have been a man of great humor. He said: "Yes, if it offends you, I declare that whatsoever I have said is wrong -- that the earth does not go around the sun, but the sun goes around the earth."
Organized religion tried to kill science -- they could not, because truth cannot be killed.
Slowly slowly science has possessed the whole territory of the objective world. Then the natural tendency of mind...science started claiming that which could not be claimed by it. Science created the same fallacy as organized religion, which was saying: "About the objective world also, we are right." They were not. They are right about the subjective world; about the interiormost being of existence they are right. But they are not right about the circumference of it, that is not their dimension. But they were claiming that they are right about both.
The same started happening with physicists, chemists and other scientists. In the beginning of this century, science became very arrogant -- the same type of arrogance, just the authority shifted from the priests to the scientists. The scientists started saying: "There is no God and there is no soul and there is no consciousness, and all that is rubbish."
This type of arrogance has always remained with man. We have not yet learned anything. This is again the same game being played. When science became very arrogant, naturally religion became defensive. It was losing, it became defensive. So anything that is discovered by science religion tries to appropriate. It tries somehow to make it fit with itself, because the only possibility for it to survive now is if it proves itself to be scientific.
In the beginning it was just the opposite. If a scientist was to survive, the only way was to prove that whatsoever he has found is according to the scriptures, that it proves the scriptures, that it is not against.
Now the whole thing is just vice-versa. Now if religion wants to exist in the world, it has continuously to look up to science. Whatsoever science discovers, religion immediately jumps upon and tries to prove: "This is what we have been saying all along."
This "big bang" theory has nothing to do with the religious attitude and the religious theory of creation. In the big bang theory there is no God, it is all an accident; it is not creation, remember, because there is no creator in it.
But religion is very defensive, continuously searching for anything to cling to. The big bang theory says that in a sudden explosion, in a great flash of light, the world was created. Jump on it; you can always find some way, some logical way. You can say: "Yes, this is right, this is what we have been saying all along. God in the beginning said: 'Let there be light' -- and now the theory says there was a great explosion, the world was suddenly created."
But the basic thing is missing -- don't be deceived. Religion has been saying that God said: "Let there be light." The base is not the light, the base is God saying: "Let there be light." That God is missing in the big bang theory: there is no God, it was a sudden accident, not creation.
And one more thing: this big bang theory is not totally accepted, there are many other theories.
These are all guesses; they are not proved yet, nothing is proved. In fact I don't think that it can ever be proved how the world came into existence. It is impossible, because nobody was there to witness it, you cannot find an eyewitness, so all that they can do will be just guesswork.
And it happened fifteen or twenty billion years ago. You cannot even be certain whether Krishna ever existed or not, just five thousand years ago. You cannot be certain even about Jesus, whether he was really an historical person or is just a myth -- and he was only two thousand years ago. Do you think you can be certain about something that happened twenty billion years ago? All guesses.
Why do I say that there was no beginning? Subhuti, it is so simple. Even if you believe in the big bang theory, there must have been something that exploded. Do you think nothing exploded? If there was something, x, y, z, -- any name, I am not much interested in such nonsense things, x, y, z, whatsoever it was that exploded -- if something was there before the explosion then the explosion is not the beginning. It may be a beginning but it is not the beginning.
And when I say there has never been any beginning, I mean the beginning. Something was always there -- whether it exploded or whether it grew slowly, in one day or in six days or in one single moment, doesn't matter. There must have been something before it, because only something can come out of something. Even if you say there was nothing, and it came out of nothing, then your nothing is full of something, it is not really nothing.
Hence I say there has never been any beginning and there will never be any end. Maybe a beginning, maybe many beginnings and maybe many ends, but never the first and never the last. We are always in the middle. Existence is not a creation but a creativity. It is not that it begins one day and ends one day. It goes on and on; it is an ongoing process.
That's why, Subhuti, I say that all these guesses are useless and there is no need for them and they serve no purpose. This was Buddha's approach too. Whenever somebody would ask a question like: "Who created the world?" -- whether the world was ever created or is uncreated -- Buddha would answer by other questions. He would ask: "If who created the world is decided, is it going to help your enlightenment? Is it going to help you become more silent, more meditative, more aware?"
Certainly the person would answer: "It is not going to help. Who created the world doesn't matter. It will not help my enlightenment and it will not make me more meditative."
Then Buddha said: "Then why bother about all this? Think of things which can help you to become more meditative, think of things which can help you become free of all the ego-clinging, think of things which can ultimately lead you into the state of samadhi."
My approach is also the same: these are all irrelevant questions. And because of these irrelevant questions there has been so much controversy down the ages and thousands of people have wasted their lives discussing who created the world, when exactly, what was the date -- and so on, and so forth.
I think these people were neurotics. I don't think them healthy, normal, sane people. Who cares? For what? It does not matter at all, it is immaterial.
The Roots of Obesity
A young man had come to darshan two weeks ago saying that he was overeating. Osho suggested he chew his food more carefully, at least forty times for each mouthful, and that he spend a certain time each day having food fantasies. He reports to Osho: I have chewed the food very slowly, and at first I was very sad, but now that has gone and I think that food is not so much the problem.
Very good. If you chew well, food is never a problem, because the body is really satisfied. When you don't chew and you go on stuffing your body, it is not nourished, so it goes on demanding more and more -- and you go on stuffing. Don't use your body like a bag; it isn't a bag -- respect it.
Chewing is possible only in the mouth. There are no teeth in the stomach, so once you have swallowed, the food can never be chewed again. So it is an unnecessary burden on the stomach, and by and by it becomes a problem. People who don't eat well eat much. People who eat well, with deep respect, never eat more than is needed. Then the body functions perfectly, and it immediately gives you an indication that now you are full and there is no need to eat any more.
When you chew well, the time process is prolonged. The same food you were eating in one hour now will take four hours because each bite has to be chewed forty times. Nobody can give that much time -- that's why you became sad. Eating for three, four hours, one will just feel fed up with the whole thing!
And one more thing is involved in it. When you go on throwing things inside yourself it is a sort of aggression, a violence. Teeth are the most violent part of your body, and part of the animal heritage. When animals are aggressive they will bite. They only have teeth and nails, so it is with these that they do violence. That has remained with man too, because man comes from animals. So whenever you are chewing a lot, much violence will be satisfied. A good chewer will become less violent because through the exercise of the teeth, violence is released. A person who goes on stuffing, without chewing, will become violent. So you became sad.
Remember that anger is one phase of violence, the active phase; and sadness is another phase, inactive, passive. Have you watched? Anger can immediately become sadness, and sadness can immediately become anger -- they are not very far away. So when you were throwing things inside, the anger was there, violence was there. Now you are chewing, the violence and the anger relax and sadness will settle. But if you continue, by and by the sadness will disappear and you will feel really fulfilled and happy. So continue.
Could you say something about forgiveness?
It is one of the most fundamental things to understand. People ordinarily think that forgiveness is for those who are worthy of it, who deserve it. But if somebody deserves, is worthy of forgiveness, it is not much of a forgiveness. You are not doing anything on your part; he deserves it. You are not really being love and compassion. Your forgiveness will be authentic only when even those who don't deserve it receive it.
It is not a question of whether a person is worthy or not. The question is whether your heart is ready or not.
I am reminded of one of the most significant woman mystics, Rabiya al-Adabiya, a Sufi woman who was known for her very eccentric behavior. But in all her eccentric behavior there was a great insight. Once, another Sufi mystic Hasan was staying with Rabiya. Because he was going to stay with Rabiya, he had not brought his own holy Koran, which he used to read every morning as part of his discipline. He thought he could borrow Rabiya's holy Koran, so he had not brought his own copy with him.
In the morning he asked Rabiya, and she gave him her copy. He could not believe his eyes. When he opened the Koran he saw something which no Mohammedan could believe: in many places Rabiya had corrected it. It is the greatest sin as far as Mohammedans are concerned; the Koran is the word of God according to them. How can you change it? How can you even think that you can make something better? Not only has she changed it, she has simply cut out a few words, a few lines -- removed them.
Hasan said to her, "Rabiya, somebody has destroyed your Koran!" Rabiya said, "Don't be stupid, nobody can touch my Koran. What you are looking at is my doing." Hasan said, "But how could you do such a thing?" She said, "I had to do it, there was no way out. For example, look here: the Koran says, "When you see the devil, hate him." Since I have become awakened I cannot find any hate within me. Even if the devil stands in front of me I can only shower him with my love, because I don't have anything else left. It does not matter whether God stands in front of me, or the devil; both will receive the same love. All that I have is love; hate has disappeared. The moment hate disappeared from me I had to make changes in my book of the holy Koran. If you have not changed it, that simply means you have not arrived to the space where only love remains."
I will say to you, the people who don't deserve, the people who are unworthy, don't make any difference to the man who has come to the space of forgiveness. He will forgive, irrespective of who receives it. He cannot be so miserly that only the worthy should receive it. And from where is he going to find unforgiveness? This is a totally different perspective. It does not concern itself with the other. Who are you to make the judgment whether the other is worthy or unworthy? The very judgment is ugly and mean.
I know Rudolph Hess is certainly one of the greatest criminals. And his crime becomes even a millionfold bigger, because in the Nuremburg trial with the remaining companions of Adolf Hitler -- who killed almost eight million people in the second world war -- he said in front of the court, "I don't repent anything!" Not only that, he also said, "And if I could start from the very beginning, I would do the same thing again." It is very natural to think this man is not worthy of forgiveness; that will be the common understanding. Everybody will agree with you.
But I cannot agree with you. It does not matter what Rudolf Hess has done, what he is saying. What matters is that you are capable of forgiving even him. That will raise your consciousness to the ultimate heights. If you cannot forgive Rudolf Hess you will remain just an ordinary human being, with all kinds of judgments of worthiness, of unworthiness. But basically you cannot forgive him because your forgiveness is not big enough.
I can forgive the whole world for the simple reason that my forgiveness is absolute; it is nonjudgmental. I will tell you a small Tibetan story which will make the point absolutely clear to you.
A great old master, worshiped by millions of people, refused to initiate anyone into disciplehood. His whole life, consistently, he was asked by kings, he was asked by very rich people, he was asked by great ascetics, saints, to be initiated as his disciples, and he went on refusing. He would always say, "Unless I find a man who deserves it, unless I find a man who is worthy of it... I am not going to initiate any Tom, Dick, Harry."
He had a small young boy who used to cook food for him, wash his clothes, fetch vegetables from the market. The boy himself had become slowly, slowly old and for his whole life he had been listening to the old man, who had lived almost one hundred years, and without exception the denial: nobody is worthy! "I will die," he said, "without initiating anyone, but I will not initiate anyone who is nondeserving."
People became tired, frustrated. They loved the man, the man had immense qualities, but they could not understand his very stubborn attitude -- no kindness, no compassion.
But one morning the old man woke up his companion, who himself had become old, and said to him, "Run immediately down the hills to the marketplace and tell everybody that whoever wants to be initiated must come soon, because this evening as the sun sets I am going to die."
His companion said, "But what about worthiness? I don't know who is worthy and who is not worthy. Who have I to bring?"
The old man said, "Don't worry at all. It was only a device, because I myself was not worthy to initiate anyone, but it was against my dignity to say so. So I chose the other way round. I was saying, `Unless I find somebody worthy enough, deserving enough, I am not going to initiate.' The truth is, I was not worthy to be a master. Now I am, but the time is very short. Only this morning as the sun was rising, my own consciousness has also risen to the ultimate peak. Now I am ready. Now it does not matter who is worthy and who is unworthy. What matters now is that I am worthy. Just go and fetch anybody! Just go and make the whole village aware that this is the last day of my life, and anybody who wants to be initiated should come immediately. Bring as many people as you can."
The companion of the old man was at a loss, but there was no time to argue. He ran down the hill, reached the marketplace and shouted all over the village, "Anybody who wants to become a disciple, the old man is ready now."
People could not believe it. But out of curiosity a few thought, "There is no harm at least to see what is going on." The man had refused his whole life, and on the last day of his life suddenly such a great change. Somebody's wife had died and he was feeling very lonely, so he thought, "It is good. If he is going to initiate everybody, no question of worthiness..." Somebody was released from jail just the night before; he thought, "Nobody is going to give me employment; this is a good chance to become a saint."
All kinds of strange people went to the cave of the old man, and his companion was feeling so embarrassed at the kind of people he had brought: one is a criminal, one's wife is dead, that's why he thinks, "It is better... now, what else to do?" Somebody has gone bankrupt and was thinking to commit suicide; now he thinks that this is better than suicide.
A few had come just out of curiosity. They had no other work; they were playing jazz and they thought, "We can play jazz tomorrow, but today there is no harm, let us see what this initiation is. Anyway, that man is going to die by the evening so we will be free to remain disciples or not. We can play jazz tomorrow -- there is no harm."
The companion of the old man was feeling very embarrassed, "How will I present this strange lot when that old man has refused kings, saints, sages, who have come with deep earnestness to be initiated? And now he is going to initiate this gang!" He was even feeling ashamed, but he entered and asked, "Should I call the people? -- eleven have come."
The old man said, "Call them quickly, because it is already afternoon. You took so much time and you could fetch just eleven people?"
His companion said, "What can I do? It is a working day; it is not a holiday. I could only get these. All are absolutely useless; even I could not initiate them. Not only that they are not worthy -- they are absolutely UNworthy. But you insisted to bring somebody; nobody else was available."
The old man said, "There is no problem. Just bring them in." And he initiated them all. Even they were shocked. And they said to the old man, "This is strange behavior. All your life you have insisted that one has to deserve to be a disciple. What happened to your principle?"
The old man laughed. He said, "That was not a principle, that was only to hide my own unworthiness. I was not yet in the position to be a master. And I cannot cheat anyone, I cannot deceive anyone; hence I have taken shelter behind a judgmental attitude, that unless you are worthy, you will not get initiation."
Everybody has his own flaws, weaknesses; everybody has done things that he never wanted to do. Everybody has gone astray. Nobody can say that he is absolutely pure; everybody is polluted. So when the old man insisted, "Unless you are worthy don't come back to me," nobody argued with him; he was right. First they have to be worthy!
On the last day, he said to those eleven disciples, "I bless you and initiate you. It doesn't matter whether you are worthy or not, but for the first time I am worthy. And if I am really worthy, just my presence is going to purify you. My worthiness of being a master is going to make you a worthy disciple. Now I don't have to depend on your worthiness. My worthiness is enough.
"I am just like a rain cloud; I will shower all over the place -- on the mountains, on the streets, on the houses, in the farms, in the gardens. I will shower everywhere, because I am too burdened with my rainwater. It does not matter whether the garden deserves... I don't even make any distinction between the garden and the rocks. I will simply shower out of my abundance."
If your meditations bring you to the state of a rain cloud, you will forgive without any judgment out of your abundance, out of your love, out of your compassion.
In fact I would like to make the statement that the man who is unworthy deserves more than the man who is worthy. The man who does not deserve, deserves more, because he is so poor; don't be hard upon him. Life has been hard upon him. He has gone astray; he has suffered because of his wrong doings. Now don't you be hard on him. He needs more love than those who are deserving; he needs more forgiveness than those who are worthy. This should be the only approach of a religious heart.
Your question was raised before Gautam Buddha, because he was going to initiate a murderer into sannyas -- and the murderer was no ordinary murderer. Rudolf Hess is nothing compared to him. His name was Angulimal. Angulimal means a man who wears a garland of human fingers.
He had taken a vow that he would kill one thousand people; from each single person he would take one finger so that he could remember how many he had killed and he will make a garland of all those fingers. In his garland of fingers he had nine hundred and ninety-nine fingers -- only one was missing. And that one was missing because his road was closed; nobody was coming that way. But Gautam Buddha entered that closed road. The king had put guards on the road to prevent people, particularly strangers who didn't know that a dangerous man lived behind the hills. The guards told Gautam Buddha, "That is not the road to be used. You will have to take a little longer route, but it is better to go a little longer than to go into the mouth of death itself. This is the place where Angulimal lives. Even the king has not the guts to go on this road. That man is simply mad.
"His mother used to go to him. She was the only person who used to go, once in a while, to see him, but even she stopped. The last time she went there he told her, `Now only one finger is missing, and just because you happen to be my mother... I want to warn you that if you come another time you will not go back. I need one finger desperately. Up to now I have not killed you because other people were available, but now nobody passes on this road except you. So I want to make you aware that next time if you come it will be your responsibility, not mine.' Since that time his mother has not come."
The guards said to Buddha, "Don't unnecessarily take the risk." And do you know what Buddha said to them? Buddha said, "If I don't go then who will go? Only two things are possible: either I will change him, and I cannot miss this challenge; or I will provide him with one finger so that his desire is fulfilled. Anyway I am going to die one day. Giving my head to Angulimal will be at least of some use; otherwise one day I will die and you will put me on the funeral pyre. I think that it is better to fulfill somebody's desire and give him peace of mind. Either he will kill me or I will kill him, but this encounter is going to happen; you just lead the way."
The people who used to follow Gautam Buddha, his close companions who were always in competition to be closer to him, started slowing down. Soon there were miles between Gautam Buddha and his disciples. They all wanted to see what happened, but they didn't want to be too close.
Angulimal was sitting on his rock watching. He could not believe his eyes. A very beautiful man of such immense charisma was coming towards him. Who could this man be? He had never heard of Gautam Buddha, but even this hard heart of Angulimal started feeling a certain softness towards the man. He was looking so beautiful, coming towards him. It was early morning... a cool breeze, and the sun was rising... and the birds were singing and the flowers had opened; and Buddha was coming closer and closer.
Finally Angulimal, with his naked sword in his hand, shouted, "Stop!" Gautam Buddha was just a few feet away, and Angulimal said, "Don't take another step because then the responsibility will not be mine. Perhaps you don't know who I am!"
Angulimal said, "This is not the point. Neither is it the place nor the time to discuss such things. Your life is in danger!"
Buddha said, "I think otherwise -- your life is in danger."
That man said, "I used to think I was mad -- you are simply mad. And you go on moving closer. Then don't say that I killed an innocent man. You look so innocent and so beautiful that I want you to go back. I will find somebody else. I can wait; there is no hurry. If I can manage nine hundred and ninety-nine... it is only a question of one more, but don't force me to kill YOU."
Angulimal said, "This is sheer craziness! Anybody can see that you are moving and I am standing on my rock. I have not moved a single inch."
Buddha said, "Nonsense! The truth is, since the day I became enlightened I have not moved a single inch. I am centered, utterly centered, no movement. And your mind is continuously moving round and round in circles... and you have the guts to tell to me to stop. You stop! I have stopped long ago."
Buddha came very close, and Angulimal's hands were trembling. The man was so beautiful, so innocent, so childlike. He had already fallen in love. He had killed so many people... He had never felt this weakness; he had never known what love is. For the first time he was full of love. So there was a contradiction: the hand was holding the sword to kill the person, and his heart was saying, "Put the sword back in the sheath."
Buddha said, "I am ready, but why is your hand shaking? -- you are such a great warrior, even kings are afraid of you, and I am just a poor beggar. Except the begging bowl, I don't have anything. You can kill me, and I will feel immensely satisfied that at least my death fulfills somebody's desire; my life has been useful, my death has also been useful. But before you cut my head I have a small desire, and Ithink you will grant me a small desire before killing me."
Buddha said, "I want you just to cut from the tree a branch which is full of flowers. I will never see these flowers again; I want to see those flowers closely, feel their fragrance and their beauty in this morning sun, their glory."
So Angulimal cut with his sword a whole branch full of flowers. And before he could give it to Buddha, Buddha said, "This was only half the desire; the other half is, please put the branch back on the tree."
Angulimal said, "I was thinking from the very beginning that you are crazy. Now this is the craziest desire. How can I put this branch back?"
Buddha said, "If you cannot create, you have no right to destroy. If you cannot give life, you don't have the right to give death to any living thing."
A moment of silence and a moment of transformation... the sword fell down from his hands. Angulimal fell down at the feet of Gautam Buddha, and he said, "I don't know who you are, but whoever you are, take me to the same space in which you are; initiate me."
By that time the followers of Gautam Buddha had come closer and closer. Seeing that now Gautam Buddha was standing in front of Angulimal, there was no problem, no fear, although he needed only one finger. They were all around and when he fell at Buddha's feet they immediately came close. Somebody raised the question, "Don't initiate this man, he is a murderer. And he is not an ordinary murderer; he has murdered nine hundred and ninety-nine people, all innocent, all strangers. They have not done any wrong to him. He had not even seen them before!"
Buddha said again, "If I don't initiate him, who will initiate him? And I love the man, I love his courage. And I can see tremendous possibility in him: a single man fighting against the whole world. I want this kind of people, who can stand against the whole world. Up to now he was standing against the world with a sword; now he will stand against the world with a consciousness which is far sharper than any sword. I told you that murder was going to happen, but it was not certain who was going to be murdered -- either I was going to be murdered, or Angulimal. Now you can see Angulimal is murdered. And who I am to judge?"
The question is not whether anybody is worthy or not. The question is whether you have the consciousness, the abundance of love -- then forgiveness will come out of it spontaneously. It is not a calculation, it is not arithmetic.
Life is love, and living a life of love is the only religious life, the only life of prayer, peace, the only life of gratitude, grandeur, splendor.
I feel so much anger towards my mother....
I am having a very hard time with my mother. I feel so much anger towards her. Can you please talk about the relationship between children and parents?
Below is Osho's reply to a similar question:
Every child would be angry if he understood what the poor parents have been doing to him unknowingly, unconsciously. All their efforts are for the good of the child. Their intentions are good but their consciousness is nil. And good intentions in the hands of unconscious people are dangerous; they cannot bring about the result they are intending. They may create just the opposite.
Your parents have done something twenty years back, thirty years back, and you are angry now. Your anger is not going to help anyone; it is simply going to create more wounds in you. And being near me, close to me.... I am trying to explain to you the whole mechanism of how children are being brought up, you should become more understanding that whatever has happened had to happen. Your parents were conditioned by their parents. You cannot find out who was really responsible to begin with. It has been passed from generation to generation.
Your parents are doing exactly what has been done to them. They have been victims. You will feel compassion for them and you will feel joyous that you are not going to repeat the same thing in your life. If you decide to have children you will feel joyous that you are going to break the vicious circle, that you are going to jump out of the line that goes back to the very beginning and continues up to you, that you can become the dead end. You will not do it to your children or to any other person's children.
You should feel fortunate that you have a master with you to explain what has been happening between parents and children -- the complex upbringing, good intentions, bad results, where everybody is trying to do the best and the world goes on becoming worse and worse.
Your parents were not so fortunate to have a master -- and you are being angry at them. You should feel kind, compassionate, loving. Whatever they did was unconscious. They could not have done otherwise. All that they knew they have tried on you. They were miserable, and they have created another miserable human being in the world.
They had no clarity about why they were miserable. You have the clarity to understand why one becomes miserable. And once you understand how misery is created, you can avoid causing the same in somebody else.
But feel for your parents. They worked hard; they did everything that they could, but they had no idea how psychology functions. Instead of being taught how to become a mother or how to become a father, they were being taught how to become a Christian, how to become a Marxist, how to become a tailor, how to become a plumber, how to become a philosopher -- all these things are good and needed, but the basic thing is missing. If they are going to produce children, then their most significant teaching should be how to become a mother, how to become a father.
It has been taken for granted that by giving birth you know how to become a mother and how to become a father. Yes, as far as giving birth to a child... it is a biological act, you don't have to be psychologically trained for it. Animals are doing perfectly well, birds are doing perfectly well, trees are doing perfectly well. But giving birth to a child biologically is one thing and to be a mother or to be a father is totally different. It needs great education because you are creating a human being.
Animals are not creating anything, they are simply producing carbon copies. And now science has come to a point where they have discovered that carbon copies can really be produced! It is a very dangerous idea. If we make banks -- and sooner or later we are going to make them; once an idea is there it is going to become a reality. And scientifically it is proved that it is one hundred percent possible...there is no problem.
We can have banks in the hospitals for both the male sperms and female eggs. And we can create exactly the same two sperms and exactly the same two eggs, so two children are born which are exactly the same. One child will be released into the world; the other will grow in a fridge, unconscious, but all his parts will be exactly the same as the other person. And if the first person is in an accident and loses a leg or loses a kidney, or has to be operated on, there is no problem: his carbon copy is waiting in the hospital. From the carbon copy a kidney can be taken out -- he is growing exactly at the same rate, he is just unconscious -- and it will be exactly the same as the kidney that has been lost. It can be replaced.
That carbon copy will always be available for replacing any parts -- even the brain. You can fall into a coma or you can even have a heart attack.... Your brain can remain alive even after a heart attack for at least four minutes -- but not more than that. If during these four minutes an identical brain is inserted, an identical heart is inserted, you will never feel that anything has changed or anything has happened to you. Perhaps you fell asleep and now you are awake. You will never know that your brain has been changed, that your heart has been changed.
This idea of having carbon copies seems to be a great advancement in medical science in a way, but it is dangerous -- dangerous in the sense that man becomes a machine with replaceable parts, just like any machine. When something goes wrong you replace the part. And if every part can be replaced then man will be falling farther and farther away from spiritual growth, because he will start thinking of himself as just a machine. That's what half of the world, the communist world, thinks -- that man is a machine.
You are fortunate that you can understand the situation your parents were in. They have not done anything specifically to you; they would have done the same to any child that was born to them. They were programmed for that. They were helpless. And to be angry against helpless people is simply not right. It is unjust, unfair, and moreover it is harmful to you.
If your parents cannot understand me, you should not be worried about it. The whole world cannot understand me. Your parents are normal people; they just follow the crowd, which is safer. You have fallen out of the crowd. You have chosen a risky and dangerous path. If they don't want to go into a dangerous lifestyle, it is their choice; that should not be a cause for your anger.
In fact you can help them by really becoming the individual that I am talking about: more conscious, more alert, more loving. Seeing you can only change them. Seeing you so radically changed can only make them think twice, that perhaps they are wrong. There is no other way. You cannot intellectually convince them. Intellectually they can argue, and argument never changes anybody. The only thing that changes people is the charisma, the magnetism, the magic, of your individuality. Then whatever you touch becomes golden.
So rather than wasting your time and energy in being angry and fighting against the past which no longer exists, put your whole energy into becoming the magic of your individuality. So when your parents see you they cannot remain untouched by the new qualities that you have grown, qualities which are automatically impressive: your freshness, your understanding, your unconditional lovingness, your kindness even in a situation where anger would have been more appropriate.
Only these things can be the real arguments. You need not say a word. Your eyes, your face, your actions, your behavior, your response, will make the change in them. They will start inquiring about what has happened to you, how it has happened to you -- because everybody wants these qualities. These are the real riches. Nobody is so rich that he can afford not to have the things that I am telling you.
So put your energy into transforming yourself. That will help you, that will help your parents. Perhaps it may create a chain reaction. Your parents may have other children, they may have friends, and it will go on and on.
It is just like you are sitting on the bank of a silent lake and you throw a small pebble into the lake. The pebble is so small that it creates a small circle at first, but circle after circle...and they go on spreading to the far ends, as far as the lake can take them. And it was only a small pebble.
We are living in a certain kind of new sphere, a new psychological lake, in which whatever you do creates certain vibrations around you. It touches people, reaches to unknown sources.
Just create a small ripple of right individuality and it will reach to many people -- and certainly to those who are most closely related to you. They will see it first, and they will understand with great awe. They will not believe their eyes because all that they know of religion is the Sunday church, where nothing happens. They have been going every Sunday their whole lives, and they come back home just the same.
In the name of religion they know only the Bible or the Koran or the Gita and they have been reading it and nothing happens, because they don't know one thing -- that you are a living being and a book is dead. And the man in the church who is delivering a sermon is just a professional. He has prepared the sermon from the books, and he goes on repeating the same sermons. Nobody listens, so nobody catches him. He is repeating the same sermon that he delivered two months before. Nobody listened that time, and nobody is listening this time. And you know that that sermon cannot change you because that sermon has not changed the preacher himself. He is just as mundane as you are -- perhaps more. I used to know a Jaina monk who was a very simple man, almost a simpleton. He asked me, "How many lectures do you have?"
I said, "This is a very difficult question. Until I am finished with my life, I will not know."
He said, "I have only three: one is for ten minutes, one is for twenty minutes, one is for thirty minutes, depending on the occasion. Sometimes in a conference you have only ten minutes. I have a ready-made, ten minute lecture. If they give me twenty minutes, I have a twenty minute lecture. If they give me thirty minutes, I have a thirty minute one. More than that is not possible, because nobody is interested in listening too much. People want a short cut."
He said, "Nobody has said anything about it to me, and I have been using these three lectures my whole life. Wherever I go -- to the temples, colleges, and universities where I talk -- I ask, `How many minutes? Ten, twenty, thirty?' Whatever they want, my lecture is ready. And I have repeated the same lecture so many times that now I don't feel nervous. I can repeat the lecture without thinking at all!"
Now do you think listening to such a man is going to transform you? -- or anybody? But every Christian missionary is doing that.
One of the most famous, world-renowned Christian missionaries was Stanley Jones. He was very friendly with me but he became very angry and then the friendship was broken. He was an old man, a friend of Mahatma Gandhi, and Mahatma Gandhi respected him very much. He used to come to the city where I was living and he stayed in the house of one of my friends. He had printed cards -- ten cards or twenty cards for his whole lecture -- and he would put the cards on the table. He would start lecturing, and he would go on changing the cards.
He became very angry with me because I mixed up his cards! So he was saying something and it was not on the card. He almost had a nervous breakdown. He looked at all the cards and it was not there. That card I had taken out. And he said, "Today I am not feeling well. I am feeling sick, so I will not be speaking."
And he asked the host, "Who has done this?"
Stanley Jones was very angry. He said, "Are you my friend or my enemy? You destroyed my whole lecture!"
I said, "Once in a while you should speak from your heart, not from these cards. I have looked in your suitcase, and you have almost fifty sets of these cards, so you can go on repeating these speeches. And do you think this is going to help anybody? -- these dead cards that you have repeated your whole life? And today just because one card was missing and the numbers were mixed up, you lost your temper, you lost your integrity. You were almost in a state of madness. And what do you think people thought who had come to listen to you?"
He had written many books. I have gone through those books: he writes well, beautifully, but it is all stolen. Nothing is his own. Nothing is his own experience. Unless something is your own experience it is not going to impress anybody.
The Path of the Mystic, Chapter 15, Question 2
Practice of Meditation
[Articles] > Practice of Meditation
([source|http://www.sivanandadlshq.org/teachings/meditation.htm])
A baby's eyes are riveted on a flower or a butterfly. It keeps looking at the object with unwinking eyes, eyes full of wonder, for minutes together.
A mother calls her teenage daughter to go and have lunch, but there is no response. The call is repeated twice, thrice; still there is no response. The girl just does not hear, though her ears are very much open. Nor is she deaf. What could be the reason, then, for her not hearing? Her mind is immersed in a Sherlock Holmes or a Harold Robbins; her eyes are glued to the lines; her face is buried in the book.
In the dilapidated building of an elementary school, the class is on. The teacher explains something and then asks the children, "Did it enter?". There is an instant response from the backmost bench: "Only the tail has not entered yet!". The earnest voice belongs to a boy who has been all along intently watching the struggle of a rat to wriggle out of the class room through a hole in the wall. It has managed to squeeze in its body, but its tail is still not gone in. Perhaps the hole is blocked.
These are everyday examples of concentration. Attention, concentration, meditation-these are different degrees of the same process. It is fixing the mind on a single object or idea to the exclusion of everything else.
In his book, "Concentration and Meditation", holy Master Sivananda presents a most beautiful scene to illustrate what is meant by concentration. In this, Dronacharya tests the power of concentration of his students, the Pandavas. A basin of water is placed on the ground. Above, a clay bird is kept rotating. The archer hat to hit the bird by looking at its reflection in the water.
Drona: "O Yudhishthira, what do you see?"
Yudhishthira: "O Acharya (teacher), I see the bird to be aimed at, the tree on which it is sitting and yourself also."
Drona: "What do you see, Bhima?"
Drona: "What do you see, Nakula?"
Drona: "What do you see, Sahadeva?"
Sahadeva: "I see the bird to be aimed at, yourself, Arjuna, Bhima, Yudhishthira, the horses, carriages, all the onlookers, several cows, etc."
Drona: "Now then, Arjuna, what do you see?"
That is concentration. Arjuna's is the power of concentration. Concentration, when developed, becomes meditation.
Yoga is an exact science. Asanas and Pranayama (Yoga postures and breathing exercises) perfect the body. Service and charity expand the heart. Prayer, Japa (repetition of the Lord’s Name), Kirtan (singing devotional songs) and other devotional practices purify the mind and make it more subtle. The aspirant is now fully equipped for the last lap of the journey. It is the toughest part of the pilgrimage to God. It is full of darkness and the aspirant has to pierce this darkness with his purified mind. The purified mind is the most dependable weapon in the armoury of the spiritual aspirant.
The purified mind must be made to concentrate. Concentration is mental focussing. The mind can be focussed on a concrete object or an abstract idea. For a novice, concentration becomes easy if the object of concentration is concrete. Also, the beginner should choose a pleasing object on which to concentrate. Only thus can he prevent the mind from wandering away from the object of concentration. To start with, concentration can be practised on the flame of a candle, the tick-tick sound of a clock, the star in the sky, the picture of OM or the picture of one's lshta Devata (personal God). This should be followed by concentration on a suitable spiritual centre within the body. The Sadhak may concentrate with closed eyes on the space between is the eyebrows or on the tip of the nose. There is nothing which cannot be achieved by concentration.
Concentration should be followed by meditation. Meditation is nothing but protracted or sustained concentration. A scientist has to concentrate on a problem, on a given subject, on a riddle, to bring out the answer, to solve it. He has to think, think and think. Then only the answer flashes forth. Likewise, meditation is intense concentration, concerted concentration on the problem of life, on the problem of the inexplicable triad of God, man and the universe. While concentration becomes essential even to solve small problems in science, what to speak of the problem of life which has baffled humanity since time immemorial? The Sadhak (aspirant) who wants God must meditate, meditate and meditate.
Meditation can be practised on any image of the Lord. This is concrete meditation. After some practice, the aspirant will be able to visualise the form of the image even with closed eyes. Meditation can also be practised on abstract ideas and on various Vedantic formulae such as "I am Eternity", "I am Infinity" and so on.
Reading of profound scriptural texts like the Upanishads and the Brahma Sutras (revealed texts of the Hindus) requires intense concentration. Such reading itself is a mild form of meditation. It should be followed by contemplation on what was read. Repeated meditation on a single idea will bring out a wealth of knowledge on that idea.
While meditating on a particular object or idea, various extraneous thoughts will try to enter the mind of the aspirant and interfere with his meditation. The aspirant should ignore these extraneous thoughts, be indifferent to them and repeatedly try to concentrate on the object of his meditation. Gradually, the frequency of interruption will be reduced and a time will come when meditation will give uninterrupted peace and bliss.
Meditation is digging deep into the mine of truth and wisdom. Swamiji asks the Sadhak to meditate and bring put his own Gita and Upanishads. Says the Master: "There is no knowledge without meditation. An aspirant churns his own soul. Truth becomes manifest".
Meditation confers peace and strength. Sivananda affirms that half an hour's meditation is sufficient to enable the aspirant to smilingly pass through a whole week's life in this world of problems and misery.
Meditation must be regular. Whenever the Sattvic (a state of calmness and purity) mood manifests and divine thought-currents begin to flow, the aspirant must sit down for meditation. Brahmamuhurtha (period between 4 am and 6 am), says the Master, is the ideal time for meditation. Why? He gives the answer:
You can then easily convince the mind
Only Yogis, Jnanis (wise man) and sages are awake at this time.
It is not possible to meditate the whole day. Without variety, the mind, especially of a beginner, will get tired . It is necessary to guard against this possibility. It is important that the aspirant should be protected from the monotony of one-sided spiritual practice leading to reaction and a return to worldly activity with a vengeance. The beauty of divine life lies in the fact that the seriousness of meditation is tempered with the joy of Kirtan, the happiness and strength of service, the peace of Japa and the understanding of Svadhyaya (reading of scriptures).
In the books of Yoga, the great Rishis (sages) distinguish between Bahiranga Sadhana and Antaranga Sadhana. Bahiranga Sadhana is outer Yoga or spiritual practices designed to perfect the outer instruments of body and Prana (vital- energy). These are the ethical practices and the Yogasana and Pranayama exercises. Once the body is perfected and the Nadis or astral tubes are purified through Pranayama practices, the spiritual seeker attains fitness to start the inner Yoga or Antaranga Sadhana. This includes Pratyahara, Dharana and Dhyana-sense abstraction, concentration and meditation. The senses and the mind must be withdrawn from the sense objects and the mind must be focussed on the God within. This is inner Yoga. The outer Yoga practices are to prepare the aspirant to gain fitness to practise this inner Yoga.
Where the necessary preparation is inadequate or wanting, meditation cannot succeed. Simply sitting cross-legged and closing the eyes, thinking the same worldly thoughts and building castles in the air, or falling into a semi- sleep is not meditation. A person who wants to meditate must be free from disease and desire, from cares and worries. He must be free from love and hatred, and from like and dislike. He must be soaked in Vairagya (dispassion). He must be able to sit firmly for hours together in the same posture. His breathing must be slow and even. His stomach must be free from constipation, free from gas and very light. when these conditions are not satisfied, meditation will remain just a pipe dream.
While meditation in itself constitutes. a very powerful attack on ignorance, Swami Sivananda suggests that the spiritual aspirant should practise Vichar also. Vichar is enquiry into the real nature of things. Vichara results in Viveka or discrimination between the real and the unreal. It helps the aspirant to sift the true from the false. Swamiji asserts that without cogitation, Truth cannot be known or realised. Vichara sharpens the intellect and leads to the discernment of the Truth that lies behind the phenomenal universe.
How should the aspirant reflect? The Master shows the way: "Who am I? What is Brahman (God)? What is this Samsara (process of worldly life)? What is the goal of life? How to attain the goal? How to attain freedom from births and deaths? What is the Svarupa of Moksha (Essential nature of liberation)? Whence? Where? Whither? Thus should the aspirant of liberation ever enquire, seeking to achieve the purpose of life". The justification for this method of Vichara or enquiry is contained in the saying, "As you think, so you become". By constant reflection on the Reality behind the appearances, the seeker attains oneness with the Reality and becomes that Reality itself.
Enquiry opens the aspirant's eyes to new vistas of knowledge. It leads him steadily to Truth. For instance, if the aspirant starts the "Who am I?" enquiry, he will soon find that he cannot equate himself with any one of his sense organs like the nose, the eyes or the ears, because even without one or more of these, he can live and life can pulsate in his veins. So, he is not the body. Nor is he the mind, because even during the unconscious and the deep sleep states, when the mind ceases to function, he exists and his heart throbs. Then, what is this 'I' in everybody? Swami Sivananda declares that the real 'I' is none, else than Brahman or the Atman who is the motive force behind all existence. It is He who thinks through the mind, sees through the eyes, eats through the mouth, hears through the ears and so on He is the Witnessing Consciousness who dwells in all beings. When a person gets up from deep sleep and says, "I enjoyed a sound dreamless sleep", it is this Witnessing Consciousness which remembers the fact that the body and the mind rested in sound sleep. It cannot be otherwise. The mind which was virtually dead during the deep sleep state could . not itself have consciously enjoyed a sound slumber and remembered it. The enjoyer is the Atman. Swamiji repeatedly advises the spiritual seeker to identify himself with this Atman which is his real Self and not with his perishable body. Constant identification with the Atman or the Witnessing Consciousness in oneself is a shortcut to spiritual success. The aspirant who adopts this technique will soon rise above body consciousness.
The secret of spirituality lies in realising one's essential nature. It is not becoming something outside of oneself. It is not as if man and God are separate and that man should go to a God who is external to him and merge in that God. No. God is already there, everywhere, Within us and outside of us. The body and the mind in which man is encased are mere illusions of an ignorant mind. God only is. All else is not. All else is only appearance. This appearance is made possible by the functioning of the mind. Meditation and enquiry enable the aspirant to feel, to realise that he is, after all, Brahman and not a bundle of body and mind. When divine wisdom dawns, the Sadhak realises his innermost Being. And being is Brahman.
Man himself is God and the entirety of Sadhana (spiritual practices) is meant to enable man to realise his God-nature, to realise that the God he has been searching for is his own Self. Initially, Yoga Sadhana purifies the mind. Later on, the seeker uses this purified mind, to concentrate and meditate on the God within; and at the deepest point of meditation, the purified mind melts in the God within and is itself lost there, destroyed there. And only God remains. Being remains. God-consciousness remains. A telling analogy given in the Yoga texts is the dry twig used in kindling a fire, where the twig itself is ultimately consumed in the fire. The purified mind is like this twig. It helps to kindle the fire of God-consciousness within, and in the process, is itself destroyed in that fire. In Samadhi (superconscious state), the mind melts in Brahman as camphor melts in fire. The separate identity of the individual soul vanishes. Only Sat-Chit-Ananda (Existence- Consciousness-Bliss Absolute) prevails.
Bhaja Govindam
Adhi Shankaracharya wrote a number of vedantic works for imparting knowledge of the self and the universal spirit. He also composed a number of hymns to foster Bhakthi in the hearts of men. One of these hymns is the famous Bhaja govindaM. The way of devotion, is not different from the way of knowledge or gnyana. When intelligence matures and lodges securely in the mind, it becomes wisdom. When wisdom is integrated with life and issues out in action, it becomes bhakthi. Knowledge, when it becomes fully mature is bhakthi. If it doesnot get transformed into bhakthi, such knowledge is [useless tinsel|http://www.carnatic.com/kishore/life/]. To believe that gnyana and bhakthi, knowledge and devotion are different from each other, is ignorance. If Sri Adi Shankara himself who drank the ocean of gnyana as easily as one sip water from the palm of one's hand, sang in his later years, hymns to develop devotion, it is enough to show that gnyana and bhakthi are one and the same. Sri Shankara has packed into the Bhaja govindaM song: the substance of all vedanta, and set the oneness of gnyana and bhakthi to melodious music.
Bhaja govindaM is one of the minor compositions of the spiritual gaint, Adi SHANKARA. It is classified as a Prakarana grantha, a primer to the major works. Though sung as a bhajan, it contains the essence of vedanta and awakens the man to think, "Why am I here in this life ? Why am I amassing wealth, family, but have no peace ? What is the Truth ? What is the purpose of life ?" Man is thus awakened and gets set on a path to the inner road back to God.
The background of Bhaja GovindaM is worth examining. During Shankara's stay in Kashi, he noticed a very old man engaged in the early hours studying the rules of sanskrit by Panini. Shankara was touched with pity seeing the plight of the old man spending his years at a mere intellectual accomplishment while he would be better off praying and spending time to control his mind. Shankara understood that the majority of the world was also engaged in mere intellectual, sense pleasures and not in the divine contemplation. Seeing this, he burst forth with the verses of Bhaja govindaM.
In 31 (some cite 33) verses, he, like no other, explains our fallacies, our wrong outlook for life, and dispells our ignorance and delusions. Thus bhaja govindaM was originally known as Moha Mudgara, the remover of delusions.
Shankara explains, nay chides, us for spending our time in useless trivia like amassing wealth, lusting after (wo)men and requests us to discriminate and cultivate the knowledge to learn the difference between the real and the unreal. To emphasize that all knowledge other than Self-Knowledge is useless, Shankara makes the man realize how foolish he is in his conduct and behavior by these verses, and shows him the purpose of our worldly existence, which is to seek Govinda and attain Him.
Bhaja govindaM is divided into dvaadasa manjarika stotram and chaturdasa manjarika stotram. At the end of composing the first stanza, it is said that Shankara burst forth with the next 12 stanzas of bhaja govindam. Thus stanzas 1-12 are called dvaadas manjarika stotram. Inspired by the extempore recital by Shankara, each of his 14 disciples composed a verse and the 14 verse compendium is called chaturdasa manjarika stotram. Shankara added the finishing touches by adding five of his own stanzas at the last bring the total to 31. This edition shows 33 verses, though the last 2 are not given in all versions.
Bhaja govindaM has been set to musical tones and sung as prayer songs by children. It is divided into dvaadashapaJNjarikaa and charpaTapaJNjarikaa for this purpose. The former is a set of verses (verses 1,2,5,11,18,20,21,23,27,29,31) while the rest of the verses form charpaTapaJNjarikaa.
Anyone who listens to the music of Bhaja govindaM is attracted to it. However, the significance of the text goes much deeper and contains a well defined philosophy of attaining salvation. Shankara words here seem to be quite piercing and seem to lack his softness and tenderness often found in his other texts. The reason is that this was an extempore recital to an old man. His words can be compared to a knife of a doctor. The doctor's knife cruely removes the tumor with much pain, but removing the tumor ultimately restores good health in the patient. So is Shankara's words, which pierce and point out our ignorance. It is a knife into the heart of worldliness, and by removing this tumor of ignorance, we can attain everlasting bliss with the grace of Govinda.
May the acharayaa guide us from ignorance to truth and help us remember the song of Swami Vivekananda at all times :
Meditate, O my mind, on the Lord Hari,
The stainless One, Pure spirit through and through.
How soul-bewitching is His wondrous form !
That shames the splendour of a million moons
Verses of Bhaja GovindaM in ITRANS format with translation
Oh fool ! Give up your thrist to amass wealth, devote your mind to thoughts to the Real. Be content with what comes through actions already performed in the past.
Do not get drowned in delusion by going wild with passions and lust by seeing a woman's navel and chest. These are nothing but a modification of flesh. Do not fail to remember this again and again in your mind.
The life of a man is as uncertain as rain drops trembling on a lotus leaf. Know that the whole world remains a prey to disease, ego and grief.
So long as a man is fit and able to support his family, see the affection all those around him show. But no one at home cares to even have a word with him when his body totters due to old age.
When one is alive, his family members enquire kindly about his welfare. But when the soul departs from the body, even his wife runs away in fear of the corpse.
The childhood is lost by attachment to playfulness. Youth is lost by attachment to woman. Old age passes away by thinking over many past things. But there is hardly anyone who wants to be lost in parabrahman.
Who is your wife ? Who is your son ? Strange is this samsara. Of whom are you ? From where have you come ? Brother, ponder over these truths here.
From Satsangh comes non-attachment, from non-attachment comes freedom from delusion, which leads to self-settledness. From self-settledness comes Jeevan Mukti.
What good is lust when youth has fled ? What use is a lake which has no water ? Where are the relatives when wealth is gone ? Where is samsara when the Truth is known ?
Do not boast of wealth, friends, and youth. Each one of these are destroyed within a minute. Free yourself from the illusion of the world of Maya and attain the timeless Truth.
Oh mad man ! Why this engrossment in thoughts of wealth ? Is there no one to guide you ? There is only one thing in three worlds that can save you from the ocean from samsara. Get into that boat of satsangha quickly. Stanza attributed to Padmapada.
There are many who go with matted locks, many who have clean shaven heads, many whose hairs have been plucked out; some are clothed in saffron, yet others in various colors --- all just for a livelihood. Seeing truth revealed before them, still the foolish ones see it not. Stanza attributed to Totakacharya.
Strength has left the old man's body; his head has become bald, his gums toothless and leaning on crutches. Even then the attachment is strong and he clings firmly to fruitless desires. Stanza attributed to Hastamalaka.
Behold there lies the man who sits warming up his body with the fire in fromt and the sun at the back; at night he curls up the body to keep out of the cold; he eats his beggar's food from the bowl of his hand and sleeps beneath the tree. Still in his heart, he is a wretched puppet at the hands of passions. Stanza attributed to Subodha.
One may go to gangasagar, observe fasts, and give away riches in charity ! Yet, devoid of jnana, nothing can give mukthi even at the end of a hundred births. Stanza attributed to Sureshwaracharya.
Take your residence in a temple or below a tree, wear the deerskin for the dress, and sleep with mother earth as your bed. Give up all attachments and renounce all comforts. Blessed with such vairagya, could any fail to be content ? Stanza attributed to Nityananda.
One may take delight in yoga or bhoga, may have attachment or detachment. But only he whose mind steadily delights in Brahman enjoys bliss, no one else. Stanza attributed to Anandagiri.
Let a man read but a little from giitaa, drink just a drop of water from the ganges, worship murari (govinda) just once. He then will have no altercation with Yama. Stanza attributed to dR^iDhabhakta.
ramate baalonmattavadeva .. 22..
There is no shortage of clothing for a monk so long as there are rags cast off the road. Freed from vice and virtue, onward he wanders. One who lives in communion with God enjoys bliss, pure and uncontaminated, like a child and as someone intoxicated. Stanza attributed to Nityanatha.
Who are you ? Who am I ? From where do I come ? Who is my mother, who is my father ? Ponder thus, look at everything as essenceless and give up the world as an idle dream. Stanza attributed to surendra.
In me, in you and in everything, none but the same Vishnu dwells. Your anger and impatience is meaningless. If you wish to attain the status of Vishnu soon, have samabhava always. Stanza attributed to medhaatithira.
Do not waste your efforts to win the love of or to fight against friend and foe, children and relatives. See yourself in everyone and give up all feelings of duality completely. Stanza attributed to medhaatithira.
Give up lust, anger, infatuation, and greed. Ponder over your real nature. Fools are they who are blind to the Self. Cast into hell they suffer there endlessly. Stanza attributed to bharativamsha.
Regularly recite from the Gita, meditate on Vishnu [thro' Vishnu sahasranama] in your heart, and chant His thousand glories. Take delight to be with the noble and the holy. Distribute your wealth in charity to the poor and the needy. Stanza attributed to sumatira.
Wealth is not welfare, truly there is no joy in it. Reflect thus at all times. A rich man fears even his own son. This is the way of wealth everywhere.
Regulate the pranas, remain unaffected by external influences and discriminate between the real and the fleeting. Chant the holy name of God and silence the turbulent mind. Perform these with care, with extreme care.
Oh devotee of the lotus feet of the Guru ! May thou be soon free from Samsara. Through disciplined senses and controlled mind, thou shalt come to experience the Indwelling Lord of your heart !
Thus was a silly grammarian lost in rules cleansed of his narrow vision and shown the Light by Shankara's apostles.
Is life really meaningless?
Life is not meaningful in this first sense. And it is good that life is not meaningful in that sense, because then life becomes only a means to reach to the faraway goal, the faraway star. Then life loses its autonomous beauty. It is just a way; the real thing is tomorrow.
Meaning has another category too: intrinsic. Life is tremendously meaningful in the second sense. Then meaning is not separate, somewhere else; then meaning is in the very living itself.
You don't ask, has love any meaning? You know love is itself meaningful, it is not a means to some end. You do not ask if the beauty of a rose is meaningful. The beauty itself is enough; it does not lead anywhere, it contains its meaning within itself.
Some day the new man is going to create a language which consists only of verbs, because that will be authentic to existence. In existence there is no noun. Have you seen "life"? Have you met "life" anywhere? All that you meet, experience, is living.
Sipping a cup of tea, going for a morning walk, doing your work -- all these small activities make up your living. And each part, each moment of living, is meaningful. You just have to be there; otherwise, who is going to experience the meaning?
People go on drinking tea, but they never are there; their minds are wandering all over the world. People are making love, but they are not there. It is a very strange world that we have created. In one bedroom there are at least four people. Already the bedrooms are so small, too difficult for two people; and in the bed there are four people, or even more. These two people who are making love are not there: the man is thinking of some Hollywood actress, the woman is thinking of Muhammad Ali. So there are four people. Who is making love to whom? These two people are simply going through the gestures of love -- they are not present -- mechanical gestures of love. And then they ask, "Is there any meaning in life?"
You go on losing every moment by your absence.
WHEN I WAS A STUDENT, my principal in the high school was continuously troubled by my absence from the school. My family was troubled. I would start going to school, but never reach there. Life was so much, and so many things were happening on the way... and the school was almost one mile away from the house.
The principal called me one day and said, "You are almost always absent."
I said, "That's where you are wrong."
I said, "I am always present wherever I am. To be absent is not my style of life. And what can I do? -- this one mile between the school and my house.... A magician was doing his tricks on the street, and I became present there. It was far more interesting than your teachers, and I learned more than I could have learned here -- because whatever your teacher is saying I can read in the book, but I will never meet that magician again. And he did such beautiful tricks that when he was finished I followed him to his tent outside the city.
"He asked me, 'Son, why are you following me?' I said, 'You are getting old. Don't you want your tricks to live on even when you are gone?' He said, 'That seems to be meaningful! -- you can come in. Many people have asked me to teach them the tricks, but not in this way.' So I have been with the magician.
I said, "You can see anybody you like, but remember that my father knows me perfectly well. Just let me be informed when you are coming so I can also be present there. You both will be absent -- because my father is continuously busy with his business, and you are busy with who is absent, who is present. At least let somebody into that meeting who is present!" I told him, "Be honest and sincere and tell me: Are you present right now?"
He said, "My God, perhaps you are right. I was thinking of my buffalo -- she has not returned for two days."
People are not there where they seem to be. This is why they go on missing the meaning of life. Just remain present to any small act you are doing. It does not matter -- you don't have to do great acts, become a world conqueror, go to the moon, or stand on top of Everest; it does not matter what you do.
But don't seek it somewhere else -- in a church, in a temple, in a holy book. You will not find it. Even if you come across God -- who, by the way, does not exist -- but even if you come across God, you will not be present. You may be thinking of your buffalo. It is good that God is not there; otherwise, he would be so embarrassed by all these saints of all the religions, because none of them is present to the moment. They are living a life somewhere else in the tomorrows -- and today goes on slipping by, and the tomorrow never comes. Finally comes death, not tomorrow.
Life is today! Tomorrow is death. So when you come across death, it is a great shock that life has gone by and you have not been able to find any meaning in it. And now there is no tomorrow left, and you are accustomed to search for meaning in the tomorrows. But you have been told about, taught about, prepared for, tomorrows.
If you understand me... I want you always to be present wherever you are. It does not matter where you are; just be totally present, and every small act, by your presence, will become lighted up, and you will know that your whole life becomes just a caravan of lights. That's the meaning. Death comes and goes, but the caravan continues.
From Bondage to Freedom,Chapter 40
The algebra of infinite justice
In the aftermath of the unconscionable September 11 suicide attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Centre, an American newscaster said: "Good and evil rarely manifest themselves as clearly as they did last Tuesday. People who we don't know massacred people who we do. And they did so with contemptuous glee." Then he broke down and wept.
Here's the rub: America is at war against people it doesn't know, because they don't appear much on TV. Before it has properly identified or even begun to comprehend the nature of its enemy, the US government has, in a rush of publicity and embarrassing rhetoric, cobbled together an "international coalition against terror", mobilised its army, its air force, its navy and its media, and committed them to battle.
The trouble is that once Amer ica goes off to war, it can't very well return without having fought one. If it doesn't find its enemy, for the sake of the enraged folks back home, it will have to manufacture one. Once war begins, it will develop a momentum, a logic and a justification of its own, and we'll lose sight of why it's being fought in the first place.
What we're witnessing here is the spectacle of the world's most powerful country reaching reflexively, angrily, for an old instinct to fight a new kind of war. Suddenly, when it comes to defending itself, America's streamlined warships, cruise missiles and F-16 jets look like obsolete, lumbering things. As deterrence, its arsenal of nuclear bombs is no longer worth its weight in scrap. Box-cutters, penknives, and cold anger are the weapons with which the wars of the new century will be waged. Anger is the lock pick. It slips through customs unnoticed. Doesn't show up in baggage checks.
Who is America fighting? On September 20, the FBI said that it had doubts about the identities of some of the hijackers. On the same day President George Bush said, "We know exactly who these people are and which governments are supporting them." It sounds as though the president knows something that the FBI and the American public don't.
In his September 20 address to the US Congress, President Bush called the enemies of America "enemies of freedom". "Americans are asking, 'Why do they hate us?' " he said. "They hate our freedoms - our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other." People are being asked to make two leaps of faith here. First, to assume that The Enemy is who the US government says it is, even though it has no substantial evidence to support that claim. And second, to assume that The Enemy's motives are what the US government says they are, and there's nothing to support that either.
For strategic, military and economic reasons, it is vital for the US government to persuade its public that their commitment to freedom and democracy and the American Way of Life is under attack. In the current atmosphere of grief, outrage and anger, it's an easy notion to peddle. However, if that were true, it's reasonable to wonder why the symbols of America's economic and military dominance - the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon - were chosen as the targets of the attacks. Why not the Statue of Liberty? Could it be that the stygian anger that led to the attacks has its taproot not in American freedom and democracy, but in the US government's record of commitment and support to exactly the opposite things - to military and economic terrorism, insurgency, military dictatorship, religious bigotry and unimaginable genocide (outside America)? It must be hard for ordinary Americans, so recently bereaved, to look up at the world with their eyes full of tears and encounter what might appear to them to be indifference. It isn't indifference. It's just augury. An absence of surprise. The tired wisdom of knowing that what goes around eventually comes around. American people ought to know that it is not them but their government's policies that are so hated. They can't possibly doubt that they themselves, their extraordinary musicians, their writers, their actors, their spectacular sportsmen and their cinema, are universally welcomed. All of us have been moved by the courage and grace shown by firefighters, rescue workers and ordinary office staff in the days since the attacks.
America's grief at what happened has been immense and immensely public. It would be grotesque to expect it to calibrate or modulate its anguish. However, it will be a pity if, instead of using this as an opportunity to try to understand why September 11 happened, Americans use it as an opportunity to usurp the whole world's sorrow to mourn and avenge only their own. Because then it falls to the rest of us to ask the hard questions and say the harsh things. And for our pains, for our bad timing, we will be disliked, ignored and perhaps eventually silenced.
The world will probably never know what motivated those particular hijackers who flew planes into those particular American buildings. They were not glory boys. They left no suicide notes, no political messages; no organisation has claimed credit for the attacks. All we know is that their belief in what they were doing outstripped the natural human instinct for survival, or any desire to be remembered. It's almost as though they could not scale down the enormity of their rage to anything smaller than their deeds. And what they did has blown a hole in the world as we knew it. In the absence of information, politicians, political commentators and writers (like myself) will invest the act with their own politics, with their own interpretations. This speculation, this analysis of the political climate in which the attacks took place, can only be a good thing.
But war is looming large. Whatever remains to be said must be said quickly. Before America places itself at the helm of the "international coalition against terror", before it invites (and coerces) countries to actively participate in its almost godlike mission - called Operation Infinite Justice until it was pointed out that this could be seen as an insult to Muslims, who believe that only Allah can mete out infinite justice, and was renamed Operation Enduring Freedom- it would help if some small clarifications are made. For example, Infinite Justice/Enduring Freedom for whom? Is this America's war against terror in America or against terror in general? What exactly is being avenged here? Is it the tragic loss of almost 7,000 lives, the gutting of five million square feet of office space in Manhattan, the destruction of a section of the Pentagon, the loss of several hundreds of thousands of jobs, the bankruptcy of some airline companies and the dip in the New York Stock Exchange? Or is it more than that? In 1996, Madeleine Albright, then the US secretary of state, was asked on national television what she felt about the fact that 500,000 Iraqi children had died as a result of US economic sanctions. She replied that it was "a very hard choice", but that, all things considered, "we think the price is worth it". Albright never lost her job for saying this. She continued to travel the world representing the views and aspirations of the US government. More pertinently, the sanctions against Iraq remain in place. Children continue to die.
So here we have it. The equivocating distinction between civilisation and savagery, between the "massacre of innocent people" or, if you like, "a clash of civilisations" and "collateral damage". The sophistry and fastidious algebra of infinite justice. How many dead Iraqis will it take to make the world a better place? How many dead Afghans for every dead American? How many dead women and children for every dead man? How many dead mojahedin for each dead investment banker? As we watch mesmerised, Operation Enduring Freedom unfolds on TV monitors across the world. A coalition of the world's superpowers is closing in on Afghanistan, one of the poorest, most ravaged, war-torn countries in the world, whose ruling Taliban government is sheltering Osama bin Laden, the man being held responsible for the September 11 attacks.
The only thing in Afghanistan that could possibly count as collateral value is its citizenry. (Among them, half a million maimed orphans.There are accounts of hobbling stampedes that occur when artificial limbs are airdropped into remote, inaccessible villages.) Afghanistan's economy is in a shambles. In fact, the problem for an invading army is that Afghanistan has no conventional coordinates or signposts to plot on a military map - no big cities, no highways, no industrial complexes, no water treatment plants. Farms have been turned into mass graves. The countryside is littered with land mines - 10 million is the most recent estimate. The American army would first have to clear the mines and build roads in order to take its soldiers in.
Fearing an attack from America, one million citizens have fled from their homes and arrived at the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The UN estimates that there are eight million Afghan citizens who need emergency aid. As supplies run out - food and aid agencies have been asked to leave - the BBC reports that one of the worst humanitarian disasters of recent times has begun to unfold. Witness the infinite justice of the new century. Civilians starving to death while they're waiting to be killed.
In America there has been rough talk of "bombing Afghanistan back to the stone age". Someone please break the news that Afghanistan is already there. And if it's any consolation, America played no small part in helping it on its way. The American people may be a little fuzzy about where exactly Afghanistan is (we hear reports that there's a run on maps of the country), but the US government and Afghanistan are old friends.
In 1979, after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the CIA and Pakistan's ISI (Inter Services Intelligence) launched the largest covert operation in the history of the CIA. Their purpose was to harness the energy of Afghan resistance to the Soviets and expand it into a holy war, an Islamic jihad, which would turn Muslim countries within the Soviet Union against the communist regime and eventually destabilise it. When it began, it was meant to be the Soviet Union's Vietnam. It turned out to be much more than that. Over the years, through the ISI, the CIA funded and recruited almost 100,000 radical mojahedin from 40 Islamic countries as soldiers for America's proxy war. The rank and file of the mojahedin were unaware that their jihad was actually being fought on behalf of Uncle Sam. (The irony is that America was equally unaware that it was financing a future war against itself.)
In 1989, after being bloodied by 10 years of relentless conflict, the Russians withdrew, leaving behind a civilisation reduced to rubble.
Civil war in Afghanistan raged on. The jihad spread to Chechnya, Kosovo and eventually to Kashmir. The CIA continued to pour in money and military equipment, but the overheads had become immense, and more money was needed. The mojahedin ordered farmers to plant opium as a "revolutionary tax". The ISI set up hundreds of heroin laboratories across Afghanistan. Within two years of the CIA's arrival, the Pakistan-Afghanistan borderland had become the biggest producer of heroin in the world, and the single biggest source of the heroin on American streets. The annual profits, said to be between $100bn and $200bn, were ploughed back into training and arming militants.
In 1995, the Taliban - then a marginal sect of dangerous, hardline fundamentalists - fought its way to power in Afghanistan. It was funded by the ISI, that old cohort of the CIA, and supported by many political parties in Pakistan. The Taliban unleashed a regime of terror. Its first victims were its own people, particularly women. It closed down girls' schools, dismissed women from government jobs, and enforced sharia laws under which women deemed to be "immoral" are stoned to death, and widows guilty of being adulterous are buried alive. Given the Taliban government's human rights track record, it seems unlikely that it will in any way be intimidated or swerved from its purpose by the prospect of war, or the threat to the lives of its civilians.
After all that has happened, can there be anything more ironic than Russia and America joining hands to re-destroy Afghanistan? The question is, can you destroy destruction? Dropping more bombs on Afghanistan will only shuffle the rubble, scramble some old graves and disturb the dead.
The desolate landscape of Afghanistan was the burial ground of Soviet communism and the springboard of a unipolar world dominated by America. It made the space for neocapitalism and corporate globalisation, again dominated by America. And now Afghanistan is poised to become the graveyard for the unlikely soldiers who fought and won this war for America.
And what of America's trusted ally? Pakistan too has suffered enormously. The US government has not been shy of supporting military dictators who have blocked the idea of democracy from taking root in the country. Before the CIA arrived, there was a small rural market for opium in Pakistan. Between 1979 and 1985, the number of heroin addicts grew from zero to one-and-a-half million. Even before September 11, there were three million Afghan refugees living in tented camps along the border. Pakistan's economy is crumbling. Sectarian violence, globalisation's structural adjustment programmes and drug lords are tearing the country to pieces. Set up to fight the Soviets, the terrorist training centres and madrasahs, sown like dragon's teeth across the country, produced fundamentalists with tremendous popular appeal within Pakistan itself. The Taliban, which the Pakistan government has sup ported, funded and propped up for years, has material and strategic alliances with Pakistan's own political parties.
Now the US government is asking (asking?) Pakistan to garotte the pet it has hand-reared in its backyard for so many years. President Musharraf, having pledged his support to the US, could well find he has something resembling civil war on his hands.
India, thanks in part to its geography, and in part to the vision of its former leaders, has so far been fortunate enough to be left out of this Great Game. Had it been drawn in, it's more than likely that our democracy, such as it is, would not have survived. Today, as some of us watch in horror, the Indian government is furiously gyrating its hips, begging the US to set up its base in India rather than Pakistan. Having had this ringside view of Pakistan's sordid fate, it isn't just odd, it's unthinkable, that India should want to do this. Any third world country with a fragile economy and a complex social base should know by now that to invite a superpower such as America in (whether it says it's staying or just passing through) would be like inviting a brick to drop through your windscreen.
Operation Enduring Freedom is ostensibly being fought to uphold the American Way of Life. It'll probably end up undermining it completely. It will spawn more anger and more terror across the world. For ordinary people in America, it will mean lives lived in a climate of sickening uncertainty: will my child be safe in school? Will there be nerve gas in the subway? A bomb in the cinema hall? Will my love come home tonight? There have been warnings about the possibility of biological warfare - smallpox, bubonic plague, anthrax - the deadly payload of innocuous crop-duster aircraft. Being picked off a few at a time may end up being worse than being annihilated all at once by a nuclear bomb.
The US government, and no doubt governments all over the world, will use the climate of war as an excuse to curtail civil liberties, deny free speech, lay off workers, harass ethnic and religious minorities, cut back on public spending and divert huge amounts of money to the defence industry. To what purpose? President Bush can no more "rid the world of evil-doers" than he can stock it with saints. It's absurd for the US government to even toy with the notion that it can stamp out terrorism with more violence and oppression. Terrorism is the symptom, not the disease. Terrorism has no country. It's transnational, as global an enterprise as Coke or Pepsi or Nike. At the first sign of trouble, terrorists can pull up stakes and move their "factories" from country to country in search of a better deal. Just like the multi-nationals.
Terrorism as a phenomenon may never go away. But if it is to be contained, the first step is for America to at least acknowledge that it shares the planet with other nations, with other human beings who, even if they are not on TV, have loves and griefs and stories and songs and sorrows and, for heaven's sake, rights. Instead, when Donald Rumsfeld, the US defence secretary, was asked what he would call a victory in America's new war, he said that if he could convince the world that Americans must be allowed to continue with their way of life, he would consider it a victory.
The September 11 attacks were a monstrous calling card from a world gone horribly wrong. The message may have been written by Bin Laden (who knows?) and delivered by his couriers, but it could well have been signed by the ghosts of the victims of America's old wars. The millions killed in Korea, Vietnam and Cambodia, the 17,500 killed when Israel - backed by the US - invaded Lebanon in 1982, the 200,000 Iraqis killed in Operation Desert Storm, the thousands of Palestinians who have died fighting Israel's occupation of the West Bank. And the millions who died, in Yugoslavia, Somalia, Haiti, Chile, Nicaragua, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, Panama, at the hands of all the terrorists, dictators and genocidists whom the American government supported, trained, bankrolled and supplied with arms. And this is far from being a comprehensive list.
For a country involved in so much warfare and conflict, the American people have been extremely fortunate. The strikes on September 11 were only the second on American soil in over a century. The first was Pearl Harbour. The reprisal for this took a long route, but ended with Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This time the world waits with bated breath for the horrors to come.
Someone recently said that if Osama bin Laden didn't exist, America would have had to invent him. But, in a way, America did invent him. He was among the jihadis who moved to Afghanistan in 1979 when the CIA commenced its operations there. Bin Laden has the distinction of being created by the CIA and wanted by the FBI. In the course of a fortnight he has been promoted from suspect to prime suspect and then, despite the lack of any real evidence, straight up the charts to being "wanted dead or alive".
From all accounts, it will be impossible to produce evidence (of the sort that would stand scrutiny in a court of law) to link Bin Laden to the September 11 attacks. So far, it appears that the most incriminating piece of evidence against him is the fact that he has not condemned them.
From what is known about the location of Bin Laden and the living conditions in which he operates, it's entirely possible that he did not personally plan and carry out the attacks - that he is the inspirational figure, "the CEO of the holding company". The Taliban's response to US demands for the extradition of Bin Laden has been uncharacteristically reasonable: produce the evidence, then we'll hand him over. President Bush's response is that the demand is "non-negotiable".
(While talks are on for the extradition of CEOs - can India put in a side request for the extradition of Warren Anderson of the US? He was the chairman of Union Carbide, responsible for the Bhopal gas leak that killed 16,000 people in 1984. We have collated the necessary evidence. It's all in the files. Could we have him, please?)
But who is Osama bin Laden really? Let me rephrase that. What is Osama bin Laden? He's America's family secret. He is the American president's dark doppelgänger. The savage twin of all that purports to be beautiful and civilised. He has been sculpted from the spare rib of a world laid to waste by America's foreign policy: its gunboat diplomacy, its nuclear arsenal, its vulgarly stated policy of "full-spectrum dominance", its chilling disregard for non-American lives, its barbarous military interventions, its support for despotic and dictatorial regimes, its merciless economic agenda that has munched through the economies of poor countries like a cloud of locusts. Its marauding multinationals who are taking over the air we breathe, the ground we stand on, the water we drink, the thoughts we think. Now that the family secret has been spilled, the twins are blurring into one another and gradually becoming interchangeable. Their guns, bombs, money and drugs have been going around in the loop for a while. (The Stinger missiles that will greet US helicopters were supplied by the CIA. The heroin used by America's drug addicts comes from Afghanistan. The Bush administration recently gave Afghanistan a $43m subsidy for a "war on drugs"....)
Now Bush and Bin Laden have even begun to borrow each other's rhetoric. Each refers to the other as "the head of the snake". Both invoke God and use the loose millenarian currency of good and evil as their terms of reference. Both are engaged in unequivocal political crimes. Both are dangerously armed - one with the nuclear arsenal of the obscenely powerful, the other with the incandescent, destructive power of the utterly hopeless. The fireball and the ice pick. The bludgeon and the axe. The important thing to keep in mind is that neither is an acceptable alternative to the other.
I suffer immensely from loneliness....
[Articles] > I suffer immensely from loneliness....
The darkness of loneliness cannot be fought directly. It is something essential for everyone to understand, that there are a few fundamental things which cannot be changed. This is one of the fundamentals: you cannot fight with darkness directly, with loneliness directly, with the fear of isolation directly. The reason is that all these things do not exist; they are simply absences of something, just as darkness is the absence of light.
Now what do you do when you want the room not to be dark? You don't do anything directly with darkness -- or do you? You cannot push it out. There is no possible way to make any arrangement so that the darkness disappears. You have to do something with the light. Now that changes the whole situation; and that's what I call one of the essentials, fundamentals. You don't even touch the darkness; you don't think about it. There is no point; it does not exist, it is simply an absence.
You can go on fighting with this darkness your whole life and you will not succeed, but just a small candle is enough to dispel it. You have to work for the light because it is positive, existential; it exists on it own. And once light comes, anything that was its absence automatically disappears.
Loneliness is similar to darkness.
You don't know your aloneness. You have not experienced your aloneness and its beauty, its tremendous power, its strength. Loneliness and aloneness in the dictionaries are synonymous, but existence does not follow your dictionaries. And nobody has yet tried to make an existential dictionary which will not be contradictory to existence.
Loneliness is absence.
Because you don't know your aloneness, there is fear. You feel lonely so you want to cling to something, to somebody, to some relationship, just to keep the illusion that you are not lonely. But you know you are -- hence the pain. On the one hand you are clinging to something which is not for real, which is just a temporary arrangement -- a relationship, a friendship.
And while you are in the relationship you can create a little illusion to forget your loneliness. But this is the problem: although you can forget for a moment your loneliness, just the next moment you suddenly become aware that the relationship or the friendship is nothing permanent. Yesterday you did not know this man or this woman, you were strangers. Today you are friends -- who knows about tomorrow? Tomorrow you may be strangers again -- hence the pain.
The illusion gives a certain solace, but it cannot create the reality so that all fear disappears. It represses the fear, so on the surface you feel good -- at least you try to feel good. You pretend to feel good to yourself: how wonderful is the relationship, how wonderful is the man or the woman. But behind the illusion -- and the illusion is so thin that you can see behind it -- there is pain in the heart, because the heart knows perfectly well that tomorrow things may not be the same... and they are not the same.
Your whole life's experience supports that things go on changing. Nothing remains stable; you cannot cling to anything in a changing world. You wanted to make your friendship something permanent but your wanting is against the law of change, and that law is not going to make exceptions. It simply goes on doing its own thing. It will change -- everything.
Perhaps in the long run you will understand one day that it was good that it did not listen to you, that existence did not bother about you and just went on doing whatever it wanted to do... not according to your desire.
It may take a little time for you to understand. You want this friend to be your friend forever, but tomorrow he turns into an enemy. Or simply -- "You get lost!" and he is no longer with you. Somebody else fills the gap who is a far superior being. Then suddenly you realize it was good that the other one got lost; otherwise you would have been stuck with him. But still the lesson never goes so deep that you stop asking for permanence.
You will start asking for permanence with this man, with this woman: now this should not change. You have not really learned the lesson that change is simply the very fabric of life. You have to understand it and go with it. Don't create illusions; they are not going to help. And everybody is creating illusions of different kinds.
I used to know one man who said, "I trust only money. I trust nobody else."
He said, "Everybody changes. You cannot rely on anybody. And as you get older, only your money is yours. Nobody cares -- not even your son, not even your wife. If you have money they all care, they all respect you, because you have money. If you don't have money you become a beggar."
His saying that the only thing in the world to trust is money comes out of a long experience of life, of getting cheated again and again by the people he trusted -- and he thought they loved him but they were all around him for the money.
"But," I told him, "at the moment of death money is not going to be with you. You can have an illusion that at least money is with you, but as your breathing stops, money is no longer with you. You have earned something but it will be left on this side; you cannot carry it beyond death. You will fall into a deep loneliness which you have been hiding behind the facade of money."
There are people who are after power, but the reason is the same: when they are in power so many people are with them, millions of people are under their domination. They are not alone. They are great political and religious leaders. But power changes. One day you have it, another day it is gone, and suddenly the whole illusion disappears. You are lonely as nobody else is, because others are accustomed to being lonely. You are not accustomed... your loneliness hurts you more.
Society has tried to make arrangements so you can forget loneliness. Arranged marriages are just an effort so that you know your wife is with you. All religions resist divorce for the simple reason that if divorce is allowed then the basic purpose marriage was invented for is destroyed. The basic purpose was to give you a companion, a lifelong companion.
But even though a wife will be with you or a husband will be with you for your whole life, that does not mean that love remains the same. In fact, rather than giving you a companion, they give you a burden to carry. You were lonely, already in trouble, and now you have to carry another person who is lonely. And in this life there is no hope, because once love disappears you both are lonely, and both have to tolerate each other. Now it is not a question of being enchanted by each other; at the most you can patiently tolerate each other. Your loneliness has not been changed by the social strategy of marriage.
Religions have tried to make you a member of an organized body of religion so you are always in a crowd. You know that there are six hundred million Catholics; you are not alone, six hundred million Catholics are with you. Jesus Christ is your savior. God is with you. Alone you may have been wrong -- doubt may have arisen -- but six hundred million people cannot be wrong. A little support... but even that is gone because there are millions who are not Catholics. There are the people who crucified Jesus. There are people who don't believe in God -- and their number is not less than Catholics, it is more than Catholics. And there are other religions with different concepts.
It is difficult for an intelligent person not to doubt. You may have millions of people following a certain belief system, but still you cannot be certain that they are with you, that you are not lonely.
God was a device, but all devices have failed. It was a device... when nothing is there, at least God is with you. He is always everywhere with you. In the dark night of the soul, he is with you -- don't be worried.
It was good for a childish humanity to be deceived by this concept, but you cannot be deceived by this concept. This God who is always everywhere -- you don't see him, you can't talk to him, you can't touch him. You don't have any evidence for his existence -- except your desire that he should be there. But your desire is not a proof of anything.
God is only a desire of the childish mind.
What I am trying to say is that every effort that has been directed towards avoiding loneliness has failed, and will fail, because it is against the fundamentals of life. What is needed is not something in which you can forget your loneliness. What is needed is that you become aware of your aloneness, which is a reality. And it is so beautiful to experience it, to feel it, because it is your freedom from the crowd, from the other. It is your freedom from the fear of being lonely.
Just the word "lonely" immediately reminds you that it is like a wound: something is needed to fill it. There is a gap and it hurts: something needs to be filled in. The very word "aloneness" does not have the same sense of a wound, of a gap which has to be filled. Aloneness simply means completeness. You are whole; there is no need of anybody else to complete you.
So try to find your innermost center, where you are always alone, have always been alone. In life, in death -- wherever you are you will be alone. But it is so full -- it is not empty, it is so full and so complete and so overflowing with all the juices of life, with all the beauties and benedictions of existence, that once you have tasted aloneness the pain in the heart will disappear. Instead, a new rhythm of tremendous sweetness, peace, joy, bliss, will be there.
It does not mean that a man who is centered in his aloneness, complete in himself, cannot make friends -- in fact only he can make friends, because now it is no longer a need, it is just sharing. He has so much; he can share.
Friendship can be of two types. One is a friendship in which you are a beggar -- you need something from the other to help your loneliness -- and the other is also a beggar; he wants the same from you. And naturally two beggars cannot help each other. Soon they will see that their begging from a beggar has doubled or multiplied the need. Instead of one beggar, now there are two. And if, unfortunately, they have children, then there are a whole company of beggars who are asking -- and nobody has anything to give.
When you share, there is no question of clinging. You flow with existence, you flow with life's change, because it doesn't matter with whom you share. It can be the same person tomorrow -- the same person for your whole life -- or it can be different persons. It is not a contract, it is not a marriage; it is simply out of your fullness that you want to give. So whosoever happens to be near you, you give it. And giving is such a joy.
Begging is such a misery. Even if you get something through begging, you will remain miserable. It hurts. It hurts your pride, it hurts your integrity. But sharing makes you more centered, more integrated, more proud, but not more egoistic -- more proud that existence has been compassionate to you. It is not ego; it is a totally different phenomenon... a recognition that existence has allowed you something for which millions of people are trying, but at the wrong door. You happen to be at the right door.
You can love a person, and if the person loves somebody else there will not be any jealousy, because you loved out of so much joy. It was not a clinging. You were not holding the other person in prison. You were not worried that the other person may slip out of your hands, that somebody else may start having a love affair...
When you are sharing your joy, you don't create a prison for anybody. You simply give. You don't even expect gratitude or thankfulness because you are not giving to get anything, not even gratitude. You are giving because you are so full you have to give.
So if anybody is thankful, you are thankful to the person who has accepted your love, who has accepted your gift. He has unburdened you, he allowed you to shower on him. And the more you share, the more you give, the more you have. So it does not make you a miser, it does not create a new fear that "I may lose it." In fact the more you lose it, the more fresh waters are flowing in from springs you have not been aware of before.
So I will not tell you to do anything about your loneliness.
Look for your aloneness.
Forget loneliness, forget darkness, forget pain. These are just the absence of aloneness. The experience of aloneness will dispel them instantly. And the method is the same: just watch your mind, be aware. Become more and more conscious, so finally you are only conscious of yourself. That is the point where you become aware of aloneness.
You will be surprised that different religions have given different names to the ultimate state of realization. The three religions born outside of India don't have any name for it because they never went far in the search for oneself. They remained childish, immature, clinging to a God, clinging to prayer, clinging to a savior. You can see what I mean: they are always dependent -- somebody else is to save them. They are not mature. Judaism, Christianity, Islam -- they are not mature at all and perhaps that is the reason they have influenced the greatest majority in the world, because most of the people in the world are immature. They have a certain affinity.
But the three religions in India have three names for this ultimate state. And I remembered this because of the word aloneness. Jainism has chosen kaivalya, aloneness, as the ultimate state of being. Just as Buddhism chose nirvana, no-selfness, and Hinduism chose moksha, freedom, Jainism chose absolute aloneness. All three words are beautiful. They are three different aspects of the same reality. You can call it liberation, freedom; you can call it aloneness; you can call it selflessness, nothingness -- just different indicators towards that ultimate experience for which no name is sufficient.
But always look to see if anything that you are facing as a problem is a negative thing or a positive thing. If it is a negative thing then don't fight with it; don't bother about it at all. Just look for the positive of it, and you will be at the right door.
There is no door; there is only darkness, there is only absence. And the more they fight, the more they find failure, the more they become dejected, pessimistic ... and ultimately they start finding that life has no meaning, that it is simply torture. But their mistake is they entered from the wrong door.
So before you face a problem, just look at the problem: is it an absence of something? And all your problems are the absence of something. And once you have found what they are the absence of, then go after the positive. And the moment you find the positive, the light -- the darkness is finished.
I often panic, and worry that I might go mad....
The basic thing to be understood is that you are not the mind -- neither the bright one nor the dark one. If you get identified with the beautiful part, then it is impossible to disidentify yourself from the ugly part; they are two sides of the same coin. You can have it whole, or you can throw it away whole, but you cannot divide it.
The moment you are not choosing, all worry disappears. A great acceptance arises, that this is how the mind has to be, this is the nature of the mind -- and it is not your problem, because you are not the mind. If you were the mind, there would have been no problem at all. Then who would choose and who would think of transcending? And who would try to accept and understand acceptance?
You are only a witness and nothing else.
But you started the whole trouble. Falling from being just a witness, you became identified. The biblical story of the fall is just a fiction. But this is the real fall -- the fall from being a witness into getting identified with something and losing your witnessing.
Just try once in a while: Let the mind be whatever it is. Remember, you are not it. And you are going to have a great surprise. As you are less identified, the mind starts becoming less powerful, because its power comes from your identification; it sucks your blood. But when you start standing aloof and away, the mind starts shrinking.
The day you are completely unidentified with the mind, even for a single moment, there is the revelation: mind simply dies; it is no longer there. Where it was so full, where it was so continuous -- day in, day out, waking, sleeping, it was there -- suddenly it is not there. You look all around and it is emptiness, it is nothingness.
And with the mind disappears the self. Then there is only a certain quality of awareness, with no "I" in it. At the most you can call it something similar to "am-ness," but not "I-ness." To be even more exact, it is "is-ness" because even in am-ness some shadow of the "I" is still there. The moment you know its is-ness, it has become universal.
With the disappearance of the mind disappears the self. And so many things disappear which were so important to you, so troublesome to you. You were trying to solve them and they were becoming more and more complicated; everything was a problem, an anxiety, and there seemed to be no way out.
I remind you of the story The Goose is Out. It is concerned with the mind and your is-ness.
The master tells the disciple to meditate on a koan: A small goose is put into a bottle, fed and nourished. The goose goes on becoming bigger and bigger and bigger, and fills the whole bottle. Now it is too big; it cannot come out of the bottle's mouth -- the mouth is too small. And the koan is that you have to bring the goose out without destroying the bottle, without killing the goose.
What can you do? The goose is too big; you cannot take it out unless you break the bottle, but that is not allowed. Or you can bring it out by killing it; then you don't care whether it comes out alive or dead. That is not allowed either.
Day in, day out, the disciple meditates, finds no way, thinks this way and that way -- but in fact there is no way. Tired, utterly exhausted, a sudden revelation... suddenly he understands that the master cannot be interested in the bottle and the goose; they must represent something else. The bottle is the mind, you are the goose... and with witnessing, it is possible. Without being in the mind, you can become identified with it so much that you start feeling you are in it!
If you go on struggling with the goose and the bottle, there is no way for you to solve it. It is the realization that, "It must represent something else; otherwise the master cannot give it to me. And what can it be?" -- because the whole function between the master and the disciple, the whole business is about the mind and awareness.
Awareness is the goose which is not in the bottle of the mind. But you are believing that it is in it and asking everyone how to get it out. And there are idiots who will help you, with techniques, to get out of it. I call them idiots because they have not understood the thing at all.
The goose is out, has never been in, so the question of bringing it out does not arise.
Mind is just a procession of thoughts passing in front of you on the screen of the brain. You are an observer. But you start getting identified with beautiful things -- those are bribes. And once you get caught in the beautiful things you are also caught in the ugly things, because mind cannot exist without duality.
Awareness is non-dual, and mind is dual. So just watch. I don't teach you any solutions. I teach you the solution: Just get back a little and watch. Create a distance between you and your mind.
I have seen, when I was young... I have not seen any movie for a long time. But I have seen people weeping, tears coming down -- and nothing is happening! It is good that in a movie house it is dark; it saves them from feeling embarrassed. I used to ask my father, "Did you see? The fellow by your side was crying!"
"But," I said, "there is only a screen and nothing else. Nobody is killed, there is no tragedy happening -- just a projection of a film, just pictures moving on the screen. And people laugh, and people weep, and for three hours they are almost lost. They become part of the movie, they become identified with some character..."
My father said to me, "If you are raising questions about people's reactions then you cannot enjoy the film."
I said, "I can enjoy the film, but I don't want to cry; I don't see any enjoyment in it. I can see it as a film, but I don't want to become a part of it. These people are all becoming a part of it."
My grandfather had an old barber who was an opium addict. For something which was possible to do in five minutes he would take two hours, and he would talk continuously. But they were old friends from their childhood. I can still see my grandfather sitting in the chair of the old barber... And he was a lovely talker. These opium addicts have a certain quality, a beauty of talking, telling stories about themselves, what is happening day-to-day; it is true.
I said to him one day, "About everything you go on saying, `Yes, right, it is great.' Sometimes he is talking nonsense, simply irrelevant."
In India razor blades are not used; things almost like six-inch long knives are used as razor blades. "Now what do you want me to say? -- with that man who has a knife, a sharp knife in his hand, just on my throat. To say no to him... he will kill me! And he knows it. He sometimes tells me, `You never say no. You always say yes, you always say great.' And I have told him, `You should understand that you are always under the influence of opium. It is impossible to talk with you, to discuss with you or to disagree with you. You have a knife on my throat, and you want me to say no to something?'"
I said, "Then why don't you change from this man? There are so many other barbers, and this man takes two hours for a five-minute job. Sometimes he takes half your beard and then he says, `I am coming back, you sit.' And he is gone for an hour, because he gets involved in a discussion with somebody and forgets completely that a customer is sitting in his chair. Then he comes and says, `My God, so you are still sitting here?'"
The barber would say, "I got in such a good argument with somebody that I completely forgot about you. It is good that that man had to go; otherwise you would have been sitting here the whole day. And sometimes I don't even close the shop at night. I simply go home, just forget to close, and once in a while a customer is still sitting in the chair and I am sleeping. Somebody has to say to him, `Now you can go; that man will not be seen again before tomorrow morning. He is fast asleep in his home. He has forgotten to close his shop and he has forgotten about you.'"
And if you were angry... Sometimes new people got into his shop, and became angry. He would say, "Calm down. At the most you need not pay me. I have cut only half of the beard; you can just go. I don't want to argue. You need not pay me; I don't ask even half payment."
But nobody can leave his chair with half the beard shaved -- or half the head shaved! You ask him just to shave the beard and he starts shaving your head, and by the time you notice, he has already done the job. So he asks you, "Now what do you want? -- because almost one-fourth of the work is done. If you want to keep it this way I can leave it; otherwise I can finish it. But I will not charge for it because if you say that you never wanted it to be cut, then it is my fault and I should take the punishment. I will not charge you."
This man was dangerous! But my grandfather used to say, "He is dangerous but he is lovely and I have become so much identified with him that I cannot conceive that if he dies before me I will be able to go to another barber's shop. I cannot conceive... for my whole life he has been my barber. The identity has become so deep that I may stop shaving my beard, but I cannot change my barber."
You get identified with anything. People get identified with persons and then they create misery for themselves. They get identified with things, then they get miserable if that thing is missing.
Identification is the root cause of your misery. And every identification is identification with the mind.
And soon you will be able to see that there is no problem at all -- the goose is out. You don't have to break the bottle, you don't have to kill the goose either.
Osho, Beyond Psychology, chapter 19
The real meaning of peace
[Lessons] > The real meaning of peace
This Week's Inspirational Message
[InspirationPeak|http://www.inspirationpeak.com]
"There once was a king who offered a prize to the artist who would paint
the pictures. But there were only two he really liked, and he had to
One picture was of a calm lake. The lake was a perfect mirror for
The other picture had mountains, too. But these were rugged and bare.
bird on her nest - in perfect peace.
Which picture do you think won the prize? The king chose the second
midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart. That is the
"There is no security in life; only opportunity."
What is the meaning of Life?
Life in itself has no meaning. Life is an opportunity to create meaning. Meaning has not to be discovered: it has to be created. You will find meaning only if you create it. It is not lying there somewhere behind the bushes, so you can go and you search a little bit and find it. It is not there like a rock that you will find. It is a poetry to be composed, it is a song to be sung, it is a dance to be danced.
Meaning is a dance, not a rock. Meaning is music. You will find it only if you create it. Remember it.
Millions of people are living meaningless lives because of this utterly stupid idea that meaning has to be discovered. As if it is already there. All that you need is to just pull the curtain, and behold! meaning is here. It is not like that.
So remember: Buddha finds the meaning because he creates it. I found it because I created it. God is not a thing but a creation. And only those who create find. And it is good that meaning is not lying there somewhere, otherwise one person would have discovered it -- then what would be the need for everybody else to discover it?
Can't you see the difference between religious meaning and scientific meaning? Albert Einstein discovered the theory of relativity; now, do you have to discover it again and again? You will be foolish if you discover it again and again. What is the point? One man has done it; he has given you the map. It may have taken years for him, but for you to understand it will take hours. You can go to the university and learn.
But to understand the meaning of Zarathustra, you will have to become a Zarathustra -- less than that won't do. You will have to create it again. And each individual has to give birth to God, to meaning, to truth; each man has to become pregnant with it and pass through the pains of birth. Each one has to carry it in one's womb, feed it by one's own blood, and only then does one discover.
You must be waiting passively for the meaning to come... it will never come. This has been the idea of the past religions, that the meaning is already there. It is not! Freedom is there to create it, energy is there to create it. The field is there to sow the seeds and reap the crop. All is there -- but the meaning has to be created. That's why to create it is such a joy, such an adventure, such an ecstasy.
So the first thing: religion has to be creative. Up to now, religion has remained very passive, almost impotent. You don't expect a religious person to be creative. You just expect him to fast, sit in a cave, get up early in the morning, chant mantras... and this kind of stupid thing. And you are perfectly satisfied! What is he doing? And you praise him because he goes on long fasts. Maybe he is a masochist; maybe he enjoys torturing himself. He sits there when it is icy cold, naked, and you appreciate him. But what is the point, what is the value in it? All the animals of the world are naked in the icy cold -- they are not saints. Or when it is hot, he sits in the hot sun, and you appreciate him. You say, "Look! here is a great ascetic." But what is he doing? What is his contribution to the world? What beauty has he added to the world? Has he changed the world a little bit? Has he made it a little more sweet, more fragrant? No, you don't ask that.
Now, I tell you, this has to be asked: Praise a man because he has created a song. Praise a man because he has created a beautiful sculpture. Praise a man because he plays such a beautiful flute. Let these be religious qualities from now onwards. Praise a man because he is such a lover -- love is religion. Praise a man: because of him the world is becoming more graceful.
Forget all these stupid things! -- fasting and just sitting in a cave, torturing oneself or lying down on a bed of nails. Praise a man because he has cultivated beautiful roses. The world is more colorful because of him. And then you will find meaning.
Meaning comes out of creativity. Religion has to become more poetic, more aesthetic.
And second thing: sometimes it happens that you search for the meaning because you have already concluded. Out of a conclusion you search for it. You have already decided what meaning should be there, or has to be there... and then you don't find it.
The inquiry has to be pure. What do I mean when I say the inquiry has to be pure? It should be without any conclusion. It should not have any a priori in it.
For example, if a man comes into my garden and thinks if he can find a diamond there then this garden is beautiful, and he cannot find the diamond, so he says there is no meaning in the garden.... And there are so many beautiful flowers, and so many birds singing, and so many colors, and the wind blowing through the pines, and the moss on the rocks. But he cannot see any meaning because he has a certain idea: he has to find the diamond, a Kohinoor -- only then will there be meaning.
He is missing meaning because of his idea. Let your inquiry be pure. Don't move with any fixed idea. Go naked and nude. Go open and empty. And you will find not only one meaning -- you will find a thousand and one meanings. Then each thing will become meaningful. Just a colored stone shining in the rays of the sun... or a dewdrop creating a small rainbow around itself... or just a small flower dancing in the wind.... What meaning are you searching for?
Don't start with a conclusion, otherwise you have started wrongly from the very beginning. Go without a conclusion! That's what I mean when I say again and again: Go without knowledge if you want to find truth. The knowledgeable person never finds it. His knowledge is a barrier.
"Ash," he answered, "it was simply nonsense. When she was willing, he wasn't willing. And when he was willing, she wasn't willing. And when they both were willing, down came the curtain!"
Now, if you have a fixed idea, then you are only looking for it, only looking for it.... And because of this narrowness of the mind, all that is available is missed.
Meaning has to be created. And meaning has to be searched for without any conclusions. If you can drop your knowledge, life will suddenly take on color, it will become psychedelic. But you are continuously carrying the load of your scriptures, books, theories, doctrines, philosophies... you are lost in all that. And everything has become mixed, hotchpotch. And you cannot even remember what is what.
So many thoughts in the mind, mixed up; nothing seems to be clear; you have heard so many things from so many sources -- your mind is a monster. And you are trying to remember, and you have been told to remember: Don't forget! And, naturally, the burden is so much that you cannot remember. Many things you have forgotten. Many things you have imagined and added on your own.
An Englishman visiting America attended a banquet and heard the Master of Ceremonies give the following toast:
Some weeks later when he returned to England, he attended a church luncheon and was asked to give a toast. In thunderous tones he addressed the crowded room:
After a long pause the crowd began to grow restless, glaring at the speaker indignantly. The speaker's friend sitting next to him whispered, "You had better explain yourself quickly."
That is happening. You remember this -- Plato has said this. And you remember that -- Lao Tzu has said that. And you remember what Jesus has said, and what Mohammed has said... and you remember many things. And they have all got mixed up. And you have not said a single thing on your own. Unless you say something on your own, you will miss the meaning.
Drop the knowledge and become more creative. Remember, knowledge is gathered -- you need not be creative about it; you have only to be receptive. And that's what man has become: man is reduced to being a spectator. He reads the newspapers, he reads the Bible and the Koran and the Gita; he goes to the movie, sits there and sees the movie; he goes to the football match, or sits before his TV, listens to the radio... and so on and so forth. Twenty-four hours a day he is just in a kind of inactivity, a spectator. Others are doing things, and he is simply watching. You will not find meaning by watching.
You can see a thousand and one lovers making love and you will not know what love is -- you will not know that orgasmic abandonment by watching. You will have to become a participant. Meaning comes through participation. Participate in life! Participate as deeply, as totally, as possible. Risk all for participation. If you want to know what dance is, don't go and see a dancer -- learn dancing, be a dancer. If you want to know anything, participate! That is the true and the right way, the authentic way, to know a thing. And there will be great meaning in your life. And not only one-dimensional -- multi-dimensional meanings. You will be showered by meanings.
And life has to be multi-dimensional, then only is there meaning. Never make life one-dimensional. That too is a problem.
Somebody becomes an engineer, and then he thinks all is finished. He becomes identified with being an engineer. Then his whole life he is just an engineer. And there were millions of things available. But he moves only on one track, becomes bored. Is fed up. Is tired, wearied. Goes on dragging. Waits only for death. What meaning can there be?
Have more interests in life. Don't be always a businessman. Sometimes play too. Don't be just a doctor or an engineer, or a headmaster, or a professor -- be as many things as possible! Play cards, play the violin, sing a song, be an amateur photographer, a poet.... Find as many things as possible in life, and then you will have richness. And meaning is a by-product of richness.
Socrates, while awaiting death in prison, was haunted by a dream that kept urging him, "Socrates, make music!" The old man felt he had always served art with his philosophizing. But now, spurred on by that mysterious voice, he turned fables into verse, indited a hymn to Apollo, and played the flute.
He had never played on the flute. Something inside him persisted, "Socrates, make music!" Just in the face of death! It looked so ridiculous. And he had never played, he had never made music. A part of his being had remained suffocated. Yes, even a man like Socrates, had remained one-dimensional. The denied part insisted, "Enough of logic -- a little music will be good, will bring balance. Enough of argumentation -- play on the flute." And the voice was so persistent that he had to yield to it.
His disciples must have been puzzled: "Has he gone mad? Socrates playing on the flute?" But to me it is very significant. The music could not have been very great, because he had never played. Absolutely amateurish, childish it must have been -- but still something was satisfied, something was bridged. He was no more one-sided. For the first time in his life, maybe, he was spontaneous. For the first time he had done something for which he could not supply any reason. Otherwise, he was a rational man.
It was a holiday, and the Hassidim had gathered to pray and to have a communion -- sat sang -- with the Master.
A man had come with his retarded child. He was a little worried about the child, the boy. He may do something, so he was keeping an eye on the boy. When the prayers were said, the boy asked his father, "I have got a whistle -- can I play on it?"
The father said, "Absolutely no -- where is your whistle," because he was afraid. He may not even listen to his "no." He showed the whistle and the father kept his hand on his pocket, the boy's pocket. Then there was dancing, and the father forgot and he also started dancing. And Hassids are dancers, joyous people -- the cream of Judaism, the very essence of Judaism is with them, with those mad people.
When everybody was praying to God and dancing, suddenly the boy could not resist any more. He took out his whistle and blew on it. Everybody was shocked! But Baal Shem came, hugged the boy, and said, "Our prayers are heard. Without this whistle, all was futile -- because this was the only spontaneous thing here. All else was ritual."
Don't allow your life to become just a dead ritual. Let there be moments, unexplainable. Let there be a few things which are mysterious, for which you cannot supply any reason. Let there be a few doings for which people will think you are a little crazy. A man who is a hundred percent sane is dead. A little bit of craziness by the side is always a great joy. Go on doing a few crazy things too. And then meaning will be posible.
Why do you contradict yourself?
[Articles] > Why do you contradict yourself?
Original Question:
Osho, I know that you love contradictions. A lot of it I can accept now as two sides of one coin. But today after lecture some questions still arose. On the one side you say the good and the bad are two sides of the same coin and both have to be and the one can't be without the other. On the other side you want to create a better world with your sannyasins. On the one side you tell us not to think in terms of the future. On the other side you are talking about the coming third world war. On the one side you tell us not to wish anything. On the other side it seems you want to avoid the third world war. On the one side you say things are okay as they are, there is no goal, nothing to achieve, to change. On the other side: what are you doing here? What are we doing here? I can feel there is an answer, but I can't point it out. Can you?
It is not that I love contradictions: life is contradictory. Existence itself is possible only through contradictions. It is the mind that has been trained in Aristotelian logic that becomes disturbed because of contradictions. The Aristotelian logic gives you a linear mind, a one-dimensional mind. It says: A can only be A and can never be B, and B can only be B and can never be A, and for two thousand years our minds have been conditioned by this logic.
This logic never had any sway over the mystics, and now even scientists are escaping from the Aristotelian prison. If you want to be true to life you cannot be a follower of Aristotle; to be true to life you will have to say things as they are. If you want to be true to Aristotle then you will have to repress a few things of life, deny, at least avoid, not look at them, choose only what fits with your logic.
The whole world has existed up to now according to one-dimensional logic -- and existence is multi-dimensional, it is rooted in contradictions. In fact, to call it a contradiction is again to use a word from Aristotle.
The mystics use the word "paradox," not "contradiction." In the very word "contradiction" there is condemnation: something is wrong, something has to be put right. But a paradox is a totally different phenomenon: nothing has to be put right. A paradox is a mystery, elusive, inexplicable.
Existence is a mystery. Mathematics is incapable of understanding it; mind is utterly impotent in understanding it, because mind knows only one way. The Aristotelian way is the mind's way. And anybody who knows life knows that Aristotle has been a calamity, the greatest that has ever existed in the world. And he is the father of modern philosophy, the father of modern science! But there are revolts against him. Mystics have always been revolting, now physicists are revolting.
It is as if to explain the beauty of a rose you take the rose to the chemist to dissect it, to analyze it, and to find out where the beauty is. The chemist is capable of analyzing the rose, but he will find only chemicals, not beauty. Beauty will evaporate. Beauty was in the paradox of the rose. It should not be according to logic -- hence logic is very blind.
Your problem, Suresh, is that you suffer from Aristotelitis. It is one of the most deep-rooted diseases.
You say: I know that you love contradictions.
It is not so that I love contradictions. What can I do? Contradictions are there! If I have to be true to the totality of existence I have to love them, otherwise something will have to be denied. And the moment you deny something you miss something immensely valuable, and the denial will never allow you to know the whole. And only the whole is true; the parts are only parts. They have some meaning only in the context of the whole; in themselves they are meaningless.
The success of science is rooted in Aristotle, but man's failure -- the failure of his joy, the failure of his love, the failure of his capacity to sing, dance and celebrate -- is also rooted in Aristotle. But there are clear-cut signs of revolt, particularly within these last thirty, forty years -- many great scientists have revolted against Aristotle. The first one to revolt was Albert Einstein.
Aristotle is very absolutistic: A is absolutely A and never B, man is absolutely man and never a woman. He believes in the absolutes, and Einstein brought the idea of relativity. He said absolutes don't exist; there are only relative things. A man is relatively more a man than a woman and a woman is relatively more a woman than a man, but the question is not one of absolute distinction -- they overlap. And you may be a man in the morning and you may not be a man by the evening; you may be a woman in the evening and you may not be a woman by the morning. You are not one-sided, you have many sides.
Have you not seen a woman in anger? Then she is more masculine than any male. And have you not seen a man when he is in love? -- his tenderness, his feminineness. He is more feminine than any woman can ever be. When a woman is in anger, enraged, her whole denied part starts functioning, and the denied part is very vital and alive because it has never been used.
A man went into a hospital to purchase a brain; because his own was not functioning well he wanted to replace it. The surgeon took him around; there were many brains available. He showed him the brain of a scientist, the price only a hundred rupees; the brain of a great, famous, well-known mathematician, and the price only two hundred rupees; and the brain of a great general, and the price only three hundred rupees -- so on and so forth. And then he came to the brain of a great political leader, and the price- was ten thousand rupees!
The surgeon said, "Please don't misunderstand us. It is not that the politician has a greater brain than the scientist or the general or the mathematician or the poet, but this is a brain which has never been used. It is brand new, hence the price!"
Whatsoever is not used and denied in you remains very vital. Hence a woman enraged is far more dangerous than a man; and if you have been in relationship with a woman you know it perfectly well -- she can drive you crazy! because that is the denied part, the unused part. When it is used it has vitality, newness. And when a man is tender, loving, he is more tender and loving than a woman. He can be more womanly because that is his denied part.
And then came the theory of uncertainty -- because up to now science was aware only of the superficial world of matter. It has not penetrated into the mysteries of matter as mystics have done in the inner world; they have penetrated into the mysteries of consciousness. And when they penetrated the mysteries of consciousness they became aware that it is not Aristotelian at all. Sometimes A is A and sometimes A is B; and not only that -- that sometimes A is B -- there are times when A is both A and not A simultaneously.
Mahavira said that; his philosophy is known as saptabhangi -- sevenfold. He must have appeared a very strange man. You asked one question and he would always answer your one question with seven answers, because his philosophy was sevenfold. He said, "I have come to see the seven aspects of the inner world." You asked him, "Does God exist?" and he would say, "First: perhaps he exists. Second: perhaps he does not. Third: perhaps he exists and yet does not exist. And fourth: perhaps he neither exists nor does not exist." And so on and so forth. He would give you seven answers. You would leave him more confused than you had come. That's why he could not influence many people. His religion remained one of the smallest although it had the potential of becoming one of the greatest religions of the world.
But now the days of Mahavira are coming: Albert Einstein has made the way for it. As the physicist entered deeper into the mysteries of matter he was very much puzzled -- Aristotle works no more, helps no more. On the contrary, if you remain hung up with Aristotle you have to deny a few things which you cannot deny -- they are there!
For example: matter does not exist at the deepest level of matter; matter is only apparent, it is maya. Shankara said it thousands of years ago: it is illusion. By "illusion" he does not mean that it does not exist; by "illusion" he simply means it appears to exist -- something else exists. Don't be deceived by the appearance. And the scientist found himself entering more into the world of Shankara than into the world of Aristotle. Matter disappears, there is only energy -- energy moving so fast that you cannot see its movement and it gives you the idea of solid matter.
Nothing is solid, everything is liquid. And when there is nothing solid, what meaning can the word "liquid" have? Then a new problem arises: if there is nothing solid, what do you mean by "liquid?" Liquidity had meaning only in reference to solidity; the moment solidity disappears, liquidity disappears...and you are dumb, in awe.
Only energy is, and the ways of energy are very paradoxical, very mystic. One particle of energy jumps from its place to another place; it is continuously lumping. It is taking quantum leaps. The term "quantum leap" comes from quanta. "Quanta" means the ultimate particle of energy, and "quantum leap" means a very different leap from what you understand by the word "leap."
When the ultimate particle of energy jumps from place A to B the phenomenon is very mysterious: it simply disappears from A and appears at B and you cannot find it anywhere in between. You come from your place to me; you will be found in between. How can you just jump from your place to my place? Even if you jump, you will have to pass through. Even if you take the fastest plane, still you will be in between. But the ultimate particle of matter simply disappears from one place and appears at another place and you cannot find it in between at all. Now what to make out of it? It should not be so, but it is so.
First scientists figured, "We must be missing it -- maybe we don't have sophisticated enough instruments. How can it be?" The old Aristotle was haunting them: "It must be somewhere in between." But now we have more sophisticated instruments -- it simply disappears. It becomes unmanifest in one place and becomes manifest again in another place. What happens in between nothing can be known about, because it becomes unmanifest; it simply disappears from existence. It moves into a totally different dimension which is not known at all and may never be known at all, because it is the unknowable.
And it was thought always, according to Aristotle and Euclid, that a point can never be a line. It was found by the physicists that the point can be both together: it can be a particle and a wave, it can be a point and a line. Euclidean geometry used to say -- you must have read it at school -- that two parallel lines never meet. Now there is something like non-Euclidean geometry which says they meet. What to make out of it? Euclidean geometry says you can draw a straight line: a straight line is the shortest distance between two points -- a well-known definition, every schoolboy knows about it. But non-Euclidean geometry has come with great force and is changing the whole course of scientific thinking.
Non-Euclidean geometry says you cannot draw a straight line at all; it is impossible to draw a straight line. Why? -- because you are sitting on an earth which is round. So whatsoever you draw, it appears straight because you don't know that you are sitting on a round globe. Go on drawing the line, go on drawing the line, and soon you will see that it becomes a circle, because it will cover the whole earth. And a straight line cannot be a part of a circle, obviously; if it is a part of a circle it is not straight. No straight line can create a circle, but every straight line that you know, if drawn to its ultimate, will become part of a circle. Then it is an are, not a straight line.
Mystics have always talked in paradoxes; now physicists are talking in paradoxes. And the reason is the same: mystics entered reality through their being and came across the mystery; physicists are coming across the same reality from another door -- the outward door.
I am not in love with contradictions -- they can't be helped. Existence is a paradox.
Is there a law of karma?
I have very little to say about it -- but it will still take two and a half hours! The law of karma, in the first place, is not a law. That word gives it an aroma as if it is something scientific, like the law of gravitation. It is merely a hope, not a law at all. It has been hoped for centuries that if you do good you will attain to good results. It is a human hope in existence which is absolutely neutral.
If you look at nature, there are laws -- the whole of science is nothing but discovery of those laws -- but science has not come even close to detecting anything like the law of karma. Yes, it is certain that any action is going to bring certain reactions, but the law of karma is hoping for much more. If you simply say any action is bound to produce some reactions, it is possible to have scientific support for it. But man is hoping for much more. He is asking that a good action inevitably brings a good consequence with it, and the same with a bad action.
Now, there are many things implied in this. First, What is good? Each society defines good according to itself. What is good to a Jew is not good to a Jaina; what is good to a Christian is not good to a Confucian. Not only that, what is good in one culture is bad in another culture. A law has to be universal. For example, if you heat water to one hundred degrees centigrade, it will evaporate -- in Tibet, in Russia, in America, even in Oregon. In Oregon it will be a little puzzled, but all the same at one hundred degrees water will evaporate. Certainly the law of karma is neither a scientific law nor part of any legal system.
Then what kind of law is it? It is a hope. A man wandering in immense darkness, groping his way, clings to anything that gives a little hope, a little light -- because what you observe in life itself is something totally different from the law of karma. A man who is a well-known criminal may succeed and become the president, the prime minister; or vice versa: he was not a criminal before, but when he becomes the president or prime minister of a country he becomes a criminal... So in life this strange situation happens: bad people reach good positions, become respectable or honored, not only in their time but throughout history. It is full of their names. In history, Gautam Buddha, Mahavira, Kanad, Gautam, Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, Lieh Tzu -- people like these you will not find even in the footnotes. And Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Tamerlane, Nadirshah, Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolf Hitler -- they make up the major portion of history. In fact, we have to write the whole of history again because all these people have to be completely erased. Even the memory of them should not be carried on, because even their memory may have evil effects on people.
A better humanity will not give these names even a place in the footnotes; there is no need. They were nightmares; it is better they are completely forgotten so they don't follow you like shadows. And we have to discover people who have lived on this earth and made it in every way beautiful; shared their joy, their dance, their music, shared their ecstasies -- but lived anonymously. People have completely forgotten even their names. To me, certainly each action has its result, but not somewhere far away in a future life. The action and the result are continuous, they are part of one process. Do you think sowing the seed and reaping the crop are separate? It is one process. What begins in sowing the seed, grows, and one day the one seed has become thousands of seeds. That's what you call your crop. It is the same seed which has exploded into thousands of seeds. No death is intervening, no afterlife is needed; it is a continuum.
So the one thing to be remembered is: in my vision of life, yes, every action is bound to have some consequences, but they will not be somewhere else, you will have them here and now. Most probably you will get them almost simultaneously. When you are kind to someone, don't you feel a certain joy? A certain peace? A certain meaningfulness? Don't you feel that you are contented with what you have done? There is a kind of deep satisfaction. Have you ever felt that contentment when you are angry, when you are boiling with anger, when you hurt somebody, when you are mad with rage? Have you ever felt a peace, a silence descending in you? No, it is impossible. You will certainly feel something, but it will be a sadness that you again acted like a fool, that again you have done the same stupid thing that you decided again and again not to do. You will feel a tremendous unworthiness in yourself. You will feel that you are not a man but a machine, because you don't respond, you react. A man may have done something, and you reacted. That man had the key in his hands, and you just danced according to his desire; he had power over you. When somebody abuses you and you start fighting, what does it mean? It means that you don't have any capacity not to react.
Osho, From Personality to Individuality, chapter 9
Procrastination
[Words] > Procrastination
PROCRASTINATION: TEN WAYS TO "DO IT NOW"
We've all been plagued by procrastination at one time or another. For some, it's a chronic problem. Others find that it hits only some areas of their lives. The net results, though, are usually the same - wasted time, missed opportunities, poor performance, self-deprecation, or increased stress.
Procrastination is letting the low-priority tasks get in the way of high-priority ones. It's socializing with colleagues when you know that important work project is due soon, watching TV instead of doing your household chores, or talking about superficial things with your partner rather than discussing your relationship concerns.
We all seem to do fine with things we want to do or enjoy doing for fun. But, when we perceive tasks as difficult, inconvenient, or scary, we may shift into our procrastination mode. We have very clever ways of fooling ourselves. See how many of the following excuses hit home for you:
There's plenty of time to get it done.
It's too hard to talk about. I don't know where to begin.
I work better under pressure so I don't need to do it right now.
I've got too many other things to do first.
Once exposed, these self-defeating statements don't sound so convincing. But, when we privately tell ourselves these excuses, they seem quite believable. Don't be fooled by how innocent they sound. They get us to postpone important tasks and duties.
Procrastination is a bad habit. Like other habits, there are two general causes. The first is the "crooked thinking" we employ to justify our behavior. The second source is our behavioral patterns.
A closer look at our crooked thinking reveals three major issues in delaying tactics - perfectionism, inadequacy, and discomfort. Those who believe they must turn in the most exemplary report may wait until all available resources have been reviewed or endlessly rewrite draft after draft. Worry over producing the perfect project prevents them from finishing on time. Feelings of inadequacy can also cause delays. Those who "know for a fact" that they are incompetent often believe they will fail and will avoid the unpleasantness of having their skills put to the test. Fear of discomfort is another way of putting a stop to what needs to be done. Yet, the more we delay, the worse the discomforting problem (like a toothache) becomes.
Our behavioral patterns are the second cause. Getting started on an unpleasant or difficult task may seem impossible. Procrastination is likened to the physics concept of inertia - a mass at rest tends to stay at rest. Greater forces are required to start change than to sustain change. Another way of viewing it is that avoiding tasks reinforces procrastination which makes it harder to get things going. A person may be stuck, too, not by the lack of desire, but by not knowing what to do. Here are some things to break the habit. Remember, don't just read them, do them!
1. Rational Self-Talk. Those old excuses really don't hold up to rational inspection. The "two-column technique" will help. Write down all your excuses on one side of a piece of paper. Start challenging the faulty reasoning behind each of the excuses. Write down your realistic thoughts on the opposite side of each excuse. Here are two examples of excuses and realistic thoughts.
EXCUSE: I'm not in the mood right now. REALISTIC THOUGHT: Mood doesn't do my work, actions do. If I wait for the right mood, I may never get it done. EXCUSE::I'm just lazy. REALISTIC THOUGHT: Labeling myself as lazy only brings me down. My work is really separate from who I am as a person. Getting started is the key to finishing.
2. Positive Self-Statements. Incorporate a list of self-motivating statements into your repertoire of thoughts. Consider ...
"The sooner I get done, the sooner I can play."
"There's no such thing as perfectionism. It's an illusion that keeps me from
3. Don't Catastrophe. Jumping to the conclusion that you will fail or that you are no good at something will only create a wall of fear that will stop you cold. Recognize that your negative predictions are not facts. Focus on the present and what positive steps you can take toward reaching your goals.
4. Design Clear Goals. Think about what you want and what needs to be done. Be specific. If it's getting that work project completed by the deadline, figure out a time table with realistic goals at each step. Keep your sights within reason. Having goals too big can scare you away from starting.
5. Set Priorities. Write down all the things that need to be done in order of their importance. The greater the importance or urgency, the higher their priority. Put "messing around" (distractions) in its proper place - last! Start at the top of the list and work your way down.
6. Partialize the Tasks. Big projects feel overwhelming. Break them down into the smallest and most manageable subparts. You'll get more done if you can do it piece by piece. For example, make an outline for a written report before you start composing or do a small portion of the chores rather than all at once. Partializing works especially well with the unpleasant jobs. Most of us can handle duties we dislike as long as they're for a short time and in small increments.
8. Take a Stand. Commit yourself to doing the task. Write yourself a "contract" and sign it. Better still, tell a friend, partner, or supervisor about your plans.
9. Use Prompts. Write reminders to yourself and put them in conspicuous places like on the TV, refrigerator, bathroom mirror, front door, and car dashboard. The more we remember, the greater the likelihood we'll follow through with our plans.
10. Reward Yourself. Self-reinforcement has a powerful effect on developing a "do it now" attitude. Celebrate, pat yourself on the back, smile, and let yourself enjoy the completion of even the smallest of tasks. Don't minimize your accomplishments. Remember, you're already that much closer to finishing those things that need to be done. Go ahead, get started ... NOW!
This information was written by Kent T. Yamauchi, Ph.D.
Reproduced from: Innovations in Clinical Practice:
(Eds.), Sarasota, FL: Professional Resource Exchange, Inc.
Copyright 1987 by the Professional Resource Exchange, Inc.,
Obstacles to Happiness
by [Anthony de Mello, SJ]
grasp this, you'd hit upon the secret of awakening. You would be happy
paint in the air, the air remains uncontaminated. You never color the air
black. No matter what happens to you, you remain uncontaminated. You
call being human. Not this nonsense of being a puppet, jerked about this
being a puppet. So you want to be a puppet? Press a button and you're
newspaper. Do you call that making it? One is president of the
corporation; the other has become the Chief Justice; somebody else has
become this or that. Monkeys, all of them.
main preoccupation of society is to keep society sick! And the sooner you
realize that, the better. Sick, every one of them. They are loony,
they're crazy. You became president of the lunatic asylum and you're proud of it even though it means nothing. Being president of a corporation has
nothing to do with being a success in life. Having a lot of money has
you wake up! Then you don't have to apologize to anyone, you don't have to explain anything to anyone, you don't give a damn what anybody thinks about you or what anybody says about you. You have no worries; you're
famous or having a great reputation has absolutely nothing to do with
happiness or success. Nothing! It is totally irrelevant. All he's really worried about is what his children will think about him, what the neighbors will think about him, what his wife will think about him. He should have
was worthless. They're frightened and confused, they are puppets like the
rest. Look at them strutting across the stage. Look how upset they get if they have a stain on their shirt. Do you call that a success? Look at how frightened they are at the prospect they might not be reelected. Do you
call that a success? They are controlled, so manipulated. They are
unhappy people, they are miserable people. They don't enjoy life. They
are constantly tense and anxious. Do you call that human? And do you know why that happens? Only one reason: They identified with some label. They
identified the "I" with their money or their job or their profession. That was their error.
hour. I don't make that kind of money as a lawyer." The plumber said, "I
didn't make that kind of money when I was a lawyer either!" You could be a plumber or a lawyer or a business man or a priest, but that does not affect the essential "I." It doesn't affect you. If I change my profession
your clothes? Are you your name? Are you your profession? Stop
or praise can affect you either. When someone says, "You're a great guy,"
failure. It is none of these labels. These things come and go. These
things depend on the criteria society establishes. These things depend on
your conditioning. These things depend on the mood of the person who
"I." "I" is none of these labels. "Me" is generally selfish, foolish,
it for years! The conditioned self -- what did you expect? I've known it
happiness. You say to the awakened person, "Why are you happy?" and the
awakened person replies, "Why not?"
children, to whom the kingdom belongs until they have been polluted and
contaminated by the stupidity of society and culture. To acquire happiness you don't have to do anything, because happiness cannot be acquired. Does
you already have? Then why don't you experience it? Because you've got to drop something. You've got to drop illusions. You don't have to add
anything in order to be happy; you've got to drop something. Life is easy, life is delightful. It's only hard on your illusions, your ambitions, your greed, your cravings.
Do you know where these things come from? From
Who am i?
Translation by
INTRODUCTION
"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.
2. If I am none of these, then who am I?
After negating all of the above-mentioned as 'not this', 'not this', that Awareness which alone remains - that I am.
The nature of Awareness is existence-consciousness-bliss
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)?
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.
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.
By the inquiry 'Who am I?'. The thought 'who am I?' will destroy all other thoughts, and like the stick used for stirring the burning pyre, it will itself in the end get destroyed. Then, there will arise Self-realization.
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).
Like the practice of breath-control. meditation on the forms of God, repetition of mantras, restriction on food, etc., are but aids for rendering the mind quiescent.
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.
13. The residual impressions (thoughts) of objects appear wending like the waves of an ocean. When will all of them get destroyed?
As the meditation on the Self rises higher and higher, the thoughts will get destroyed.
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.
What exists in truth is the Self alone. The world, the individual soul, and God are appearances in it. like silver in mother-of-pearl, these three appear at the same time, and disappear at the same time. The Self is that where there is absolutely no "I" thought. That is called "Silence". The Self itself is the world; the Self itself is "I"; the Self itself is God; all is Siva, the Self.
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?
19. What is non-attachment?
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.
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.
Waking is long and a dream short; other than this there is no difference. Just as waking happenings seem real while awake. so do those in a dream while dreaming. In dream the mind takes on another body. In both waking and dream states thoughts. names and forms occur simultaneously.
23. Is it any use reading books for those who long for release?
All the texts say that in order to gain release one should render the mind quiescent; therefore their conclusive teaching is that the mind should be rendered quiescent; once this has been understood there is no need for endless reading. In order to quieten the mind one has only to inquire within oneself what one's Self is; how could this search be done in books? One should know one's Self with one's own eye of wisdom. The Self is within the five sheaths; but books are outside them. Since the Self has to be inquired into by discarding the five sheaths, it is futile to search for it in books. There will come a time when one will have to forget all that one has learned.
Happiness is the very nature of the Self; happiness and the Self are not different. There is no happiness in any object of the world. We imagine through our ignorance that we derive happiness from objects. When the mind goes out, it experiences misery. In truth, when its desires are fulfilled, it returns to its own place and enjoys the happiness that is the Self. Similarly, in the states of sleep, samadhi and fainting, and when the object desired is obtained or the object disliked is removed, the mind becomes inward-turned, and enjoys pure Self-Happiness. Thus the mind moves without rest alternately going out of the Self and returning to it. Under the tree the shade is pleasant; out in the open the heat is scorching. A person who has been going about in the sun feels cool when he reaches the shade. Someone who keeps on going from the shade into the sun and then back into the shade is a fool. A wise man stays permanently in the shade. Similarly, the mind of the one who knows the truth does not leave Brahman. The mind of the ignorant, on the contrary, revolves in the world, feeling miserable, and for a little time returns to Brahman to experience happiness. In fact, what is called the world is only thought. When the world disappears, i.e. when there is no thought, the mind experiences happiness; and when the world appears, it goes through misery.
Remaining quiet is what is called wisdom-insight. To remain quiet is to resolve the mind in the Self. Telepathy, knowing past, present and future happenings and clairvoyance do not constitute wisdom-insight.
26. What is the relation between desirelessness and wisdom?
27. What is the difference between inquiry and meditation?
Inquiry consists in retaining the mind in the Self. Meditation consists in thinking that one's self is Brahman, existence-consciousness-bliss.
Inquiring into the nature of one's self that is in bondage, and realising one's true nature is release.
Jiddu Krishnamurti
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I read [Think on These Things] often
Think on These Things
[Books] > Think on These Things by [Jiddu Krishnamurti]
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Only a Ripe Fruit Falls
[Articles] > Only a Ripe Fruit Falls
Question: Beloved Osho, I feel that through developing an attitude of endurance towards difficulties, I have become resigned to much of life. This resignation feels like a weight pushing against my effort to become more alive in meditation. Does this mean that I have suppressed my ego, and that I must find it again before I can really lose it?
Osho: One of the greatest problems...it will appear very paradoxical, but this is true: before you can lose your ego, you must attain it. Only a ripe fruit falls to the ground.
This is something basic to be understood: the ego must come to a peak, it must be strong, it must have attained an integrity -- only then can you dissolve it. A weak ego cannot be dissolved. And this becomes a problem.
In the East, all the religions preach egolessness. So in the East, everybody is against the ego from the very beginning. Because of this anti-attitude, ego never becomes strong, never comes to a point of integration from where it can be thrown. It is never ripe. So in the East it is very difficult to dissolve the ego, almost impossible.
In the West, the whole Western tradition of religion and psychology propounds, preaches, persuades people, to have strong egos -- because unless you have a strong ego, how can you survive? Life is a struggle; if you are egoless, you will be destroyed. Then who will resist? Who will fight? Who will compete? And life is a continuous competition. Western psychology says: Attain to the ego, be strong in it.
This is going to be a hard task for you, first to attain and then to lose -- because you can lose only something which you possess. If you don't possess it, how can you lose it?
You can be poor only if you are rich. If you are not rich your poverty cannot have that beauty which Jesus goes on preaching: Be poor in spirit. Your poverty cannot have that significance which Gautam Buddha has when he becomes a beggar.
Only a rich man can become poor, because you can lose only that which you have. If you have never been rich, how can you be poor? Your poverty will be just on the surface; it can never be in the spirit. On the surface you will be poor, and deep down you will be hankering after riches. Your spirit will hanker towards riches, it will be an ambition, it will be a constant desire to attain riches. Only on the surface will you be poor. And you may even console yourself by saying that poverty is good.
But you cannot be poor -- only a rich man, a really rich man, can be poor. Just to have riches is not enough to be really rich. You may still be poor. If the ambition is still there, you are poor.
What you have is not the point. If you have enough then the desire disappears. When you have enough riches, the desire disappears. Disappearance of the desire is the criterion of enoughness. Then you are rich -- you can drop it, you can become poor, you can become a beggar like Buddha. And then your poverty is rich; then your poverty has a kingdom of its own.
And the same happens with everything. Upanishads or Lao Tzu or Jesus or Buddha -- they all teach that knowledge is useless. Just getting more and more knowledgeable is not much help. Not only is it not much help, it can become a barrier.
Knowledge is not needed, but that doesn't mean you should remain ignorant. Your ignorance will not be real. When you have gathered enough knowledge and you throw it, then ignorance is attained. Then you really become ignorant -- like Socrates who can say: I know only one thing, that I don't know anything.
This knowledge, or this ignorance -- you can call it whatever you like -- is totally different, the quality is different, the dimension has changed.
If you are simply ignorant because you never attained to any knowledge, your ignorance cannot be wise, it cannot be wisdom -- it is simply absence of knowledge. And the hankering will be inside: How to gain more knowledge? How to gain more information?
When you know too much -- you have known the scriptures, you have known the past, the tradition, you have known all that can be known -- then suddenly you become aware of the futility of it all, suddenly you become aware that this is not knowledge. This is borrowed! This is not your own existential experience, this is not what you have come to know. Others may have known it, you have simply gathered it. Your gathering is mechanical. It has not arisen out of you, it is not a growth. It is just rubbish gathered from other doors, borrowed, dead.
Remember, knowing is alive only when you know, when it is your immediate, direct experience. But when you know from others it is just memory, not knowledge. Memory is dead.
When you gather much -- the riches of knowledge, scriptures, all around you, libraries condensed in your mind, and suddenly you become aware that you are just carrying the burden of others, nothing belongs to you, you have not known -- then you can drop it, you can drop all this knowledge. In that dropping a new type of ignorance arises within you. This ignorance is not the ignorance of the ignorant, this is how a wise man is, how wisdom is.
Only a wise man can say: I don't know. But in saying: I don't know, he is not hankering after knowledge, he is simply stating a fact. And when you can say with your total heart: I don't know, in that very moment your eyes become open, the doors of knowing are open. In that very moment when you can say with your totality; I don't know, you have become capable of knowledge.
When Buddha comes down from his throne, becomes a beggar...what is the necessity for Buddha? He was a king, enthroned, at the peak of his ego -- why this extreme, moving down from his palace to the streets, becoming a beggar? But Buddha has a beauty in his begging. The earth has never known such a beautiful beggar, such a rich beggar, such a kingly beggar, such an emperor.
What happened when he stepped down from his throne? He stepped down from his ego. Thrones are nothing but symbols, symbols of the ego, of power, prestige, status. He stepped down and then egolessness happened.
This egolessness is not humbleness; this egolessness is not humility. You may find many humble people, but under their humility, subtle egos are functioning.
It is said that once Diogenes came to visit Socrates. He lived like a beggar; he always wore dirty clothes with many patches and holes. Even if you presented him with a new dress, he would not use it -- first he would make it dirty, old, torn, and then he would use it.
This will happen, this is how hypocrisy happens. You have the ego, you hide it through the opposite; you become humble on the surface. This surface humbleness cannot deceive anyone. It may deceive you, but it cannot deceive anyone else. From the holes of the dirty dresses, your ego goes on peeping. It is always there. This is a self-deception and nothing more. Nobody else is deceived. This happens if you start throwing the unripe ego.
What I teach will look contradictory, but it is true to life. Contradiction is inherent in life. I teach you to be egoists so that you can become egoless. I teach you to be perfect egoists. Don't hide it, otherwise hypocrisy will be born. And don't struggle with the unripe phenomenon. Let it ripen -- and help it. Bring it to a peak!
Don't be afraid -- there is nothing to be afraid of. This is how you will come to realize the agony of the ego. When it comes to its peak, then you will not need a Buddha or me to tell you that the ego is hell. You will know it, because the peak of the ego will be the peak of your hellish experiences, it will be a nightmare. And then there is no need for anybody to tell you: Drop it! It will be difficult to carry it on.
One reaches to knowledge only through suffering. You cannot throw anything just by logical argument. You can throw something only when it has become so painful that it cannot be carried any further. Your ego has not become that painful yet -- hence you carry it. It is natural! I cannot persuade you to drop it. Even if you feel persuaded, you will hide it -- that's all.
Nothing unripe can be thrown. Unripe fruit clings to the tree and the tree clings to the unripe fruit. If you force it to separate, a wound is left behind. That scar will continue, the wound will always remain green and you will always feel hurt.
So don't be afraid of being egoists. You ARE, otherwise you would have disappeared long ago. This is the mechanism of life: you have to be egoists, you have to fight your way, you have to fight with so many millions of desires around you, you have to struggle, you have to survive.
So to me, ego is part of natural growth. But that doesn't mean that you have to remain with it forever. It is a natural growth, and then there is a second step when it has to be dropped. That too is natural. But the second step can be taken only when the first has come to its crescendo, its climax, when the first has reached its peak. So I teach both -- I teach egoness and I teach egolessness.
First be egoists, perfect egoists, absolute egoists, as if the whole of existence exists for you and you are the center; all the stars revolve around you and the sun rises for you; everything exists for you, just to help you to be here. Be the center, and don't be afraid, because if you are afraid then you will never be ripe. Accept it! It is part of growth. Enjoy it and bring it to a peak.
When it comes to a peak, suddenly you will become aware that you are not the center. This has been a fallacy, this has been a childish attitude. But you were a child, so nothing is wrong in it. Now you have become mature, and now you see that you are not the center.
Really, when you see that you are not the center, you also see there is NO center in existence or everywhere is the center. Either there is no center and existence exists as a totality, a wholeness without any center as a control point or every single atom is a center.
These two are the possibilities. Both mean the same; only the wording is different and contradictory. But first become a center.
It is like this: you are in a dream; if the dream comes to a peak, it will be broken. Always it happens -- whenever a dream comes to a climax, it is broken. And what is the climax of a dream? The climax of a dream is the feeling that this is real. You feel this is real, not a dream, and you go on and on and on and on to a higher peak and the dream becomes ALMOST real. It can never become real; it becomes almost real. It comes so close to reality that now you cannot go further, because one step more and the dream will become real -- and it cannot become real because it is a dream! When it comes so close to reality, sleep is broken, the dream is shattered, you are fully awake.
The same happens with all types of fallacies. Ego is the greatest dream. It has its beauty, its agony. It has its ecstasy, its agony. It has its heavens and hells, both are there. Dreams sometimes are beautiful and sometimes nightmares, but both are dreams.
So I don't tell you to come out of your dream before the time has come. No, never do anything before the time. Allow things to grow, allow things to have their time, so that everything happens naturally.
This is very deep. If YOU drop it, ego has remained inside. WHO will drop it? If you think YOU will drop it, YOU are the ego -- so whatsoever you drop will not be the real thing. The real thing will be preserved and you will have thrown something else.
You have never been an ego. It was just a dream around you. A necessary dream, I say, so I don't condemn it, a necessary part of growth.
In life everything is necessary. Nothing is unnecessary, nothing can be unnecessary. Whatsoever has happened had to happen. Whatsoever is happening is happening because of certain deep causes. You need it so you can remain in the fallacy. It is just a cocoon that helps you, protects you, helps you to survive. One need not be in the cocoon forever. When you are ready, break the cocoon, come out.
But wait. Hurry will not be of much help; haste will not help -- it may hinder. Allow time, and don't condemn it, because who will condemn it?
Go to the so-called saints -- they talk of humbleness, humility -- and look into their eyes: you will not find such refined egos anywhere else. Now their egos have taken the garb of religion, Yoga, sainthood, but the ego is there. They may not be collecting riches, they may be collecting followers; the coins have changed and they go on counting how many followers....
They may not be after the things of this world, they are after the things of that world, but this or that, both are worlds. And they may be even more greedy, because they say these temporary things, momentary things of this world, consist of momentary pleasures -- and they want eternal pleasures. Their greed is supreme. They cannot be satisfied by momentary pleasures. They want eternal pleasures. Unless something is eternal they are not gratified. Their greed is deep, their greed is absolute and greed belongs to the ego. Greed is the hunger of the ego.
So this is my attitude: ego HAS to be dropped, but it may take a long waiting; and you can drop it only if you cultivate it.
This is the arduousness of the whole phenomenon, because the mind says: If we have to drop it, then why cultivate it? The mind says: When we have to destroy it, then why create it? If you listen to the mind you will be in trouble. Mind is always logical and life is always illogical, so they never meet.
The house is not the point really -- YOU are the point. Building the house, you will change, and then destroying the house you will change completely, you will not be the same -- because creating the house, the whole process of it, will prove a growth to you. Then, when the house is ready, you pull it down. That will be a mutation.
Mind is logical and life is dialectical. Mind moves in a simple line, and life moves always jumping from one pole to another, from one thing to the very opposite.
Almost every day it happens: somebody comes to be initiated into sannyas, and then his mind starts functioning and he says to me: Wearing orange will make me more egoistic, because then I will feel that I am somebody different, distinct -- I am a sannyasin, one who has renounced. So wearing orange will make me more egoistic he says, and I say to him: Become! Become egoistic, but consciously.
Ego is a disease if you are unconscious about it, if you hide it in the unconscious. Ego is a game if you are conscious about it. You can enjoy it. You can play it. Be conscious, mindful, and play the game! A game is not bad, but when you forget that it is a game and become too serious, then problems arise.
If somebody says: I am not going to follow this rule, then you cannot play the game. You play cards, then you follow rules. And you never say: These rules are just arbitrary, artificial, why can't we change them? You can change them, but then the game will be difficult. And if every individual follows his own rules, then the game is impossible. Life is possible! You can play as you like because life never believes in rules -- it is beyond rules. But games have rules.
Remember: wherever you see rules, know immediately this is a game. This is the criterion: wherever you see rules, immediately know this is a game, because games exist through rules.
So if I say: "Wear orange, have the mala" -- this is a game, obviously. Play it as well as you can and don't be serious about it -- otherwise you miss the point.
Be egoists -- perfect, cultivated, refined. Go on working on your ego and make it a beautiful statue, because before you give it back to the god, it must be something worth giving, it must be a present.
I have heard, a man in an orange robe entered the Vrindavan juice bar, barged up to the front of the line, and demanded tea and cake. He paid with a hundred-rupee note and complained about the cost and the long lineup. After choosing the biggest piece of cake and the biggest cup, he took over an old lady's seat and proceeded to gobble the food. A bystander, puzzled by his behavior, asked the meaning of it.
"Why," he explained, "Osho said that only a crystallized ego can be dropped."
There is more possibility to misunderstand me than to understand me. And in misunderstanding, you will find much solace, much consolation.
I said, "What happened, Nasrudin? You have been such a long-obedient disciple to me."
He said, "But you have said accept everything, so I said Osho says accept totally. So I accept it and I try to see now what happens -- and the madman jumps on me."
There is every possibility to misunderstand me and there is every possibility to find rationalizations. This is how the mind goes on being foolish, the mind goes on playing around, fooling around. It always finds ways to protect itself. If I say drop the ego, you say okay, and you try to drop it; and then the ego becomes your humbleness and you start moving around with your nose up, looking at everybody as if everybody is condemned to hell. And you have that look of "holier than thou" and "I am the most humble man around here." If I say the ego has to become big, only then it bursts, then you say, "Okay. That's what we have been always trying. Now you are also supporting it -- so far so good."
When are you going to understand me? When you listen to me, always remember, your mind is there to corrupt it. Unless you are very, very watchful, your mind will pollute it. And mind is so cunning, it can always find a way out. And it is so clever, it can always make rationalizations look like reasons.
The Ten Marks of a Happy Marriage
Marriage is beautiful, fulfilling and difficult. After 35 years and three months of marriage, and 11,000 hours of pastoral counseling, I have learned twenty things about good and bad marriages. (Ten myths about marriage will follow in another post).
But first my definition of marriage: it is a covenantal relationship between a man and a woman in an emotional, physical, moral, and spiritual union, exclusively and for life. The husband and wife take each other and forsake all others.
1. COMMITMENT: Some couples like their wedding service to be traditional, others 'freer'. But three solemn declarations must be there somewhere: I am not married to anyone else; I take you ... to be my lawful wedded wife/husband; forsaking all others I will be lovingly committed to you for life. When I counsel a couple before marriage, we talk about their vows (they usually compose their own). Some young people are wary of commitment, and view marriage as a trap. But you can't have a satisfying marriage relationship without commitment - a commitment of one imperfect person to another imperfect person. Marriage is not simply a 50-50 affair: it's 100 per cent give, both ways!
Commitment is more than to permanence or sexual fidelity. For Christians commitment is not just 'being there year after year in the easy chair'. It is more than a promise not to go away. It ought to include, above all, a commitment to grow, to become the persons God intended us to be. 'Growing' couples set growth goals - to read a good book and discuss it; to go away every year on a retreat; to pray together; do a course together. One couple said in their wedding vows: 'In this marriage I want to grow as a person, I want to help you grow as a person, and I want to see our relationship of love, companionship and support grow deeper, larger and stronger. With the help of God, I commit myself to that.'
2. LOVING ACCEPTANCE: The most fundamental idea in Christianity is about 'grace' - I am loved before I change. God loves me as I am. He doesn't love anyone else more than he loves me, and nothing I can do can increase his love for me. Our society, on the other hand, teaches us that worth is something you earn. At school those with higher grades are more highly esteemed than 'dunces'. In the army those with fewer stripes take orders from those with more. But in God's family the prodigal is valued as highly as the loyal son. So too in marriage. I love my wife before she changes, or whether she changes or not. Nothing is unforgivable. Nothing will stop me loving her: she can count utterly on that. So a good marriage is the union of two good forgivers: it is 'three parts love and seven parts forgiveness'.
3. RESPECT: If acceptance and love are reactions to a 'sinning other' respect is our response to another's God-likeness. The person we are relating to is made in God's image, he or she is like God. So I should treat my spouse with courtesy and dignity even when I don't feel like it. Little habits of helpfulness actually feed respect. It is an honour to serve one who is like God. In Grace Awakening Chuck Swindoll writes: 'When I speak to those who are still single, I frequently address the issue of selfishness. I'll often say, "If you tend toward being selfish; if you're the type who clings to your own rights and has no interest sharing with others, please do the world (and certainly your potential mate) a favour and don't marry!"'[56] ('How good of God to let the Carlyles marry each other, and so make only two people miserable instead of four' wrote Samuel Butler of Thomas and Jane Carlyle.) Our fundamental human need is 'a true deep love of self, a genuine and joyful self-acceptance,' but marriage calls upon us to transcend that need: the partner's needs and pleasures must take equal if not superior status to our own.
4. MATURITY AND RESPONSIBILITY: are necessary for resolving differences, carrying through promises, sharing finances, and for modeling a Christian lifestyle for our children. I take responsibility for resolving personal issues, not 'dumping' them on my partner. I take responsibility for my own 'happiness'. If the motivation for marriage is to 'live happily ever after' we are setting ourselves up for trouble. If you came into the marriage unhappy chances are you'll stay that way. Happiness is a by-product of self-respect, solving problems responsibly, and doing worthwhile, interesting and useful things.
5. INTIMACY: Marriage is 'incarnation'. When God wanted to communicate his love for us he sent Jesus to embody that love. Jesus loved people like God loves us. This truth will appear and re-appear like a refrain throughout this book: God loves us before we deserve to be loved. He loves us even though he knows us intimately. So it is in a good marriage. As we are utterly transparent with one another - we have already promised to love 'for better or for worse' - we learn to 'know' and love the other with their imperfections and faults, not after their removal! But if unsure of your parent's love, you may marry to find a kind of paternal/maternal love from your partner, which complicates the relationship. Here we must be very honest. Most women, I believe, are engaged in a life-long search for a strong nurturing father-figure; most men marry a wife to find a responsive nurturing mother-figure. Now you are allowed to have your own feelings about all this, and to express them: 'feelings are neither right nor wrong'. Figure out which feelings, wishes and thoughts come from within yourself, and which from your partner. Marriage fights are usually more about the past than the present! For example if one's parents were tidy/perfectionistic we'll have to figure out why we are the same or the opposite!
6. CONFLICT RESOLUTION: A survey among 700 marriage counselors found that 'communication breakdown' headed the list of marital problems (followed by loss of shared goals/interests; sexual incompatibility, infidelity, excitement and fun leaving the marriage, money, conflicts about children, alcohol/drug abuse, women's equality issues and the in-laws). Conflict arises because we bring different biographies, needs, interests, values, and lifestyles to our marriage. The trigger for a 'conflictual explosion' may include loss of a job, arrival of a new baby, an illness, moving to a new house, taking an aged parent into the home etc. Marriage breakdowns do not happen because of 'differences'; they happen because a couple can't handle those differences. Relationships do not cause conflict: they bring out whatever incompleteness we have within us anyway. Conflict is a contest of wills, but it ought not to be viewed as a power struggle or as a question of who is right or wrong. Gentle assertiveness is called for: 'speaking the truth in love' and asking about feelings that underlie the difficulty. Discuss with dignity, and sensitivity to the other's needs. 'If pride and prejudice were set aside, most difficulties could be resolved in five minutes.' Resolution may allow one partner or the other to have a 'veto' in certain areas: in our marriage, Jan has veto power in the kitchen, I do with the cars (except for their colour!). But re the issue of my ministry-time away from home, this was resolved in a family conference: I would not be away more than a third of the time; and would forego preaching engagements at least once a month to attend our local church with my wife and family. Some things important to you you'll have to concede - that is, compromise. Jan and I compromise on our leisure: I like competitive sports and swimming but she prefers walking so we walk more than we swim (and we rarely play tennis together!). And don't complain too much: your 'fussing' can be viewed as trivial by the other.
7. MONEY: 'The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the Lord of Hosts' (Haggai 2:8). Here Jan and I began our thinking by agreeing that all we own belongs to God anyway. We are 'joint stewards' with him of our home, our savings, our possessions. We happen to believe that a joint bank account is an appropriate token of our togetherness, so we've always had one.
'When money is tight, couples fight'. As an ex-wives' tale put it: 'They won't have incompatibility as long as he has income and she has pattability.' Sometimes one is more of a 'spendthrift' than the other; sometimes the 'bread-winner' is tightfisted about offering money for housekeeping. I believe it is demeaning for one partner to control the finances against the wishes of the other: this is a result of immaturity or insecurity. Some couples may need financial counseling: in your church an accountant or bank manager will be delighted to help. Draw up a plan together. Be willing occasionally to touch up the plan as circumstances change. And decide mutually to live more simply!
8. GENDER ROLES AND SEX: You've heard the song 'Let's Talk About Sex Baby!' Do that (although the subject of commitment should come first). Think with your brains, not just your hormones! Sex is part of God's creation, which he pronounced 'very good' (Genesis 1:31). Sexual relations are more than physical: they are also emotional, spiritual, and moral. In 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 Paul talks about the willing surrender of husband and wife to each other to create coupleness. There's a lot of help around about a wholesome Christian approach to sex, to guard us against either a lustful hedonism or prudish asceticism. Sex is more than the union of bodies; it is also about roles, so sort them out. With women freer to pursue careers, role-expectations by men of women and women of men are dramatically changing. (Our son Paul, for example, is a 'househusband': our daughter-in-law has a full time remunerated vocation.) What household chores should be done by whom? Expectations are usually connected back to what our parents did - who fixed what, who put out garbage, vacuumed floors, did the cooking, washed the dishes, got up to the sick kids at night, etc. Everything ought to be negotiable on these issues.
9. SPIRITUALITY: God was the first marriage celebrant. He invented marriage. The engagement ring I bought Jan thirty-five years ago had two small diamonds and one larger one to depict the 'Eternal triangle' - one man, one woman, one God. Try to worship together regularly; pray with and for each other. (Yes, those who pray together are much more likely to stay together.) Having a Christian commitment that is both real and similar to each other's is a healthy indicator of future marital harmony. That ought not to preclude each partner relating to God uniquely. However, when one is a committed church-going Christian and the other isn't, there's usually (though not invariably) trouble: talk that out very very carefully before you marry. Some couples have reluctantly called their wedding off when the Christian partner takes seriously the biblical injunction about not being joined with an unbeliever: in my experience only one in eight or nine men will become a Christian after marriage if they weren't before. In a truly Christian marriage the order of priority, always is: God first, spouse second, children third, church/job next. But in a well-ordered and committed life, all these 'loves' enrich one another.
10. HAVE REGULAR MARRIAGE CHECK-UPS: at a marriage enrichment/encounter weekend, or with a counselor. Jan and I are currently talking about our relationship to an experienced counseling couple. The issues include: What are our feelings about each other at the moment - and those close to us? How can we accommodate to each other's differing sexual drives? How much 'quality time' should we have with our grandchildren? With Jan's part-time and my full-time ministries, how do we apportion chores, or share each other's vocations?
And remember: a good marriage is both a mystery and a miracle. It depends less on finding the right partner than being the right partner.
Newsgroups: alt.christnet.christianlife,aus.religion
Weblog2001December
[Albert Einstein] : There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.
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.
* [Jakob Nielsen] : [usable information technology|http://www.useit.com/]
* [Monty Widenius] : [mySQL|http://www.mysql.com/]
* [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/]
* [Joel Spolsky] : [Painless Software Management|http://www.joelonsoftware.com]
* I list many more people at [Portal] whom I visit virtually and also contribute to who i am...
!Seasons Greetings!
[MSN Messenger] was very useful. We were able to speak to very close friends for a long time.
Snow has beautifully decorated our balcony :-)
[Manish Vaidya] : [Layoff] Lessons
[Christopher Ryan] [turns two|http://shanson.editthispage.com/2001/12/27]. We have met him in Amsterdam and have a few pictures. He was cute!
[Peter Koestenbaum] in [After Shock|http://www.fastcompany.com/online/54/aftershock.html] : ...We must resolve to work with greatness and never forget to do so again. Every workday is a concert, a Nobel-prize ceremony, or an Olympic victory...
Peter explains [Cooperation]
Inspiration for everyone from [Google] : [Never settle for the best]
[Steve Krug]'s book [Don't make me think!]
[The three most difficult things for a human being]
[Anthony de Mello]'s book [Awareness]
[A Conversation|http://www.naturalchild.com/guest/marlene_bumgarner.html] with [John Holt] (Interviewer: Marlene Bumgarner)
[Jutta Degener] operates [HalfBakery] and [Matt Webb] [InterConnected]
[Anton Skorucak]'s [Holiday Wish]
[Aaron Swartz] has [a dream|http://swartzfam.com/aaron/school/2001/12/23/]
[Jeremiah Rogers] [:|http://radio.weblogs.com/0001189/2001/12/21.html#a35] ...I'm only 16, so I still have (estimate here) 70-75 years ideally left until I'm outta commission. Think of how much more knowledge I can gain in that time...
It has been a while since realised that I am not in this world _only_ to gain more knowledge, wealth etc. :-)
..image_gone_drusus.jpg..
The Rhine ferry " Drusus " connects Germany with France. We were on this today
[Rheinmuenster|http://www.rheinmuenster.de/] : The people of Greffern have always operated a ferry service between their town and Drusenheim on the left bank of the river: a pontoon bridge was erected in 1875, followed by the motor ferry "Drusus", which has been providing a free ferry service since 1977.
We saw [Lord of the Rings] yesterday night and at the end, a boy sitting in front of us kept shouting "Was Was Was..." several times ! and I had a similar reaction in my head !
[Jason Levine] [:|http://q.queso.com/2001/12/21] ...I have to say that there's a lot more hype than there is movie....
The song [Christmas Time] is on the radio often...
[Buckminster Fuller] : "For the first time in history it is now possible to take care of everybody at a higher standard of living than any have ever known. Only ten years ago the ‘more with less’ technology reached the point where this could be done. All humanity now has the option to become enduringly successful."
[Colophon]
..image_gone_xmasTree.gif..
I have downloaded [GraphicConverter], [OmniWeb] after reading [Wesley Felter]'s [Colophon|http://wmf.editthispage.com/meta/colophon]
[Mira Art] [:|http://surprise.editthispage.com/2001/12/22] : ...highways with traffic jams as long as 150 km...
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] :-)
Seasons Greetings!
[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]
T-Online [Nutzung unter Mac OS X|http://www.tkr.de/support/t-online/T-Online-Hilfe/pgs/tips/MacOSX.htm]
[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...
[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."...
In feelings, not in figures on a dial.
Who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best.
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.
[Margaret Mead] : Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.
[Oliver Breidenbach] [:|http://www.fsomm.com/discuss/msgReader$902] The Spiegel figured out how to use numerology to better remember the Euro to DM exchange rate: 1.9 55 83 If you take the sum of the last two pairs it is 10 and 11, respectively. So, the exchange rate is one point nine, ten, eleven...
[Mira Art] [quotes|http://surprise.editthispage.com/2001/12/16] [Buckminster Fuller] : When I am Working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only of how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.
[Why we have a terrorism problem with our airlines|http://www.interesting-people.org/archives/interesting-people/200112/msg00227.html] : ...the FAA had come down hard on the airport only because 1,000 badges was too many, in that regulations permit that airport to have only 500 unaccounted-for access badges....
I have read somewhere that the Western World follow a 'parts per million' culture while the Japanese follow the 'zero defect' culture... and that this is the fundamental difference !
[Cameron Barrett] [:|http://www.camworld.com/journal/2001/12/#17] [The Dave Winer Big Ego Awards|http://www.camworld.com/journal/rants/2001/12/17.html]
[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.
..image_gone..
I am trying [Bruno Cancellieri]'s [Personal Mind Organizer]. Good first impressions...
I requested [Brent Simmons] to list all the [Mac OS X applications] used by him. [The answer|http://inessential.com/osxapps.html]. Thanks, Brent.
A visit to their [Garden|http://sheila.inessential.com/garden/] maintained by his wife [Sheila Simmons] is refreshing.
[Saravanan Natarajan] has sent me some (10 !) CDs with Osho's speeches and I have started listening to "Osho about Creativity" and most of the speech is available on the web too...
[First mention|http://www.google.com/googlegroups/archive_announce_20.html] of [Google] is by [Chris Mitchell]. He doesnot actively maintain [The Searcher's Road Less Travelled|http://home.teleport.com/~lensman/roadless.htm]
But, [Chris Mitchell] has a powerful message on his home page for all of mankind - WOW !
[The Song of the Bird]
[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
[Dave Winer] [on|http://davenet.userland.com/2001/12/10/daveWinerOnASegway] a [Segway]
[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.
[Derk Richardson] : [Eight Things I Learned|http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/gate/archive/2001/12/06/derk.DTL] from [George Harrison]
[Albert Einstein] : If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.
[William James] : As the brain changes are continuous, so do all these consciousnesses melt into each other like dissolving views. Properly they are but one protracted consciousness, one unbroken stream.
I received an email response from [Richard P. Gabriel] regarding a spelling mistake on his site and another from [John Patrick] for a similar issue. Nice!
I want the following feature in MS Outlook or any email client for that matter: When I send an email, the tool should prompt me... you have sent a similar email to this person and didnot get a reply ! dont bother !!!
I did something at work which makes me think of the [Elegant Hack] which is being powered by [movabletype] since some days...
I was looking for a [Digital Camera] and the winner is [Digital IXUS]. We bought it at [New York Camera] yesterday in person. [Christian Kwyas] is a great sales man. It was (will be) a memorable shopping experience. However Christian should be thankful to [Jeff Keller]'s very useful reviews at [Digital Camera Resource Page]
[http://www.carnatic.com/pictures/powershot_s110-front.gif]
Coming from India, I am thinking of tasty [Korma] and Lord Vishnu's [Kurma] Avatar
[Dave Winer] [:|http://scriptingnews.userland.com/backissues/2001/12/06#l86b0989154cbfbef88f0a30f41b96187] Bug reports should have three parts. 1. Here's what I did. 2. This is what I expected to happen. 3. This is what actually happened. For extra credit, if it's a public Web app, provide a URL. It also couldn't hurt to say what version of the software you're using, what OS, and other things that might make your installation different from others.
[Peter Longo] is [Pratt & Whitney|http://www.pratt-whitney.com/]'s CIO. Pratt & Whitney is a leader in the design, manufacture and support of engines for commercial, military and general aviation aircraft, and space propulsion systems
[Benjamin Kuipers] has [a possible solution|http://www.interesting-people.org/archives/interesting-people/200112/msg00061.html] to the Arab-Israeli Conflict
Thinking of [Mannheim] ...
[Palestine, Israel and the Arab-Israeli Conflict - A Primer|http://www.merip.org/palestine-israel_primer/intro-pal-isr-primer.html]
I want to buy a [Digital Camera]. [Canon PowerShot A20|http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/canon/a20-review/index.html] is on the top of my list... [Jeff Keller] states ...As always, I recommend a trip to your local camera store to try out the /camera/ and its competitors before you buy!... Do you have any recommendations ?
[ONLIFE, Online]
I am in [The Search for Beauty] in [An English Country Garden|http://www.alfresco.demon.co.uk/]
"For his([Christopher Alexander]) Ph. D. Thesis, later published as the book [Notes on the Synthesis of Form], he was awarded the first Gold Medal for Research by the American Institute of Architects."
[Christopher Alexander]'s [ideas on office furniture and interiors]
[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...
[Enron's Cows]
Sushma always wondered about [Cops get(ting) speeding tickets from cameras|http://www.interesting-people.org/archives/interesting-people/200112/msg00002.html]
[George Harrison] [dies|http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/entertainment/music/newsid_1492000/1492446.stm]. [Craig Jensen] is [Sad and heart broken|http://booknotes.weblogs.com/2001/11/30]. [All Things Must Pass]
I bought [National Geographic]'s [100 best pictures|http://www.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/100best/]
On Saturday, Dinner at [Innsbruck]
Index20011224
![Religion]
* [Think on these Things]
* [All things must pass]
![Lessons]
![Passions]
![Colophon]
* If you want to know what Sushma and Kishore are upto these days :-)
* [Anthony de Mello] , [Osho]
* Canon [Digital IXUS]
![Quotations]
* [Philips|http://www.philips.com] : Let's make things better
* [Procrastination]
(picture source : [FranklinCovey] and quote was "Today you'll face thousands of choices. When you know exactly what you want to achieve, the decisions are simple.")
Pearls
([source|http://radio.weblogs.com/0101915/2002/01/21.html#a8]) ...Perhaps the reason we in America feel less impacted by the suffering of folks in other countries is the same reason we are heartbroken by deaths in our own family but barely acknowledge the passing away of the old man down the street -- regardless of the fact that old man may have a loving family that is devastated by the loss. It only hurts when it is your own hand that is cut off. The preciousness of life is universal. Unfortunately, so is the callousness of man. - - - - - The God I know has no nationality...
([source|http://www.ramana-maharshi.org/m_path/1964_1/editorial.htm]) ...It is related (and the story is no less significant whether historically true or not) that after attaining Enlightenment the Buddha's first impulse was to abide in the effulgence of Bliss without turning back to convey the incommunicable to mankind. Then he reflected: "Some there are who are clear-sighted and do not need my teaching, and some whose eyes are clouded with dust who will not heed it though given, but between these two there are also some with but little dust in their eyes, who can be helped to see; and for the sake of these I will go back among mankind and teach" It is for those with little dust in their eyes that this journal is intended...
"what you are looking for, is what you are looking out of, which is what is looking for you." --- " the the true teacher cannot teach you anything...but can only remind you of what, on some level...you already know."
As I understand it, I am being paid only for my work in arranging the words; my property is that arrangement. The thoughts in this book, on the contrary, are not mine. They came freely to me, and I give them freely away. I have no "intellectual property," and I think that all claimants to such property are thieves.
I think we are in a circle as all people are ....And we are not able
we blame others (parents, spouse, children, society...) - - - If you have confidence in doing something new in life... go for it....when
you get an intuition to do it...
"With the tumultous state the world is in I feel uncomfortable, even guilty, being in any kind of festive or celebratory mood. And, in fact, I'm not festive. Nor am I filled with hope from any kind of religious faith. I'm mostly depressed. - - - But I realize that the sphere within which I have the most influence is my family. The most important people to me are my wife, son and daughter and then my extended family. Mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews. All the quirks and dysfunctionalty set aside, this is the circle where I can find unbounded love and acceptance. It is the place where I can return that love, equally unbounded, without fear of reprisal or rejection. I am lucky. Truly so. I intend to immerse myself in my good fortune. In my own little circle I will enjoy peace and love and joy. - - - My hope and wish is that you will find yourselves enjoying the same. Be safe and well."
"I might seem like a crazy storm chaser, but what I did was really a matter of necessity, at least to me. It was what I wanted to do with my life, really. - - - As it was, LiveJournal was expanding to the point where I couldn't really manage it without having LJ eat into my "day job" to an unacceptable degree. It's not as if I jumped in blindly - I had already helped LJ open source itself and expand to over 250K users before I left my job. I also put aside enough money to survive for quite awhile, though I have greatly cut back on expenses. That is an important aspect, really... you have to start businesses based on a lot of work, and it is your investment of work that pays off. You need to be willing to put in the work and keep your expenses painfully low until revenue starts coming in. Entirely too many businesses forget this, and that is why there are lots of dead dotcoms out there. - - - Ultimately, it isn't about money anyways, and money is an overused reason for going into business. If you are in it just for the money, you probably won't have the enthusiasm and drive to really succeed. Most people don't need a ton of money to survive, and those who do get a taste for money often find themselves the most in debt. Better to be able to simplify your life and concentrate on your interests and goals rather than become a slave to money, doing things you would rather not in pursuit of the elusive buck. If you are concentrating on providing a really good service and on developing good relationships with your customers, then you won't go too far wrong. - - - It's kind of like Google. They never have had to advertise their service, but they are a hugely popular search engine which doesn't have to advertise their service - their users do it for them. Those are the kind of services that everyone should be interested in starting - addictively good services. LiveJournal still has a way to go, but we're not too bad for the price..."
"Work on something that excites you enough to want to work 24x7. Become an expert on data model + page flow. Build some great systems by yourself and put them on your resume ("I built X" rather than "I built a piece of X as part of a huge team"). Take periodic long trips to exotic countries and learn from people (sometimes your own country is after all the most exotic)."
I was asked for some advice to pass along to a class of graduating young people. It wasn't bad for something I pulled out of my butt, so I thought I'd post it somewhere before it got lost in the outbox.
# Consume not, lest ye be consumed.
# Avoid shipping metaphors. You and what you make are nobody's "content."
# Avoid industrial metaphors. You are not a "product" of anything, including your education.
# The only career paths that go anywhere are the ones you blaze for yourself.
# Companies have souls. DNA. Basic natures. What was a company's first business? Guess what? It still is. Even if the founder is a dead white guy on the wall of the lobby, the company's going to keep doing whatever that guy was all about. Make the most of it or get out.
# Everything a company does is a project. Sign up for one at a time.
# Look at what "Information Technology" really means. "Information" derives from inform, which derives from the verb *to form*. So: to inform somebody is to form them. Therefore, we are all authors of each other. Information is how we make up other people's minds.
# Publish your passions. Publish a weblog on *anything* you care about. Make that your daily diary and keep it up. Answer every email response. Respond to other people's 'blogs. Your path will be blazed by buzz.
Also remember what Skoop Nisker says: If you don't like the news, go make some of your own.
There are two kinds of people: those who want to go work for a company to make it successful, and those who want to go work for a successful company. ( my deduction ! after reading [Jamie Zawinski|http://www.jwz.org/gruntle/]'s [resignation and postmortem|http://www.jwz.org/gruntle/nomo.html]
used to [say to his disciples|http://www.barnett.sk/software/osho/askosh71.htm] -- the first thing, the very very first thing, "Find out what your greatest characteristic is, your greatest undoing, your central characteristic of unconsciousness." Each one's is different.
Somebody is sex-obsessed. In a country like India, where for centuries sex has been repressed, that has become almost a universal characteristic; everybody is obsessed with sex. Somebody is obsessed with anger, and somebody else is obsessed with greed. You have to watch which is your basic obsession.
The Hand That Rocks The Cradle Rules the World
An Inspired Talk delivered by [Gurudeva] Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami on his 54th Jayanti, on January 5, 1980, at the Kadavul Hindu Temple in Hawaii, enjoining the modern Hindu woman to not forsake her dharma but protect the home and nurture the family as her gift of love to the next generation. Hmmm! It seems not to have gone out of date much.
Anbe Sivamayam Satyame Parasivam! Tonight we are going to talk about a vast subject, one that is important to every Hindu family: stri dharma, the dharma of the Hindu wife and mother. In Sanskrit stri means "woman." Dharma is a rich word which encompasses many meanings: the path to God Siva, piety, goodness, duty, obligation and more. Stri dharma is the woman's natural path, while purusha dharma, we can say, is the man's.
There is much controversy about the role of the woman in society these days. In the West, a strong women's liberation movement has been at work for many years, and now there has arisen an equally vigorous opposition which defends traditional values. The so-called struggle for women's liberation has affected women the world over--in India, Iran, Europe, Japan and elsewhere. In North America, I began a campaign informally called the Hindu women's liberation movement. It is not what you might expect. Its purpose is to liberate our Hindu women from the liberators, to save them from worldliness and to allow them to fulfill their natural dharma as mother and wife. For a religious woman, being liberated starts with resigning from her job and coming home. Once she is home, she is liberated and liberated and liberated. Working in the world keeps her in the outer dimensions of consciousness, while being at home allows her to live in the depth of her being. I have seen this work many times. There are so many distractions and influences in the world today that divert women away from being a wife and mother. In the West a woman is a wife first and a mother second, but in the East her duties as a mother are foremost. She is trained from early childhood in the arts of homemaking, trained by her mother who was trained in exactly the same way by her mother, and so on right down through history. It's an old pattern.
The Hindu woman is looked upon as most precious. Two thousand years ago Saint Tiruvalluvar observed: "What does a man lack if his wife is worthy? And what does he possess if she is lacking worth?" There is more respect in the East for women and for their role in society. Here in the West, the woman is not fully appreciated. Her contribution is underrated and misunderstood. In fact, this is one of the reasons she seeks fulfillment and recognition in other spheres, because Western society has become oblivious of her unique and vital role. Abused by neglect and disregard, she seeks other avenues where she may be appreciated, recognized and rewarded.
Don't forget that in the East the ties of the extended family are very close. Women live in a community, surrounded by younger and older women, often living in the same house. They enjoy a rewarding life which includes helping the younger ones and being helped by those who are more mature. Several generations work together in sharing the joys as well as the burdens of household culture. It is different in the West. Women here usually do not have the advantages of close association with other family members. Naturally, they become a little lonely, especially if they do not have a religious community of friends. They get lonely and want to get out in the world and enjoy life a little. This is another reason women leave the home. It is very unfortunate.
In the East there is a better balance of the masculine and feminine forces. In the West the masculine is too strong, too dominant. The feminine energies need to be allowed greater expression. But that does not mean women should start doing what men do. No. That only confuses the forces more. A better balance must be found. In the East the woman is protected. She is like a precious gem. You don't leave it unattended. You protect it. You guard it well because you don't wish to lose it. Hindu women are guarded well. They are not allowed to become worldly. They are not exposed to the looks and thoughts of a base public, nor must they surrender their modesty to contend with business affairs. She can be perfectly feminine, expressing her natural qualities of gentleness, intuitiveness, love and modesty. The home and family are the entire focus of a Hindu woman's life.
Many of you here tonight are too young to know that this was also the pattern in the West until about seventy-five years ago. Before World War I, women were very strict in the West. It was that war and the one that followed that broke down the ancient roles of men and women. The men were taken away from industry by the army, and women were forced out of the home into the factories and businesses so that production could continue. Earlier they had been protected, seldom seen unaccompanied in public. Throughout history, women had been the caretakers of the home and the defenders of virtue. They valued their purity, their chastity, and were virgins when they married. Many people don't know that the old values were followed most strictly up until 1915 or so. Then the two world wars broke up the family and disturbed the balance between men and women. For the first time, women were seen alone in public. For the first time, they left the home and competed with men for their jobs.
I speak often of the change humanity is going through in moving out of the agricultural era and into the technological age. This change has affected the dharma of the woman and the dharma of the man in an interesting way. During the tens of thousands of years of the agricultural age, families lived and labored mostly on farms or in craft guilds. The entire family worked on the farm. The men all worked in the fields; the women and children worked in the home. Children were a great asset. More children meant more help, a bigger farm. There were many chores that a young boy or girl could do. When harvest time came, everyone joined in. It was a one team, and everyone contributed. When the crop was sold, that was the income for a combined effort from all members--men, women and even children. In a very real sense, everyone was earning the money, everyone was economically important.
In the technological era, only the man of the house earns the family income. Everyone else spends it. The husband goes to work in a factory or large company office while his wife and children stay at home. There is not much they can do to help him during the day with his work. His work and his wife's are not as closely related as in the old days. He is the provider, the producer now; she and the children are consumers. Because the children cannot help much, they have become more of an economic liability than an asset. This, coupled with the population problems on the Earth, devalues the economic importance of the woman's traditional role as wife and mother. Whereas raising children and taking care of the farmhouse used to be a woman's direct and vital contribution toward the family's livelihood and even the survival of the human race, today it is not. Whereas they used to be partners in a family farm business, today he does all the earning and she feels like a dependent. The answer is not to have women join their men in the factories and corporations. The answer is to bring traditional religious values into the technological era, to find a new balance of karma that allows for the fulfillment of both the man's and the woman's dharma.
When young couples marry, I help them write down their vows to one another. He must promise to support her, to protect her, to give her a full and rewarding life. She must promise to care for him, to manage the home, to maintain the home shrine and to raise fine children. I ask them each to respect the other's realm, to never mentally criticize the other and to make religion the central focus of their life together. I ask the young bride to stay in the home, to be a little shy of involvement in the world.
A mother's place is within the home and not out in the world working. When she is in the home all day, she brings love and security to the children, sensitivity and stability to the husband. By raising her children, she changes the course of history. How does she do that? She raises strong children, good and intelligent children. They will grow up to be the great men and women in the community, the leaders of the nation. They will be the farmers, artists, businessmen, the teachers, the doctors, the lawyers, the architects, the presidents and, most importantly, the spiritual leaders. They will be the mothers, the homemakers and child-raisers, scientists and inventors, pioneers and poets, artists and sculptors and creators in all dimensions of life. It is such men and women who change the course of human history. This is the great power held by the mother and by no one else: to properly mold the mind and character of her children. And she trains her daughters to do the same by example and gentle guidance.
Of course, she also holds the opposite power, expressed through neglect, to allow her children to grow up on their own, on the streets where they will learn a base life. Such children will as surely change society and human history, but negatively. They will be the common men and women, or fall into mental and emotional abysses, there to express man's instinctive nature and become the exemplars of violence and lust, of dependence and crime. The very direction of humankind is right there in the early years, to be turned toward a great potential through love and attentiveness or allowed to decay through neglect. The mother is the child's first guru, and she alone can shape the mind in those impressionable years. So, you can all see the truth in the old saying: "The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world."
Take the case of a mother who is at home every day, morning and night, attending to her children. As she rocks the cradle, her love and energy radiate out to the infant who then feels a natural peacefulness and security. She has time for the child, time to sing sweet lullabies and console when the tears come, time to teach about people, about the world, about the little things in growing up, time to cuddle for no reason except to express her love. On the other hand, the working mother has no time to do extra things. When the infant cries, she may, out of her own frustrations of the day, become impatient and scold him, demanding that he keep quiet. "I told you to be quiet!" she shouts. The infant doesn't even understand English yet. You can imagine this helpless child's feelings as he receives an emotional blast of anger and frustration directed toward his gentle form. Where is he to turn? He cannot find refuge even in his mother's arms. What will the next generation be like if all the children are raised under such circumstances? Will it be strong and self-assured? Will it radiate kindness to others, never having had kindness given to it? Will it be patient and understanding? No. It is a proven fact that most of the people in prison were neglected or beaten as children. It is also a proven fact that nearly all parents who mistreat their children were themselves mistreated by their parents. Unless mothers care for and love their children, society will inherit an entire generation of frustrated adults who were once frustrated children. These will later be the people who rule the world. Then what happens? They in turn raise their children in the same manner, for that is the only example of parenthood they have. They will think that neglect is natural, that children can get along on their own from an early age or be raised by a governess or nurse or at a day-care center. It's a circle: a childhood of neglect produces a bitter adult life; a childhood of love and trust produces a loving and happy adult life.
We learn so many important things from the mother. This learning is not just from the things she explains to us, but from the way she lives her life. If she is patient, we learn patience. If she is angry and unhappy, then we learn to be angry and unhappy. How wonderful it is for a mother to be in the home and give her children the great gifts of life by her example. She can teach them so many things, bring them into profound understandings about the world around them and offer them basic values and points of view that will sustain them throughout their life. Her gift of love is directly to the child, but indirectly it is a gift to all of humanity, isn't it? A child does not learn much from the father until he is older, perhaps eight or nine, or ten years of age.
Let me tell you a sad story. We have a book in our library which describes a plan, made by the Christians, to destroy Hinduism in Sri Lanka and India. One of their major tactics is to get the Hindu women out of the homes and working in the world. They knew that the spiritual force within the home is created by the unworldly woman. They knew that a secure woman makes for a secure home and family, a secure husband and a secure religion. They knew that the Hindu woman is the key to the perpetuation of Hinduism as long as she is in the home. If the woman is in the home, if she is happy and content and the children are nurtured and raised properly, then the astral beings around the home will be devonic, friendly and beneficial. But if she is out of the home and the husband is out of the home, the protective force-field around the home disintegrates, allowing all kinds of astral asuric beings to enter. Such a neglected home becomes inhabited by base, asuric beings on the lower astral plane. You cannot see these beings, but they are there, and you can sense their presence. Things just don't feel right in a home inhabited by negative forces. You have the desire to leave such a home as soon as you enter it. The children absorb these vibrations, these feelings. Children are open and psychically sensitive to such influences, with little means of self-protection. They will become disturbed, and no one will know the reason why. They will be crying and even screaming. They will be constantly disobedient. Why should they become disobedient? There is no positive, protective force field of religion established by the mother. This leaves the inner force field vulnerable to negative and confusing forces of all kinds, especially in modern, overpopulated cities where destructive psychic influences are so strong. These negative vibrations are penetrating the inner atmosphere of the home, and the children are psychic enough to pick them up and suffer.
Religion begins in the home under the mother's influence and instruction. The mother goes to the temple to get strong. That is the reason Hindus live near a temple. They go to the temple to gain the strength from the shakti of the Deity, and they return to the home where they maintain a similar vibration in which to raise the next generation to be staunch and wonderful citizens of the world, to bring peace on Earth, to keep peace on Earth. There is an ancient Tamil proverb which says one should not live in a city which has no temple.
If a child is screaming in its cradle, and the baby sitter is yelling at him and couldn't care less about his feelings, and the mother is out working, that child is not a candidate for peace on Earth. That child is going to keep things confused, as they are today. So, it's all in the hands of the mother; it's not in the hands of the father. Religion and the future of society lie solely in the hands of the mother. It is in the hands of the father to allow or not to allow the mother to be under another man's mind out in the world.
Just as the two world wars took women out of the home, so did another recent change affect mankind. When the automobile came, people forgot about breeding. The automobile did one terrible thing: it made people forget how to breed and how to take care of one another. When people had horses, horses were a part of the family. People had to care for their horses and in the process learned to care for one another. People also had to breed their horses, and in that process learned about the value of intelligent breeding. In those days, you often heard of the "well-bred" person. You don't hear of the well-bred person anymore. People no longer consider that humans, too, are involved in the natural process of breeding. They have become forgetful of these important laws, and this has led to lack of discipline, to bodies indiscriminately creating more bodies. Who is living in them nobody quite knows. That's what we, as a society, forgot when the automobile replaced the horse. When you had a horse, you had to feed it, you had to train it, curry it, stable it and breed it. In breeding it, you had to choose a stud for your mare or find a suitable mare for your stallion. The qualities on both sides were closely observed, and the combination of genetics consciously planned. It was, therefore, natural for people in those days to seek proper mates for their children, and the results were the vital, creative and industrious children of the children. As a civilization, we are slowly forgetting such things, being more careless about our children's future, about their lives and minds.
Television has not helped the matter. In fact, it has virtually stopped the proper education of the child in those communities where it is watched for hours each day. Instead of developing a curiosity by adventuring for hours through a forest or climbing a tree, instead of discovering the wonders of nature and art and music, instead of becoming involved in sports and hobbies, children are mentally carried along by television stories through positive and negative states of mind. They become uncreative, inactive, never learning to use their own minds. Not all television is negative. Some of it can be quite educational; but hours and hours each day of passive absorption are not good for the child's mental and emotional development. Children need to be active, to involve themselves in a wide variety of experiences. If the mother is there, she can intelligently guide their television, being careful that they do not get in the habit of watching it for hours on end, and watching that bold sex, violence and other bad influences are not a daily experience. When the program is over, she can send them out to play. Of course, if she is gone, they will watch anything and everything. For the young, television is one of the most senseless pastimes there is, carrying the mind further and further away from the true Self. I think you will all agree that our values, the values found in the holy Vedas, Tirukural and other sacred scriptures are not found on television. Instead, TV gives our children a brutal and unbalanced view of life which distorts in their minds how life really is. These are very serious questions. It is the mother who protects her children from negative influences, guiding their young minds into positive channels of expression.
Take the case of a farmer who raises livestock, who milks cows and goats. He works hard. He gets up early and takes care of his animals. He cannot succeed if he is also working part-time in the grocery store downtown. He just can't do it. Those animals need attention. There is no sensible man who would run a farm, with cows and goats and chickens, and not be there to take care of them, because those animals need a lot of help. He stays there and takes care of his business. He is a farmer and that is his duty, and he knows it.
Well, what's more important than the child? He needs 24-hour-a-day care. He is learning to walk, to speak, to think. He falls down and needs consoling. He catches the flu and needs to be nursed back to health. It is the mother's duty to provide that care. No one else is going to do it for her. No one else can do it for her. She brought that child into the world, and she must prepare that child for a positive and rewarding life. If the farmer neglects his animals, he creates a karma. The animals suffer. The farm suffers. The community suffers when the farm fails, and the man himself suffers. There is a grave karma, too, for the woman who neglects her stri dharma, who goes out into the world and does not nurture the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual needs of her children. She knows this within herself, but she may be influenced by ill-advised people, or by a mass movement that tells her that she has only one life to live and that she cannot find fulfillment in the home but must express herself, venture out, seek her own path, her own fortune. You have all heard these ideas. I tell you that they are wrong. They spell the disillusionment of the mother who heeds them, then the disintegration of the family that is sacrificed by her absence. Finally, they result in her own unhappiness as she despairs at the loss suffered by her family and herself.
From the point of view of the Second World, or astral plane, the home is the family temple, and the wife and mother is in charge of that spiritual environment. Man can come into that sanctum sanctorum but should not bring the world into it. He will naturally find a refuge in the home if she is doing her duty. He will be able to regain his peace of mind there, renew himself for the next day in the stressful situations that the world is full of. In this technological age a man needs this refuge. He needs that inner balance in his life. When he enters that sanctuary and she is in her soul body and the child is in its soul body, then he becomes consciously conscious in his soul body. He leaves the conscious mind, which is a limited, external state of mind and not a balanced state of mind. He enters the intuitive mind. He gets immediate and intuitive answers to his worldly problems. How can he not be successful in his purusha dharma in the outside world when he has the backing of a good wife? She is naturally perceptive, naturally intuitive. She balances out his intellect, softens the impact of the forces which dash against his nervous system from morning to night. Encouragement and love naturally radiate out from her as she fulfills stri dharma. Without these balancing elements in his life, a man becomes too externalized, too instinctive and sometimes brutal.
If a woman is working, she cannot provide this balance. She has to start thinking and acting like a man. She has to become a little harder, create a protective shell around her emotions. Then the home loses its balance of the masculine and the feminine forces. Take for example the situation in which the wife rushes home from work fifteen minutes before the husband. She's upset. The children come over from grandmother's house or she tells the baby sitter to go home. She scurries to prepare something before he comes home, then rushes to get herself looking halfway decent. Emotionally upset, she tries to calm herself, tries to relax and regain her composure. Her astral body is upset. The children's astral bodies are upset. The husband enters this agitated environment--upset by being in the world anyway--and he becomes more disturbed. He was looking forward to a quiet evening. He feels neglected, disappointed, and that leads him to become distraught, even angry. No wonder he beats his wife and abuses his child. He's mad. He gets more and more disturbed until there is nothing left to do but walk out. It's a totally impossible situation. Furthermore, it's not going to get better but exceedingly worse.
The situation I have just described is one of the main reasons that marriages today have become less stable, that so many married couples--sixty to seventy percent, I'm told--are experiencing difficulties and breaking up. People never get married with the intent of breaking up. Never. The forces do it. You put two magnets together one way and they attract one another. Turn one around, and they repel each other. The same force that brought the people together, when it is not handled right, makes them pull apart and hate each other. They can't see eye to eye. Then to make up, they go out to dinner to talk it over--in another frustrating asuric situation, as far out in the world as they can get--to try to make up. When that doesn't help, they come home, still frustrated. If they went to the nearby temple and worshiped the Deity together, that would help. They would return home in a different state of mind, and discover that their vibration had changed. Why does it help to go to the temple? Because the Deity is in the temple. The Deity is there to adjust the forces of the inner nerve system, to actually change the forces of mind and emotion.
In the home the mother is likened to the Shakti Deity. She is the power of the home. None other. So she has to be there. She has to be treated right. She has to be given the things she needs. It is the man's duty to provide for her and for the children. The husband should provide her with all the fine things, with a good house which she then makes into a home, with gold and jewels and clothes, gold hanging down until her ears hurt, more bracelets, more things to keep her in the home so she is feeling secure and happy. In return she provides a refuge, a serene corner of the world where he can escape from the pressures of daily life, where he can regain his inner perspective, perform his spiritual sadhana and meditations then enjoy his family. Thus, she brings happiness and peace of mind to the family, to the community and to the world.
This working together of the home and the temple brings up the culture and the religion within the family. The family goes to the temple; the temple blesses the family's next project. The mother returns home. She keeps an oil lamp burning in the shrine room on the altar. It's a beautiful thing. All this happens because her astral body is not fretted by the stresses and strains of a worldly life, not polluted by the lustful thoughts of other men directed to her. She is not living in the emotional astral body. She is living in her peaceful soul body of love, fulfilling her dharma and radiating the soulful presence called sannidhya. She was born to be a woman, and that's how a woman should behave.
If she does not do her dharmic duty--this means the duty of birth--then she accrues bad karma. Every time she leaves the home to go out to work, she is making kukarma. Yes, she is. That negative karma will reflect on her astral body and on her husband's astral body and on the astral bodies of their children, causing them to become insecure.
The Christian-Judaic-Islamic idea of a one life, that "you have to get everything out of this life because when you're gone, you're gone, so grab all the gusto that you can out of life" has given the modern Western woman the idea that she is not getting what she should, by being a woman, and therefore the world looks doubly attractive because she is just passing through and will never come back and doesn't want to miss anything. So, living a man's life is very, very attractive. She doesn't want to stay home all the time and not see anything, not meet anybody, go through the boredom of raising a family, taking care of the children. She wants to be out with life, functioning in a man's world because she is told that she is missing something. Therefore, you can understand her desire to get out and work, start seeing and experiencing life and mixing with people, meeting new people. The Hindu woman does not look at life like that. The Hindu woman knows that she was born in a woman's body--this soul has taken an incarnation for a time in a woman's body--to perform a dharma, to perform a duty for the evolution of the soul. The duty is to be a mother to her children, wife to her husband, to strengthen the home and the family, which are the linchpin of society. She knows that the rewards are greater for her in the home. She knows that all she is missing is a man's strenuous work and responsibility, that her stri dharma is equally as great as a man's purusha dharma, even though they are quite different by nature. Because she knows these things, she fulfills her dharma joyously.
Now, a woman may wonder, "If I don't work, how are we going to pay the bills?" The real reason that most women work is economic. The economy of the world is becoming more and more difficult, and the first answer to money problems, especially in the West, where the family unit is not too strong these days, is to have the woman go to work. This is an unhappy solution. The sacrifices are greater than the rewards. It is a false economy. Many times I have told young wives to stay home with their children. They worry. Their husbands worry. But with the wife at home, working to strengthen her husband, he soon becomes confident, creative, energetic. He is reinspired and always finds a way to make things work.
As long as the mother is home, everything is fine. There is security. Without this security, a family begins to disintegrate. Just think how insecure a child is without its mother. When the mother is there, security reigns in the home. As long as the mother is home doing whatever she naturally does as a mother--she doesn't even have to read a book about how to do it--the husband has to support the home. He feels bound to support the home.
Of course, religion must be the basis of the home to make it all work. When women leave the home to work in the world, they sacrifice the depth of their religion; their religious life then simply becomes a social affair. This is true of both Eastern and Western religions. As long as the mother is home, the celestial devas are there, hovering in and around the home. How many of you were raised with your mother staying at home? Well, then you know what I mean. Now, what if she wasn't at home when you were a child? You came home and mother wasn't there. You had to fix your own snack in an empty house. You didn't feel much cared for. You were alone in an empty house, perhaps frightened, and you went around seeing if someone was hiding in the closet. You didn't feel that motherly, protective feeling. When mother finally does come home, she has other things on her mind. She is tired. She has worked hard, and now she has to work even more. She is not thinking about the little helpless kid who can't take care of himself or herself. She may get home and think to herself, "I just can't forget about that good-looking man I met at the office. I even see him in my dreams. I have a husband and I shouldn't be thinking about such things, but" And on and on and on. Arguments begin to happen for the first time in the home. What do you do? You worry for awhile. You cry a little. As soon as you can, you start fending for yourself. You work out ways to take care of yourself or even to get away from the unhappy situation as soon as you can. You end up out on your own in the world at a young age, before you are mature enough to cope with it.
The Hindu woman knows that she is born in a woman's body to perform a woman's dharma, to perform her duty and not to emulate the men. The duty is to be a mother to her children and a wife to her husband, whom she looks to as her lord. She performs that duty willingly as does the man perform his duty which arises out of being born in a man's body. The Hindu woman is trained to perform her stri dharma from the time she is a little girl. She finds ways to express her natural creativity within the home itself. She may write poetry or become an artist. Perhaps she has a special talent for sewing or embroidery or gardening or music. She can learn to loom cloth and make the family's clothing. If needed, she can use her skills to supplement the family income without leaving the home. There are so many ways for a Hindu wife and mother to fully use her creative energies, including being creative enough to never let her life become boring. It is her special blessing that she is free to pursue her religion fully, to study the scriptures, to sing bhajana and keep her own spiritual life strong inside.
Then there is the situation in which the wife is working for her husband in the home. This is not ideal, but it is far better than having her out, away from her husband, under another man's mind. At least the family is working together toward a single goal, and the mother is there to care for the child and answer questions. Of course, if working in the home does not allow for closeness of mother and children, then it is to be avoided--if, for instance, the work is so demanding that the mother is never free to play with the young ones or is so pressured by her other duties that she becomes tense and upset. Otherwise, it is a positive situation. From the child's point of view, mother is home. She is there to answer questions, to make a dosai or say "Go make yourself a nice dosai."
Three visions for India
[Articles] > Three visions for India
"I have three visions for India. In 3000 years of our history people
conquered our minds. From Alexander onwards. The Greeks, the Turks, the
came and looted us, took over what was ours. Yet we have not done this
to any other nation.
We have not conquered anyone. We have not grabbed their land, their
culture, their history and tried to enforce our way of life on them.
vision is that of FREEDOM. I believe that India got its first vision
freedom that we must protect and nurture and build on. If we are not
free, no one will respect us.
My second vision for India is DEVELOPMENT. For fifty years we have
been a developing nation. It is time we see ourselves as a developed
nation. We are among top 5 nations of the world in terms of GDP. We
lack the self-confidence to see ourselves as a Developed nation, self-
I have a THIRD vision. India must stand up to the world. Because I
believe that unless India stands up to the world, no one will respect
us. Only strength respects strength. We must be strong not only as a
military power but also as an economic power. Both must go hand-in-hand.
have worked with all three of them closely and consider this the great
I see four milestones in my career:
ONE: Twenty years I spent in ISRO. I was given the opportunity to be
The one that launched Rohini. These years played a very important role
of India's guided missile program. It was my second bliss when Agni met
its mission requirements in 1994.
partnership in the recent nuclear tests, on May 11 and 13. This was the
third bliss. The joy of participating with my team in these nuclear
longer a developing nation but one of them. It made me feel very proud
material called carbon-carbon.
FOUR: One day an orthopaedic surgeon from Nizam Institute of Medical
were these little girls and boys with heavy metallic callipers weighing
In three weeks, we made this Floor reaction Orthosis 300-gram callipers
their eyes. From dragging around a three kg. load on their legs, they
nation. We have so many mazing success stories, but we refuse to
We are the first in milk production. We are number one in Remote
sensing satellites. We are the second largest producers of wheat. We are
the second largest producers of rice.
self-sustaining, self-driving unit. There are millions of such
achievements but our media is only obsessed in the bad news and failures
I was in Tel Aviv once and I was reading the Israeli Newspaper. It was
place. The Hamas had struck. But the front page of the newspaper had the
that everyone woke up to. The gory details of killings, bombardments,
deaths, were inside in he newspaper, buried among other news. In India
we only read about death, sickness, errorism, crime.
Why are we so NEGATIVE? Another question: Why are we, as a nation so
obsessed with foreign things? We want foreign TVs, we want foreign
shirts. We want foreign technology. Why this obsession with everything
under-developed nation; it is a highly developed nation. "
garbage. YOU say that the phones don't work, the railways are a joke,
destination. YOU say that our country has been fed to the dogs and is
Take a person on his way to Singapore. Give him a name - YOURS. Give
International best. In singapore you don't throw cigarette butts on the
status identity. In Singapore you don't say anything, DO YOU? YOU
to buy an employee of the telephone exchange in London at 10 pounds (Rs.
650) a month to, "see to it that my STD and ISD calls are billed to
someone else." YOU would not dare to speed beyond 55 mph (88 km/h) in
Washington and then tell the traffic cop, "Jaanta hai sala main kaun
hoon (Do you know who I am?). I am so and so's son. Take your two bucks
and get lost." YOU wouldn't chuck an empty coconut shell anywhere other
than the garbage pail on the beaches in Australia and New Zealand. Why
don't YOU spit Paan on the streets of Tokyo? Why don't YOU use
examination jockeys or buy fake certificates in Boston? We are still
talking of the same YOU. YOU who can respect and conform to a foreign
papers and cigarettes on the road the moment you touch Indian ground. If
cannot you be the same here in India. Once in an interview, the famous
Ex-municipal commissioner of Bombay Mr. Tinaikar had a point to make.
"Rich people's dogs are walked on the streets to leave their affluent
dog owner has to clean up after his pet has done the job. Same in Japan.
choose a government and after that forfeit all responsibility. We sit
for us whilst our contribution is totally negative. We expect the
opportunity. This applies even to the staff who is known not to pass on
drawing room protestations and continue to do the reverse at home. Our
if I alone forego my sons' rights to a dowry." So who's going to change
Nobody thinks of feeding the system. Our conscience is mortgaged to
money. Dear Indians, The article is highly thought inductive, calls for
a great deal of introspection and pricks one's conscience too....I am
Indians..... "ASK WHAT WE CAN DO FOR INDIA AND DO WHAT HAS TO BE DONE
Fourteen Precepts
Do not be idolatrous about or bound to any doctrine, theory, or ideology, even Buddhist ones. All systems of thought are guiding means; they are not absolute truth.
Do not think that the knowledge you presently possess is changeless, absolute truth. Avoid being narrow-minded and bound to present views. Learn and practice non-attachment from views in order to be open to receive others' viewpoints. Truth is found in life and not merely in conceptual knowledge. Be ready to learn throughout our entire life and to observe reality in yourself and in the world at all times.
Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education. However, through compassionate dialogue, help others renounce fanaticism and narrowness.
Do not avoid contact with suffering or close your eyes before suffering. Do not lose awareness of the existence of suffering in the life of the world. find ways to be with those who are suffering by all means, including personal contact and visits, images, sound. By such means, awaken yourself and others to the reality of suffering in the world.
Do not accumulate wealth while millions are hungry. Do not take as the aim of you life fame, profit, wealth, or sensual pleasure. Live simply and share time, energy, and material resources with those who are in need.
Do not maintain anger or hatred. As soon as anger and hatred arise, practice the meditation on compassion in order to deeply understand the persons who have caused anger and hatred. Learn to look at other beings with the eyes of compassion.
Do not lose yourself in dispersion and in your surroundings. Learn to practice breathing in order to regain composure of body and mind, to practice mindfulness, and to develop concentration and understanding.
Do not utter words that can create discord and cause the community to break. Make every effort to reconcile and resolve all conflicts, however small.
Do not say untruthful things for the sake of personal interest of to impress people. Do not utter words that cause diversion and hatred. Do not spread news that you do not know to be certain. Do not criticize or condemn things you are not sure of. Always speak truthfully and constructively. Have the courage to speak out about situations of injustice, even when doing so may threaten your own safety.
Do not use the Buddhist community for personal gain or profit, or transform your community into a political party. A religious community should, however, take a clear stand against oppression and injustice, and should strive to change the situation without engaging in partisan conflicts.
Do not live with a vocation that is harmful to humans and nature. Do not invest in companies that deprive others of their chance to life. Select a vocation which helps realize your ideal compassion.
Possess nothing that should belong to others. Respect the property of others but prevent others from enriching themselves from human suffering or the suffering of other beings.
Do not mistreat your body. Learn to handle it with respect. Do not look on your body as only and instrument. Preserve vital energies (sexual, breath, spirit) for the realization of the Way. Sexual expression should not happen without love and commitment. In sexual relationships be aware of future suffering that may be caused. To preserve the happiness of others, respect the rights and commitments of others. Be fully aware of the responsibility of bringing new lives into the world. Meditate on the world into which you are bringing new beings.
Do not believe that I feel that I follow each and every of these precepts perfectly. I know I fail in many ways. None of us can fully fulfill any of these. However, I must work toward a goal. These are my goal. No words can replace practice, only practice can make the words.
What is your goal in this life?
by [Gurudeva] (from LESSON 114 from Living with Siva)
emotions? Is it to memorize a lot of things that different people have
your Infinite Being within yourself? If you could only once gain just
mind which you always thought was you. Instead, you have things that
you have to do that you haven't done, things that you will do, and
things that you will not do, things that you haven't made up your mind
to do as yet and things you thought you would like to do but decided
you wouldn't do. All of this is going on as a process within yourself,
and it keeps you nicely confused.
A confused mind creates the form to which you give a name, and you become
Mr. or Mrs. Somebody from Somewhere. You go along like that for years
body. Then what happens? What happens to this mind that is so concerned
about "What will my friends think?" All of these various concepts that
make up your personality, when you lay down your physical body and die,
Are you spiritually ready? Have you done your duty to your family? Have
you done your duty to your temple? Have you done your duty to yourself? Or
do you shirk some of your responsibilities? It's not up to your swami
to know all those things about you. Somebody once said, "Well, Gurudeva
to take a running total on yourself, daily, through feeling. You can't
at the moment of death are you ready to become a completely confused,
congested mass of gaseous matter, which is what a confused mind looks
like? These are vital religious questions that the individual must face
Giving
[Gurudeva] : LESSON 126 from Merging with Siva
used to give a lot, but I can't give so much right now." These are the
and bind him down to the depths of the negative areas of the subconscious
have devotion unless giving unfolds as his light. Now, the man who has
unfolded into giving doesn't qualify his giving, he doesn't even think
about it. If he doesn't have a lot of material things to give, if he is
do? He gives what he can, in devotion, little things, to make people
happy, little things to progress activity, little things to progress
When a seeker has unfolded to the power of giving, he doesn't think
about himself so much, because he is spontaneous. He is always looking
for an opportunity to do something good for someone else. When someone
has not unfolded into giving, he thinks about himself a great deal,
and he calculates his giving, because he has to give in proportion to
something else. And by giving in proportion to something else, he is
creating his future limitation. He is saying "I am just this big, and I
will always be just this big because that is as far as my consciousness
can go, just that much. So, I will hold my consciousness within this
grave." But it doesn't work that way. The consciousness is not like
that, because by limiting your giving, by limiting your consciousness,
as time goes by it will shrink. And it will shrink until you don't know
it. Your friends will notice, but you won't. It will shrink and shrink
and shrink. And that is one of the things your friends won't tell you,
that your consciousness has shrunk, and that you are not the same as
This works in reverse, too. The person who has a heart full of joy,
even if he doesn't have material possessions to speak of, always finds
full of abundance in consciousness that he knows he is not the giver,
and spontaneously, you feel good about it, and if you do it again,
feel bad about it, and if you continue to do so, you'll feel worse. If
you give and give spontaneously, you will awaken your inner nature,
within you. But if you give, and give selfishly, by hanging onto your
is in many, many forms. The best way is to rely on the incomparable law
soon after the gift is given. Then this opens the door for another gift
when and where, and soon you will find yourself giving every minute of
every day in the most spontaneous ways.
The University of Hard Knocks
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The School That Completes Our Education
"He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his
God, and he shall be my son"--Revelation 21:7.
Finds tongues in trees, books in running brooks
Sermons in stones, and good in everything."
MORE than a million people have sat in audiences in all parts of
hundred times upon lyceum courses, at chautauquas, teachers'
institutes, club gatherings, conventions and before various other
"Can I get the lecture in book form?" That continuous question from
audiences brought out this book in response. Here is the overflow
lecture took this unconscious colloquial form before audiences. An
shake the hand of every person who has sat in my audiences. And I
appreciate the vast amount of altruistic work they have done in
The warm reception given "The University of Hard Knocks" by the
are now in preparation as this, the third edition of "The
Contents
SOME PRELIMINARY REMARKS--The lecturer the delivery wagon--The
I. THE BOOKS ARE BUMPS--Every bump a lesson--Why the two kinds of
bumps--Description of University--"Sweet are the uses of
us "stop, look, listen"--Blind man learns with one bump--Going up
ones shake up and the little ones shake down--The barrel of life
fatal rattle--We must get ready to get--Testimonials and press
equalize--Help people to help themselves--We cannot get things till
life--Most "advantages" are disadvantages--Buying education for
books only give better tools for service--"Hard knocks" graduates--
Amusement drunkards--Lure of the city--Strong men from the
VII. THE SALVATION OF A "SUCKER"--You can't get something for
nothing--The fiddle and the tuning--How we know things--Trimmed at
orations--My maiden sermon--The books that live have been
lived--Singer must live songs--Successful songs written from
school teaching--Loaning the deacon my money--Calling the roll of
won the chariot race--Pulling on the oar
IX. GO ON SOUTH!--The book in the running brook--The Mississippi
keeps on going south and growing greater--We generally start well,
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
worst days, not best--Waiting for the second table--Better days on
south--Overcoming obstacles develops power--Go on south from
"Father of Waters"--Go on south forever!
Each day we rise to larger vision--Getting above the night into
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
wagon--how much it squeaks and wheezes and rattles and wabbles. Do
not pay much attention to the wrappings and strings. Get inside to
you some of the multiplication table of life--not mine, not yours
alone, but everybody's.
Can Only Pull the Plug!
have to wait a long while to get a little sorghum. And on some real
the sorghum is "The University of Hard Knocks." I can only pull the
plug. I cannot make it run. That will depend upon the temperature
it. How much any one gets out of a lecture depends also upon the
That often explains why one person says a lecture is great, while
the next person says he got nothing out of it.
two or three simple little ideas of life, that our education is our
growing up from the Finite to the Infinite, and that it is done by
our own personal overcoming, and that we never finish it.
Have you noticed that no sentence, nor a million sentences, can
success rule can alone solve the problem. You must average it all
and struggle up to a higher vision.
would not prosper with the necessary elements in their condensed
promote mental digestion like more bulk in the way of pictures and
discussions of these truths. Here is bulk as well as nutriment.
If you get the feeling that the first personal pronoun is being
overworked, I remind you that this is more a confession than a
lecture. You cannot confess without referring to the confesser.
I believe in you because I believe in myself. We are all one
I believe the Hard Knocks cannot injure the Angel, but can only
Every bump is a lesson. If we learn the lesson with one bump, we do
matter with us, so that we do not learn the lesson of the bump we
The tuition in the University of Hard Knocks is not free.
the people who think they have graduated.
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."
happy that I have begun to learn the lessons from the bumps. I am
happy that I am learning the sweet tho painful lessons of the
For as I learn to listen, I hear every tree speaking, every stone
I was not interested when father and mother told me these things.
But if you will remember some of these things, they will feel like
As we get bumped and battered on life's pathway, we discover we get
There comes a vivid memory of one of my early Needless Knocks as I
high-chair throne right up beside the dinner table. The coffee-pot
meddlesome woman I had ever known. I had not tried to do one thing
how I desired that coffee-pot. "One thing thou lackest," a
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
got it. I got about a gallon of the reddest, hottest coffee a bad
applebutter on me--and coal oil and white-of-an-egg and starch and
anything else the neighbors could think of. They would bring it
over and rub it on the little joy and sunshine of the family, who
it, knowing that it would burn me. She would say, "Don't." Then she
would go on with her knitting and let me do as I pleased.
Why don't mothers knit today?
Mother would say, "Don't fall in the well." I could go and jump in
the most kind and effective way to rear one stubborn boy I know of.
notice upon me, and then let me go ahead and get my coffee-pot.
coffee-pot would spill upon me. I cannot remember when I disobeyed
my mother that a coffee-pot of some kind did not spill upon me, and I
parsonage.
runs on the same plan. The Voice of Wisdom says to each of us,
wiser and happier." The tongues in the trees, the books in the
running brooks and the sermons in the stones all repeat it.
And going down the wrong path, we get bumped harder and harder
We are lucky if we learn the lesson with one bump. We are unlucky
One time I paid a seeress two dollars to look into my honest palm.
born under an unlucky star." You don't know how that comforted me.
to learn the lesson of the bump and find the right path, so that
"pussyfooted" it along so carefully. He bumped his hand against a
his lesson with one bump, and you have to go bumping into the same
things day after day and wonder why you have so much `bad luck'!"
Let me repeat, things that go downward will run themselves. Things
movements--things that go upward--never run themselves. They must
And so with our own lives. Real living is conscious effort to go
line of least resistance, depend upon it you are going downward.
brave minority of thinking, self-sacrificing people that decides
willing to make the effort to rule themselves. They are content 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
in that unknown realm we fondly imagine is happiness.
Down the great white way of the world go the million prodigals,
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
wrong we get a Needless Knock. Every time! We may not always get
bumped on the outside, but we always get bumped on the inside. A
bump on the conscience is worse than a bump on the "noodle."
"I can do wrong and not get bumped. I have no feelings upon the
bumped your conscience numb. That is why you have no feelings on
the subject. You have pounded your soul into a jelly. You don't
so that they will not think upon their ways! How he keeps the music
Consider the Sticky Flypaper
Did you ever watch a fly get his Needless Knocks on the sticky
"Remember, son, to stay away from the sticky flypaper. That is
lands in the stickiness. "Well, well, how nice this is on the feet,
First he puts one foot down and pulls it out. That is a lot of fun.
It shows he is not a prisoner. He is a strong-minded fly. He can
same way--they can play in the sticky flypaper or let it alone,
just as they please, for they are strong-minded flies. They have
another drink and sing, "We won't go home till morning."
The tuition in The College of Needless Knocks is very high indeed!
The man who goes to jail ought to congratulate himself if he is
The world loves to write resolutions of respect. How often we
when we might reasonably ask whether the victim was "removed" or
BUT occasionally all of us get bumps that we do not bump into. They
healed. Maybe you think it never will heal. You wondered why you
were bumped. Some of you in this audience are just now wondering
some blow came crushing upon you and gave you cruel pain.
never known anyone who had not had more trouble than anyone else.
But I am discovering that life only gets good after we have been
We all must learn, if we have not already learned, that these blows
are lessons in The College of Needful Knocks. They point upward to
humanity need the same preparation for greater usefulness.
I should like to know every person in this audience. But the ones
I should most appreciate knowing are the ones who have known the
most of these knocks--who have faced the great crises of life and
have been tried in the crucibles of affliction. For I am learning
that these lives are the gold tried in the fire.
See the piano on this stage? Good evening, Mr. Piano. I am glad to
Do you know how you got upon this stage, Mr. Piano? You were bumped
here. This is no reflection upon the janitor. You became a piano by
tree--a tall, green tree. You were green! Only green things grow.
You got your lessons, combed your hair, went to Sunday school and
And how unjust it was! He kept on hitting you. "The operation was
But shake, Mr. Piano. That is why you are on this stage. You were
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
"That hain't red mud. That's iron ore, an' it's the best iron ore
Not very long after this, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I saw some
limestone, charcoal and other textbooks. Then they corked it up and
When it was done roasting they stopped. Have you noticed that they
always stop when anything is done roasting? If we are yet getting
roasted, perhaps we are not done!
promotion exercises. The red mud squirted out into the sand. It was
pig iron, worth more than red mud, because it had been roasted.
Some of the pig iron went into another department, a big teakettle,
worth more than pig iron.
on up and up, at every step getting more pounding and roasting and
affliction.
fine work!" They paid much money for it now. They paid the most
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.
a larger life. The diamond and the chunk of soft coal are exactly the
same material, say the chemists. But the diamond has gone to The College
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
best-loved person in the town.
well-gowned. She lived in one of the finest homes in the city. She
had everything that money could buy. But her money seemed unable to
What would you have said? Just on the spur of the moment--I said,
"Madam, I don't want to be unkind, but I really think the reason
I discover when I am unhappy and selfish and people don't use me
When I see a long row of cots in a hospital or sanitarium, I want
to congratulate the patients lying there. They are learning the
precious lessons of patience, sympathy, love, faith and courage.
They are getting the education in the humanities the world needs
more than tables of logarithms. Only those who have suffered can
sympathize. They are to become a precious part of our population.
The world needs them more than libraries and foundations.
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
this Babylon that I have builded?" And about that time there comes
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
name might be tarnished. Bereavement might take from you the one
The truth is, another chapter of your real education has been
opened. Will you read the lesson of the Needful Knocks?
A great conflagration, a cyclone, a railroad wreck, an epidemic or
Out of the trenches of the Great War come nations chastened by
NOW as we learn the lessons of the Needless and the Needful Knocks,
One day the train stopped at a station to take water. Beside the
track was a grocery with a row of barrels of apples in front. There
was one barrel full of big, red, fat apples. I rushed over and got
All I could figure out was that there was only one layer of the
big, red, fat apples on the top, and the groceryman, not desiring
and windfalls I ever saw in one sack. The things I said about the
Then I calmed down. Did the groceryman do that on purpose? Does
the groceryman ever put the big apples on top and the little
ones down underneath?
until that day on the train that the groceryman does not put the
big ones on top and the little ones down underneath. He does not
pushes the big ones up and the little ones down.
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
was the poetry of motion! The wagon "hit the high spots." And as I
hauled a wagon-bed full of apples to the cider-mill over a corduroy
how long you have to see most things before you see them? I saw
of my pocket and the little ones would rattle down to the bottom.
that the big ones shake up and the little ones shake down. Put some
big ones and some little things of about the same density in a box
or other container and shake them. You will see the larger things
thing shake to the place its size determines. A little larger one
shakes a little higher, and a little smaller one a little lower.
When things find their place, you can shake on till doomsday, but
you cannot change the place of one of the objects.
before, the largest on top and the smallest at the bottom.
Let us try that right on the platform. Here is a glass jar and
beans and some walnuts. You will pardon me for bringing such a
forget it, and I do not want these young people to live thirty
If there are sermons in stones, there must be lectures in cans.
and the big walnuts shake up. Not one bean asks, "Which way do I
go?" Not one walnut asks, "Which way do I go?" Each one
automatically goes the right way. The little ones go down and the
big ones go up.
Suppose those objects could talk. I think I hear that littlest bean
and low down. I never had no chance like them big ones up there.
stay on top." So I put him back again on top.
make them big ones come down. Give every one an equal chance."
So I say, "Yes, sir, Little Bean. Here, you big ones on top, get
down. You Big Nuts get right down there on a level with Little
But I shake the can, and the big ones go right back to the top with
the same shakes that send the little ones back to the bottom.
There is only one way for those objects to change their place in
Equality of position demands quality of size. Let the little one
grow bigger and he will shake up. Let the big one grow smaller and
O, fellow apples! We are all apples in the barrel of life on the
speckled apples, green apples, and dried apples. A bad boy on the
front row shouted the other night, "And rotten apples!"
live or work is shaking. Life is a constant survival of the
The same law that shakes the little ones down and the big ones up
in that can is shaking every person to the place he fits in the
lifted up to some big place, or when we want some big person to be
I hear a good deal about destiny. Some people seem to think destiny
there so long as we stay that size.
Each person is doing one of three things consciously or
unconsciously.
place. If he shrinks up he will rattle. Nobody can stay long where
the loss by evaporation. Evaporation is going steadily on in lives
We Compel Promotion
cannot keep you down. You do not ask for promotion, you compel
promotion. You grow greater, enlarge your dimensions, develop new
raised. As you grow greater you won't need to ask to be promoted.
Notice as I bump this jar. Two things happened. The little ones
shook down and the big ones shook up. The bump that was bad luck to
the little ones was good luck to the big ones. The same bump was
Luck does not depend upon the direction of the bump, but upon the
The "Lucky" One
to size. Every business concern can tell you stories like that of
them had been there for a long time. There came a raw, green Dutch
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
And she never "got done." When she had finished her work, the work
to be done, and she would go right on working, contrary to the
rules of the union! Without being told, mind you. She had that rare
The other girls "got done." When they had finished the work they
Within three months every other girl in that office was asking
questions of the little Dutch girl. She had learned more about
business in three months than the others had learned in all the
confidence that it was the rankest favoritism ever known. "There
The "Unlucky" One
The other day in a paper-mill I was standing beside a long machine
some questions about the machine, which he answered fairly well.
don't know nothing about it, boss, I don't work in there."
I asked him about another process, and he replied, "I don't know
pulpmill. He replied, "No, I don't know nothing about that,
neither. I don't work in there." And he did not betray the least
"How long have you worked here?"
He is one of the kindest-hearted men we ever had in the works, but
gone up and down. You may have noticed two brothers start with the
same chance, and presently notice that one is going up and the
Some of us begin life on the top branches, right in the sunshine of
Some of us begin down in the shade on the bottom branches, and we
the top-branchers, and we say, "O, if I only had his chance! If I
were only up there I might amount to something. But I am too low
about. There the real people do not often ask us, "On what branch
Now life is mainly routine. You and I and everybody must go on
doing pretty much the same things over and over. Every day we
be learning new things and discovering new joys in our daily
routine or we become unhappy. If we go on doing just the same
things in the same way day after day, thinking the same thoughts,
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
growing into a greater, wiser merchant to hold his place among his
competitors. The minister must be getting larger visions of the
ministry as he goes back into the same old pulpit to keep on
same old schoolroom. The mother must be getting a larger horizon in
We only live as we grow and learn. When anybody stays in the same
I am sorry for the one who says, "I know all there is to know about
I am sorry for the one who struts around saying, "I own the job.
They can't get along without me." For I feel that they are getting
ready to get along without him. That noise you hear is the
I am sorry for the man, community or institution that spends much
For it is mostly rattle. The live one's "my day" is today and
tomorrow. The dead one's is yesterday.
give much for a young person (or any other person) who does not
look forward to greater and better things tomorrow.
We often think the way to get a great place is just to go after it
some more testimonials.
We think if we could only get into a great place we would be great.
We must get ready for things before we get them.
All life is preparation for greater things.
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
The world is not greatly impressed by testimonials. The man who has
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
him a testimonial and fire him!"
Now testimonials and press-notices very often serve useful ends. In
to introduce a stranger. A letter of introduction is useful. A
kinds of testimonials.
The danger is that the hero of them may get to leaning upon them.
Then they become a mirror for his vanity instead of a monitor
Most testimonials and press-notices are frank flatteries. They
ones. I look back over my lyceum life and see that I hindered my
to contain the crowd."
a home enterprise--not for the sake of the imported attraction but
in the land. They spring up, fail, wail, disappear, only to be
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
be helped on the inside. Not many willing to grow up.
would throw him some money.
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.
But Peter really helped him. "Silver and gold have I none; but such
I used to work on the "section" and get a dollar and fifteen cents
Artful Dodger of Section Sixteen. When the whistle would blow--O,
would not bring it down again for a soulless corporation.
I used to wonder as I passed Bill Barlow's bank on the way down to
the section-house, why I was not president of that bank. I wondered
why I was not sitting upon one of those mahogany seats instead of
Did you ever hear that line of conversation? It generally comes
minutes, down to the peanut row, for I was only a peanut. Remember,
the hand-car job is just as honorable as the bank job, but as I was
not faithful over a few things, I would have rattled over many
things.
lands upon the throne.
The only way to rule others is to learn to rule ourself.
I used to say, "Just wait till I get to Congress." I think they are
all waiting! "I'll fix things. I'll pass laws requiring all apples
down, so the little ones will be on the top and the big ones will
the big ones would shake right up to it and the little ones would
cannot fix the barrel. You can only fix the people inside the
himself, is the one who wants to get the most laws passed to fix
O, I am so glad I did not get the things I wanted at the time I
Today you and I have things we couldn't have yesterday. We just
Today you and I want things beyond our reach. O, how we want them!
unreadiness? As we grow greater we have greater things. We have
many are trying to grow great on the outside without growing great
on the inside. They rattle on the inside!
There is only one greatness--inside greatness. All outside
greatness is merely an incidental reflection of the inside.
Greatness is measured in spiritual terms. It is education. It is
life expansion.
We go up from little vision to greater vision.
We go up by our own personal efforts. We go up by our own service,
great blacksmith shop. It becomes our throne-room!
Come, let us grow greater. There is a throne for each of us.
"Getting to the top" 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 world says that to get greatness means to get great things. So
being things on the inside, not in getting things on the outside.
and "Forging to the Front." Too often they are the sordid story of
a few scrambling over the heads of the weaker ones. Sometimes they
are the story of one pig crowding the other pigs out of the trough
Christ Jesus was a great Teacher. His mission was to educate
top." Those two sons of Zebedee wanted to have the greatest places
in the new kingdom they imagined he would establish on earth.
mother out electioneering for them.
"O, Master," said the mother, "grant that these my two sons may sit,
the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom."
The Master looked with love and pity upon their unpreparedness.
"Are ye able to drink of the cup?" Then he gave the only definition
of greatness that can ever stand: "Whosoever will be great among
you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among
That is we cannot be "born great," nor "have greatness thrust upon"
us. We must "achieve greatness" by developing it on the
getting greatness on the inside. Getting greatness on the outside
spectacular stride of a thousand steps at one leap. That is why we
devotion. We must battle up over every inch. And as fast as we
We find our kitchen or workshop or office becoming a new throne
Generally speaking, the smaller our vision of our work, the more we
greater our vision, the more we see what is yet to be accomplished.
It was the sweet girl graduate who at commencement wondered how one
small head could contain it all. It was Newton after giving the
have been only a boy playing on the seashore * * * while the great
"This poor widow hath cast in more than they all. For all these
Tho the rich men had cast in more, yet it was only a part of their
possessions. The widow cast in less, but it was all she had. The
Master cared little what the footings of the money were in the
advancement of the kingdom of happiness on earth shall find it
Our greatness therefore does not depend upon how much we give or
upon what we do, whether peeling potatoes or ruling a nation, but
upon the percentage of our output to our resources. Upon doing with
cannot get to do. Rejoice in doing the things you can get to do.
And as you are faithful over a few things you go up to be ruler
Every work is drudgery when done selfishly. Every work becomes
golden when done in a golden manner.
I do not know who fitted the boards into the floor I stand upon. I
do not know all the great people who may come and stand upon this
floor. But I do know that the one who made the floor--and the one
come and stand upon it, if each be doing his work with the same
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
sweetest pay comes from doing many things they are not paid for.
They rarely get thanked, for the community does not often think of
thanking them until it comes time to draft the "resolutions of
I wondered what the grimy-faced man from the shaft, wearing the
the tickets and had done all the managing. He was superintendent of
rarely give "brilliant social functions." Their idle families
attend to such things.
Chicago on Sundays to thousands. He writes books and runs a college
and you read it in almost every committee doing good things in
He had broken away from Chicago to have a vacation. Many people
think that a vacation means going off somewhere and stretching out
preacher went from one chautauqua town to another, and took his
vacation going up and down the streets. He dug into the local
"There is a sermon for me," he would exclaim every half-hour. He
went to see people who were doing things. He went to see people who
the humdrum travel map into a wonderland. He scolded lazy towns and
praised enterprising ones. He stopped young fellows on the streets.
chance," the man on his vacation would reply.
So this Chicago preacher was busy every day, working overtime on
his vacation. He was busy about other people's business. He did not
once ask the price of land, nor where there was a good investment
did not make him great. His books did not make him great. These are
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
for number one," stipulating in advance every cent he was to get
and writing it all down in the contract, most likely Dr. Frank W.
yourself that afterwhile you are going to give great things and do
great things. Give it now! Give your dollar now, rather than your
insignificance before this. The history of nations shows that their
of their population and wealth, but in the strength and ideals
As long as the nation was young and growing--as long as the people were
struggling and overcoming--that nation was strong. It was "prepared."
Has the American nation reached that period?
have become strong men and women thru their struggles, who are
education our money can buy."
Then, forgetful of how they became strong, they plan to take away
strong and "prepared"--thru struggle and service and overcoming.
"We are going to give our children the best education our money can buy."
They think they can buy an education--buy wisdom, strength and
understanding, and give it to them C. O. D! They seem to think they
will buy any brand they see--buy the home brand of education, or
a bucketful or a tankful of education. If they are rich enough,
maybe they will have a private pipeline of education laid to their
home. They are going to force this education into them regularly
until they get them full of education. They are going to get them
fully inflated with education!
children are going to have to run on "flat tires."
Father and mother cannot buy their children education. All they can
them the ability to think he has developed in years of study. As
in a long life of prayer.
nothing. He had become rich and honored. Every man in the mill
He also had a little pink son, whose name was F. Gustavus Adolphus.
education my money can buy."
the minute the child could sit up in the cradle and notice things.
export, he sent the boy to one of the greatest universities in the
Gussie had no chance to serve. Everything was handed to him on a
receive his education?
education is all arranged for in advance and he merely rides thru
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
done and the paint was dry. He was a thing of beauty.
Gussie and Bill Whackem Gussie came back home with his education in
the baggage-car. It was checked. The mill shut down on a week day,
the Conquering Hero Comes."
A few years later the mill shut down again on a week day. There was
crape hanging on the office door. Men and women stood weeping in
fill so great a place. In two years and seven months the mill was
a wreck. The monument of a father's lifetime was wrecked in two
years and seven months by the boy who had all the "advantages."
So the mill was shut down the third time on a week day. It looked
day. But he seemed to fatten on bumps. Every time he was bumped he
got to looking up to him to start and run things.
of the wrecked mill, they simply had to appoint Hon. William Whackem.
It was Hon. William Whackem who put the wreckage together and made
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
do that. You cannot get an education from the book and the college
You cannot get physical education by reading a book on gymnastics.
The book and the college show you the way, give you instruction and
furnish you finer working tools. But the real education is the
with these instruments and tools.
Gussie was in the position of a man with a very fine equipment of
poor, homemade, crude tools, but with the energy, vision and
For education is getting wisdom, understanding, strength,
acquired these elements of greatness in their lives.
proper preparation. Don't make my mistake, children, go to school."
The young person with electrical genius will make an electrical
an education, they are merely preparations. When you are thru with
just one series of greater commencements.
school of service and write your education in the only book you
they put you upon the witness stand.
tragedy of our American civilization today.
These fathers and mothers who toil and save, who get great farms,
fine homes and large bank accounts, so often think they can give
has his head bowed in shame over the career of his spoiled son.
I rarely tell of it on a platform that at the close of the lecture
For years poor Harry Thaw was front-paged on the newspapers and
cradle. Yet the father of this boy who has cost America millions in
court and detention expenses was one of the greatest business
generals of the Keystone state. He could plat great coal empires
shaking down the rattlers. Somebody said it is only three
generations from shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves.
How long this nation will endure depends upon how many Gussie boys
this nation produces. Steam heat is a fine thing, but do you notice
how few of our strong men get their start with steam heat?
thinking, "I won't have to turn my hand over. Papa and mamma will
take care of me, and when they are gone I'll inherit everything
a strong mind and back. Anybody who does for you regularly what you
Father and mother can put money in your pocket, ideas in your head
I have read somewhere about a man who found a cocoon and put it in
his house where he could watch it develop. One day he saw a little
insect struggling inside the cocoon. It was trying to get out of
came a monstrosity that soon died. It had an over-developed body
of it and years following until our machine is worn out and on the
junkpile, means little. "One day nearer home" for such a worker
means one day nearer the scrapheap.
hearing nothing, his head down, without ambition enough to prick up
But getting a vision of life, and working to grow upward to it,
One time I put some turkey eggs under the mother hen and waited day
by day for them to hatch. And sure enough, one day the eggs began
know how fortunate you are. Ordinary turkeys do not have these
Did I help them? I killed them, or stunted them. Not one of the turkeys
was "right" that I helped. They were runts. One of them was a regular
expanding consciousness. It is the cry of the eagle mounting
cannot find happiness in our work, we have the wrong job. Find the
planning vacations.
I edit all day and take a vacation lecturing at night. I lecture
days--and then take a vacation by editing and writing. Thus every
day is jam full of play and vacation and good times. The year is
one round of joy, and I ought to pay people for the privilege of
think and grunt and worry about my body. And like Paul I am happy
old body behaves just beautifully and wags along like the tail
of anyone killing himself by working. But I have known of
multitudes killing themselves by taking vacations.
The people who think they are overworking are merely overworrying.
This is one species of selfishness.
To work at the things you love, or for those you love, is to turn
amusement-mad. Vacations, Coca Cola and moviemania!
for these places keep just what the people want to buy. What a lot
of mental frog-pond and moral slum our boys and girls wade thru!
There are ten literary drunkards to one alcoholic drunkard. There
are a hundred amusement drunkards to one victim of strong drink.
Almost every day as I go along the street to some hall to lecture,
tonight?"
goin.' I don't like lectures."
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
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
Do you ever get lonely in a city? How few men and women there. A
jam of people, most of them imitations--most of them trying to look
alone with their empty lives.
The Prodigal Son came to himself afterwhile and thought upon his
ways. Then he arose and went to his father's house. Whenever one
will stop chasing amusements long enough to think upon his ways, he
hope for the person who will not stop and think. And the devil
works day and night shifts keeping the crowd moving on.
That is why the crowd is not furnishing the strong men and women.
We must have amusement and relaxation. Study your muscles. First
they contract, then they relax. But the muscle that goes on
continually relaxing is degenerating. And the individual, the
community, the nation that goes on relaxing without
contracting--without struggling and overcoming--is degenerating.
The more you study your muscles, the more you learn that while one
muscle is relaxing another is contracting. So you must learn that
your real relaxation, vacation and amusement, are merely changing
over to contracting another set of muscles.
place of great responsibility in a city and ask the one who fills
The reply is almost a monotony. "I born in this city? No, I was
farmside where he struggled as a boy. Personally, I think this
log-cabin ancestry has been over-confessed for campaign purposes.
Give us steam heat and push-buttons. There is no virtue in a
strength is most in evidence. There the young person gets the
that young person comes to the city and shakes in the barrel among
the farms controls the majority. The red blood of redemption flows
from the country year by year into the national arteries, else
these cities would drop off the map.
to leave. Somebody says, "The reason so many young people go to
What is the matter with the small town? Do not blame it all upon
telephones, centralized schools, automobiles and good roads, there
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
The keeper was not in the least alarmed at the question. He smiled.
"Many people say that. But they don't understand. If these people
insane. No two of them can agree upon how to get together and how
thinking ever since that about three-fourths of the small towns of
America have one thing in common with the asylum folks--they can't
up into little antagonistic social, business and even religious
factions and neutralize each other's efforts.
massing for the common good. And when the churches fight, the devil
stays neutral and furnishes the munitions for both sides.
So the home towns stagnate and the young people with visions go
away to the cities where opportunity seems to beckon. Ninety-nine
Dr. Henry Solomon Lehr, founder of the Ohio Northern University at
Ada, Ohio, one of Ohio's greatest educators, used to say with
debating societies to compete with each other. He arranged contests
for the military department. His school was one surging mass of
contestants. Yet each student felt no compulsion. Rather he felt
win over the others. They would go miles out on the trains to
year, scarcely sleeping while drilling for a contest flag.
work their way thru and to act upon their own initiative.
Men Needed More Than Millions
We are trying a new educational experiment today.
From these schools came the makers and the preservers of the nation.
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,
assimilation today as then. Knowing and growing demand the same
personal struggle in the cushions of the "frat" house as back on
girls who come out in case-lots from these huge school plants will
not be rows of lithographed cans on the shelves of life. I am
All this school machinery is only machinery. Back of it must be
A school is vastly more than machinery, methods, microscopes and millions.
Many a small school struggling to live thinks that all it needs is
when the money endowment comes the spiritual endowment goes in
fatty degeneration. Some schools seem to have been visited by
Can we keep men before millions, and keep our ideals untainted by
foundations? That is the question the age is asking.
The Salvation of a "Sucker"
HOW long it takes to learn things! I think I was thirty-four years
learning one sentence, "You can't get something for nothing." I
For that sentence utters one of the fundamentals of life that
One day a manufacturer took me thru his factory where he makes
A violin is only a fiddle with a college education.
string--the little E string. The trouble is so many of these human
fiddles think they are an orchestra right away. They want to quit
school and go fiddling thru life on this one string!
We must show these little fiddles they must go back into school and
go up thru all the departments and institutions necessary to give
them the full complement of strings for their life symphonies.
continents of Truth. That is the true happiness of
life--discovering Truth. We read things in a book and have a hazy
consciousness. This joy of discovery is the joy of living.
thing. We could read a thousand descriptions of the sun and not
know the sun as in one glimpse of it with our own eyes.
hands upon hot stoves and coffee-pots, and had to get many kinds of
taking up a collection of sympathy. "Look at my bad luck!" Fool!
This is not a lecture. It is a confession! It seems to me if you in
Yes, I was thirty-four years learning that one sentence. "You can't
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
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
farm at ten dollars a month and "washed, mended and found." You see
me here on this platform in my graceful and cultured manner, and
hand many a time. You might not think that I had ever driven a yoke
barrel always shakes all of one size to one place. You notice
that--in a city all of one size get together.
became too sultry he would move to greener pastures. On that table
only naturally bright person around the table, hence the only one
under the end shell and bet me money it was under the end shell.
I had saved up my money for weeks to attend the fair. I bet it all
on that middle shell. I felt bad. It seemed like robbing father.
family to keep. But I would teach him a lesson not to "monkey" with
me out of all I had in about five seconds.
to learn the lesson from the bump. I said, "Next time I shall be
Learn? No! Within a month I was on the street a Saturday night when
another gentleman drove into town. He stopped on the public square
I am putting these cakes of Wonder Soap in my hat. You see I am
wrapping a ten-dollar bill around one cake and throwing it into the
a cake of this wonderful soap from my hat--any cake you want, gentlemen!"
And right on top of the pile was the cake with the ten wrapped
and therefore good picking. They began to let me in on the ground
floor. Did anybody ever let you in on the ground floor? I never
could stick. Whenever anybody let me in on the ground floor it
seemed like I would always slide on thru and land in the cellar.
doubled. They still exist on the blueprint and the Oklahoma
metropolis on paper is yet a wide place in the road.
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.
I had there my oil propositions. What a difference, I have learned,
between an oil proposition and an oil well! The learning has been
I used to wonder how I ever could spend my income. I do not wonder now.
I wonder how I will make it.
gallon.
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
I could smell them. Only one more assessment, then we will cut the
melon! I have heard that all my life and never got a piece of the rind.
Why go farther? I am not half done confessing. Each bump only
increased my faith that the next ship would be mine. Good, honest,
new enterprise that had millions in it--in its prospectus. I would
buy because I knew the minister was honest and believed in it. He
was selling it on his reputation. Favorite dodge of the promoter to
I was also greatly interested in companies where I put in one
dollar and got back a dollar or two of bonds and a dollar or two of
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
I pitied his lack of vision. Bankers were such "tightwads." They
had no imagination! Nothing interested me that did not offer fifty
Then I got a confidential letter from a friend of our family I had
Building, St. Louis, Missouri. He wrote me in extreme confidence,
He knew me! He was the only man who did know me. So I took the
money for Tom, the friend of our family. But I see now I need not
have hurried so. They would have waited a month with the
I don't get any sympathy from this crowd. You laugh at me. You
happened in St. Louis. It is none of your business!
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
thirty-third degree in financial suckerdom for only eleven hundred
I have always regarded Tom as one of my great school teachers. I
It is worth eleven hundred dollars every day to know that one
subscription to that paper. I simply will not take a paper with
fortune right up on this platform and put it down there on the
Today when I get a confidential letter that starts out, "You have
O, Absalom, Absalom, my son, my son! Learn it early in life. The
law of compensation is never suspended. You only own what you earn.
look like the biggest sucker on the local landscape.
pathetic. It was a picture of what is going on in our own little
as you described. The saddest part of it is that the money nearly
hundred dollars to tell you this one thing, and you get it for a
Even the young person who has large fortune given him does not own
it. We only own what we have rendered definite service to bound.
This is true physically, mentally, morally. You only own what you
I often think if it takes me thirty-four years to begin to learn
one sentence, I see the need of an eternity.
To me that is one of the great arguments for eternal life--how slowly
Those Commencement Orations
The young person says, "By next June I shall have finished my
education."
Bless them all! They will have put another string on their fiddle.
they think. This is not to sneer, but to cheer. Isn't it glorious
that life is one infinite succession of commencements and
promotions!
geraniums along the front of the stage and a big oleander on the
side. There is a long-whiskered rug in the middle. The graduates
sit in a semicircle upon the stage in their new patent leather. I
Then they make their orations. Every time I hear their orations I
Number One comes forth and begins:
"Beyond the Alps (sweep arms forward to the left, left arm leading)
means, let the fingers follow the wrist, just as the elocution
teacher marked on page 69.)
Sweet Girl Graduate Number 2, generally comes second. S. G. G. No.
2 stands at the same leadpencil mark on the floor, resplendent in
a filmy creation caught with something or other.
We are laughing the happy laugh at how we have learned these great
You get the most beautiful and sublime truths from Emerson's
essays. (How did they ever have commencements before Emerson?) But
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
but you cannot really say that until you have pulled on the oar.
My Maiden Sermon
Did you ever hear him preach his "maiden sermon"? I wish you had heard
mine. I had a call. At least, I thought I had a call. I think now I
was "short-circuited." The "brethren" waited upon me and told me I had
been "selected": Maybe this was a local call, not long distance.
going to the one book where I might have gotten a sermon--the book
chunk of Shakespeare and nailed it on page five of my sermon. "List
to the poet Tennyson." Come here, Lord Alfred. So I soldered these
worked that sermon up into the most beautiful splurges and spasms.
climaxes, both wet and dry. I had a fine wet climax on page
cry on the lefthand side of the page.
expression, to get it expressed. You have to get it expressed.
You know about gestures--these things you make with your arms in
the air as you speak. You can notice it on me yet.
I am not sneering at expression. Expression is a noble art. All
life is expression. But you have to get something to express. Here
express-wagon and got no load for it. So it rattled. I got a
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
and that sermon would not have hesitated.
Then came the grand day. The boy wonder stood forth and before his
large and enthusiastic concourse delivered that maiden sermon more
according to the blueprint. I cried on page fourteen! I never knew
Then I did another fine thing, I sat down. I wish now I had done
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
you don't know nothin' yet."
that the old man was right. I had wonderful truth in that sermon.
No sermon ever had greater truth, but I had not lived it. The old
man meant I did not know my own sermon.
So, children, when you prepare your commencement oration, write
You Must Live Your Song
So many young people think because they have a good voice and they have
cultivated it, they are singers. All this cultivation and irritation
and irrigation and gargling of the throat are merely symptoms of
They think the song comes from the diaphragm. But it comes from the
heart, chaperoned by the diaphragm. You cannot sing a song you have
attended to. She sang that afternoon in the tent, "The Last Rose of
trimmings for the song, but she had no steam, no song. She sang the
Berlin, but she had lived that song. She didn't dress the notes
"this is the best singing lesson you have ever had. Your study is
sing that song, for it is the sob of a broken-hearted woman. Learn
to sing the songs you have lived."
Why do singers try to execute songs beyond the horizon of their
The Success of a Song-Writer
The guest of honor at a dinner in a Chicago club was a woman who is
one of the widely known song-writers of this land. As I had the
"How did you get your songs known? How did you know what kind of
songs the people want to sing?"
found the answer to every question. "Isn't it good to be here?
Isn't it great to have friends and a fine home and money?" she
said. "I have had such a struggle in my life. I have lived on one
know what it is to be left alone in the world upon my own
only home I had, that I began to write songs. I wrote them for my
heart and what the struggles were teaching me. No one is more
surprised and grateful that the world seems to love my songs and
The woman was Carrie Jacobs-Bond, who wrote "The Perfect Day,"
simple little songs so full of the pathos and philosophy of life
Anybody could write those songs--just a few simple words and notes.
No. Books of theory and harmony and expression only teach us how to
write the words and where to place the notes. These are not the
song, but only the skeleton into which our own life must breathe
the life of the song.
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
The popular song is the song that best voices what is in the
popular heart. And while we have a continual inundation of popular
songs that are trashy and voice the tawdriest human impulses, yet
wholesome, uplifting sentiments in Carrie Jacobs-Bond's songs
continue to hold their popularity.
become wrecks. But I am insisting upon what I see written all
around me in the affairs of everyday life, that none of us will
success flows from the fullness of our experience just as the songs
came from the life of Carrie Jacobs-Bond.
have worthy visions but are not able to translate them into
or trampling upon their fellow men they dream of helping. Their
ideas must be forged into usefulness available for this day upon
things to one person who can give you a practical way to fix them.
anything you could think of was discussed, and perhaps the page. He
was a walking library index. I thought him a most wonderful man.
He could give you almost any date. He could finish almost any quotation.
His conversation was largely made up of classical quotations.
But he was one of the most helpless men I have ever seen in
practical life. He seemed to be unable to think and reason for
didn't supply the one sentence needed for the occasion. The man was
a misfit on earth. He was liable to put the gravy in his coffee
of the things in his memory. Since I have grown up I always think
the Book of Human Experience the "sermons in stones" and the "books
Note the sweeping, positive statements of the young person.
Note the cautious, specific statements of the person who has lived
long in this world.
Our education is our progress from the sweeping, positive,
Many audiences are gathered into this one audience. Each person
different burden to carry. Each one of us has more trouble than
ones. You have cried yourselves to sleep, some of you, and walked
the floor when you could not sleep. You have learned that "beyond
ago, and the wound has not healed. You think it never will heal.
You came here thinking that perhaps you would forget your trouble
man talking about? I haven't had these things and I'm not going to
of you are going to know the keen sorrow of having the one you
horizon. You will say, "God, let me die. I have nothing more
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
promote our education.
These bumps and hard knocks do not break the fiddle--they turn the pegs.
These bumps and tragedies and Waterloos draw the strings of the
soul tighter and tighter, nearer and nearer to God's great concert
divine and harmonies celestial come from the same old strings that
Thus we know that our education is progressing, as the evil and
unworthy go out of our lives and as peace, harmony, happiness, love
I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth, altho it is quite
evident that I could have handled a pretty good-sized spoon. But
father being a country preacher, we had tin spoons. We never had to
tie a red string around our spoons when we loaned them for the
ladies' aid society oyster supper. We always got our spoons back.
Do you remember the first money you ever earned? I do. I walked
sheaves. That night I was proud when that farmer patted me on the
looked bigger than any money I have since handled.
Yet I was years learning it is much easier to make money than to
means green sixteen. But remember again, only green things grow.
There is hope for green things. I was so tall and awkward then--I
My second, Make, em recite. That is, fill 'em up and then empty 'em.
My third and most important rule was, Get your money!
the time, to save money. I think I had all teaching methods in use.
With the small fry I used a small paddle to win their confidence and
arouse their enthusiasm for an education. With the pupils larger and
more muscular than their teacher I used love and moral suasion.
We ended the school with an "exhibition." Did you ever attend the
old back-country "last day of school exhibition"? The people that
to literature in District No. 1, Jackson Township, that day. I can
stuck out all stiff like they had pushed their heads on thru their
the Legion lay dying in Algiers." We had him die again that day,
stood on the burning deck, whence all but he had fled." I can see
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
spatter on my six-dollar suit.
wept. It was a teary time. I only said, "Weep not for me, dear
Next day I drew my money. I had it all in one joyous wad--$240. I
never got home with the money. Talk about the fool and his money
and you get very personal.
For on the way home I met Deacon K, and he borrowed it all. Deacon K
was "such a good man" and a "pillar of the church." I used to wonder,
season. I really thought a note was not necessary, such was my
confidence in the deacon.
Deacon K has gone from earth. He has gone to his eternal reward. I
but I paid all the money I got from it--two hundred and forty
thirteen-mile-a-day dollars to learn one thing I could not learn
from the books, that it takes less wisdom to make money, than it
a second-class saint.
A lyceum bureau once sent me back to my home town to lecture. I
front rows with their families, and maybe all the old scores have
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,
"Greece is gone and Rome is no more, but fe-e-e-e-ear not,
Then I went back to the little hotel and sat up alone in my room
time had come when I knew the person who could go on living in any
a picture of the school in that town that had been taken twenty-one
these twenty-one years, for I could not then afford to buy one. The
alone with a picture of your classmates taken twenty-one years
charge of the world. They were so glad the world had waited so long
on them. They were so willing to take charge of the world. They
genius-esses and things like that.
There was one boy in the class who was not naturally bright. It was
not the one you may be thinking of! No, it was Jim Lambert. He had
intellect. He was "conditioned" into the senior class. We all felt
on the stage back of the oleander commencement night.
home telephone exchange, and had become absolutely indispensable to
going to Confess was raising the best corn in the county, and his
the head of one of the big manufacturing plants of the South, with
alumni meeting. They hung it on the wall near where the oleander
that school picture and the twenty-one years. There were fifty-four
young people in that picture. They had been shaken these years in
the barrel, and now as I called the roll on them, most of them that
Out of that fifty-four, one had gone to a pulpit, one had gone to
Congress and one had gone to the penitentiary. Some had gone to
brilliant success and some had gone down to sad failure. Some had
almost every note on the keyboard of human possibility had been
struck by the one school of fifty-four.
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
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!
twenty-one years before.
on trading knives and getting the better of people. Now, twenty-one
forgery. He was now called a bad man, when twenty-one years ago
when he did the same things on a smaller scale they called him
believe Mr. Webster defines a model as a small imitation of the
who had the hustle and the energy, who occasionally needed
age I didn't pay much attention to them. I regarded them as in the
class--our real pretty girl who won the vase in the home paper
beauty contest. Clarice went right on remaining in the social
spotlight, primping and flirting. She outshone all the rest. But it
her. Most of the girls who shone with less social luster became the
these years to support a home and care for her family. She had kept
a loving father, plenty of money, opportunity and a great career
were going off to college and going to do so many wonderful things.
Many a time as I plugged at the "case" I would think of Frank and wonder
why some people had all the good things and I had all the hard things.
Twenty-one years afterward as I got off the train in the home town,
at a grave and read on the headstone, "Frank."
Why Ben Hur Won
alone have that.
Then they condemn him. They lead him away to the galleys. They
long years when he pulls on the oar under the lash. Day after day
he pulls on the oar. Day after day he writhes under the sting of
seems one futureless round of drudgery. We wonder why. We often
That one is chained to no oar. See what a fine time they all have.
Why must we pull on the oar?
How blind we are! We can only see our own oar. We cannot see that
they, too, pull on the oar and feel the lash. Most likely they are
dash these twin thunderbolts. The thousands hold their breath. "Who
will win?" "The man with the stronger forearms," they whisper.
stronger forearms. They are bands of steel that swell in the
Had Ben Hur never pulled on the oar, he never could have won the
Sooner or later you and I are to learn that Providence makes no
mistakes in the bookkeeping. As we pull on the oar, so often lashed
by grim necessity, every honest effort is laid up at compound
interest in the bank account of strength. Sooner or later the time
comes when we need every ounce. Sooner or later our chariot race is
on--when we win the victory, strike the deciding blow, stand while
those around us fall--and it is won with the forearms earned in the
galleys of life by pulling on the oar.
Go On South!
where it is going, but it is "on the way."
to the place where all of us get sooner or later. The place where
Paul came on the road to Damascus. The place of the "heavenly vision."
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
goes on south. He picks up another stream and grows some more. Day
My friends, here is one of the best pictures I can find in nature
orations, especially in high school commencements, entitled, "The
Value of a Goal in Life." But the direction is vastly more
go and keep on going and you'll reach a thousand goals.
supplies we will need along the way. All we have to do is to start
and we will find the resources all along the way. We will grow as
we flow. All of us can start! And then go on south!
Minnesota as well as on south.
You and I sooner or later hear the call, "Go on south." If we
Remember, the Mississippi goes south. If he had gone any other
direction he would never have been heard of.
Three wonderful things develop as the Mississippi goes on south.
1. He keeps on going on south and growing greater.
Go On South and Grow Greater
is going on south and growing greater. You never meet him but what
he says, "Excuse me, but I must go on south."
retire upon his laurels. He goes on south and grows greater. He
goes on south to St. Louis. He is a wonderful river now. But he
does not stop. He goes on south and grows greater.
Everywhere you meet him he is going on south and growing greater.
Do you know why the Mississippi goes on south? To continue to be
the Mississippi, river. he would become a stagnant, poisonous pond.
As long as people keep on going south, they keep on living. When
That is why I am making it the slogan of my life--GO ON SOUTH AND
schoolrooms, over the business houses and homes--GO ON SOUTH AND
education--and religion. And the only business of life.
You and I start well. We go on south a little ways, and then we
their press notices. Their friends crowd around them to congratulate
them. "I must congratulate you upon your success. You have arrived."
canned. They think they have gotten to the Gulf of Mexico when they
have not gotten out of the woods of Minnesota. Go on south!
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.
But contentment with present achievement is the damnation of the race.
The mass of the human family never go on south far enough to
smattering and squeeze into the bottom position and never go on
south to efficiency and promotion. They wonder why their genius is
Nine out of ten stenographers who apply for positions can write a
think that is being a stenographer, when it is merely a symptom of
capitalization and punctuation. Their eyes are on the clock, their
minds on the movies.
to do, because they have never gone south far enough to become
efficient. Many a professional man is in the same class.
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.
are so prone to say, "I am aging rapidly." It pays to advertise. We
always get results. See the one shrivel who goes around
front-paging his age. Age is not years; age is grunts.
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.
We are only children in God's great kindergarten, playing with our
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
brings us a larger vision. Infinity, Eternity, Omnipotence,
Omniscience are all on south.
Gray hairs are silver headmarks in our education as we go on south.
first reader hair will pass and you'll get promoted as you go on south.
Don't worry about gray hair or baldness. Only worry about the location
of your gray hair or baldness. If they get on the inside of the head,
worry. Do you know why corporations sometimes say they do not want
have quit going on south and have gotten gray on the inside--or bald.
These same corporations send out Pinkertons and pay any price for
gray-headed men--gray on the outside and green on the inside. They
are the most valuable, for they have the vision and wisdom of many
The preacher, the teacher--everyone who gets put on the retired
list, retires himself. He quits going on south.
The most wonderful person in the world is the one who has lived
years and years on earth and has perhaps gotten gray on the
outside, but has kept young and fresh on the inside. Put that
person in the pulpit, in the schoolroom, in the office, behind the
ticket-window or on the bench--or under the hod--and you find the
whole world going to that person for direction, advice, vision,
lecture a good while. I am almost ashamed to tell you how long, for
"Please don't throw it up to me now. I am just as ashamed of it as
O, I want to forget all the past, save its lessons. I am just
the "limit." I shiver as I think what I was saying then. I want to
go on south shivering about yesterday. These years I have noticed
the people on the platform who were contented with their offerings,
were not trying to improve them, and were lost in admiration of
what they were doing, did not stay long on the platform. I have
have a new birth. The days when we go on south to larger visions.
boots. He just hibernated and "chawed on."
Bernhardt, Davis and Edison
multitudes in his employ. He was an ardent Odd Fellow, and one day
the Odd Fellows' Home near Elkins, where he lived. On the porch of
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
because he was going on south.
When I was a little boy I saw them bring the first phonograph that
Mr. Edison invented into the meeting at Lakeside, Ohio. The people
But the people said, "Mr. Edison has succeeded." There was one man
who did not believe that Mr. Edison had succeeded. His name was
Thomas Alva Edison. He had gotten to St. Paul, and he went on
south. A million people would have stopped there and said, "I have
rights with other people who would have gone on south with the
phonograph idea.
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
invention. "I made over seven thousand experiments and failed
before I hit upon that."
"I know more than seven thousand ways now that won't work."
I doubt if there are ten men in America who could go on south in
diamond-pointed phonograph. I am sure if we could bring Mr. Edison
"I have not succeeded. I am succeeding. All I have done only shows
even get on the back page of the Egyptian newspapers till he was
eighty. He went on south into the extra editions after that!
fifty-four," he would have become the seventeenth mummy on the
orations on "The Age of the Young Man" and the Ostler idea that you
are going down hill at fifty. Imagine Moses living on "borrowed
Why, Moses, you are an old man. Why don't you act like an old man?
And keep out of the night air. It is so hard on old folks."
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
I see Moses at eighty starting for the Wilderness so fast Aaron
America without a committee. The committee gets out the invitations
Thursday. They get ready the resolutions of respect--
Then I see the committee waiting on Moses. That is what a committee
does--it "waits" on something or other. And this committee goes up
man. You are eighty-five years old and full of honors. We are the
until he consents. It is bad manners! The committee is so
mortified, for all the invitations are out. It waits.
Moses is eighty-six and the committee 'phones over, "Moses, can you
attend it. I haven't even time to think about getting old."
Moses goes right on shouting, "Onward!" He is a hundred and ten. He
us, Go on south to the greater things, and get so enthused and
They were afraid to go on south. Only two of them went on south--
The Indians once owned America. But they failed to go on south.
Americans do not go on south we will join the Indians, the auk
I am so sorry for the folks who quit, retire, "get on the shelf" or
live on "borrowed time."
on my shoulder, no matter how good clothes I wear.
They tell me nobody uses them right. The person going on south has
They say, "Only a few more days of trouble, only a few more
tribulations, and I'll be in that bright and happy land." What will
again is confessing he has lost his memory. Anybody who can remember
sorry for a child. Hurry up and go on south. It is better on south.
Waiting till the "Second Table"
I often wonder how I ever lived thru my childhood. I would not take
I had advantages. I was born in a parsonage and was reared in the
nurture and admiration of the Lord. I am not just sure I quoted
that correctly, but I know I was reared in a parsonage. About all
children going sadly into the next room to "wait till the second
I can only remember about four big meals in a year. That was
"quart'ly meeting day." We always had a big dinner on "quart'ly
Elder Berry always stayed for dinner. He was one of the easiest men
at the last donation. We had one of those stretchable tables,
and mother would stretch it clear across the room and put on two
long table and view the "promised land." I would see her set on the
jelly. I don't just remember if they had blue jelly, but if they
had it we had it on that table. All the jelly that ever "jelled"
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
wonder why we never could have a big dinner but what a lot of
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
was only one piece of chicken left. It was the neck. O, Lord, spare
He would often put his hand in benediction upon my head.
My head was not the place that needed the benediction.
When all the chicken was gone and he had taken the neck! "My boy,
and today is the best day of all. Go on south!
It's Better on South
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
I think I hold a gallon now. And I see people in the audience who
must hold a barrel! Go on south. Of course, I do not mean
for joy. Our life is one continual unfolding as we go south.
Afterwhile this old world gets too small for us and we go on south
into a larger one.
So we cannot grow old. Our life never stops. It goes on and on
Material things will grow old. This stage will grow old and stop.
will never grow old, for God cannot grow old. You and I will go on
living as long as God lives.
And I have to say that to many questions, "I do not know." I often
think if people in an audience only knew how little I know, they
What a wonderful happiness to go on south to it!
As the Mississippi River goes on south he finds obstacles along the
way. You and I find obstacles along our way south. What shall we do?
They have built a great concrete obstacle clear across the path of
the river. It is many feet high, and many, many feet long. The
river cannot go on south. Watch him. He rises higher than the
obstacle and sweeps over it on south.
So that is why they spent the millions to build the obstacle--to
as we go on south.
Obstacles are the power stations on our way south!
unfortunate. I could do these great things, but alas! I have so
you are confessing to blindness.
ring up the hearse, for you will be a "dead one."
Life is going on south, and overcoming the obstacles. Death is
along the street in almost any town and see the dead ones. There
they are decorating the hitching-racks and festooning the
thought the past month. Sometimes they sit and think, but generally
they just sit. They have not gone south an inch the past year.
trying to go on south. They say of the people trying to do things.
"Aw, he's always tryin' to run things."
because they "take money outa town." They do not take any of their
money "outa town." Ringling and Barnum & Bailey get theirs.
squirt some "pep" into them and start them on south.
But all this lecture has been discussing this, so I hurry on to the
Go on South From Principle
Here we come to the most wonderful and difficult thing in life. It
is the supreme test of character. That is, Why go on south? Not for
The Mississippi blesses the valley every day as he goes on south
The valley throws its junk back upon the river. The valley pours
its foul, muddy, poisonous streams back upon the Mississippi to
But the Twin Cities merely throw their waste back upon their
He says, "Thank you. Every little helps, send it all along." Go a
alchemy of Nature, the Mississippi has taken over all the poison
He fattens upon bumps. Kick him, and you push him farther south.
"Hand him a lemon," and he makes lemonade.
Civilization conspires to defeat the Mississippi. Chicago's
irresponsible lower Missouri; the big, muddy Ohio, the Arkansas,
the Red, the black and the blue floods--all these pour into the
Day by day the Father of Waters goes on south, taking them over and
discourage, divert nor defile him. No matter how poisonous he
becomes, he goes a few miles on south and he is all pure again.
Wonderful the book in the running brook! We let our life stream
become poisoned by bitter memories and bitter regrets. We carry
along such a heart full of the injuries that other people have done
us, that sometimes we are bank to bank full of poison and a menace
Oh, forget it! Drop it all. Purify your life and go on south all
As you go on south and bless your valley, do you notice the valley
Don't wait to be thanked. Hurry on to avoid the kick! Do good to
We get so discouraged. We say, "I have gone far enough south."
father and mother--every one who tries to carry on the work of the
we sit down completely discouraged and say, "I'm done. I'm going to
quit. I have done my share. Nobody appreciates what I do. Let
Stop! You are not saying that. The evil one is whispering that into
valley for praise or blame, for appreciation or lack of it. You do
unhappy pond or swamp.
YOU ARE SAVING YOURSELF BY SAVING OTHERS. GO ON SOUTH!
us a medal or resolutions, we want to quit. That is why there are
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
I watched them pile the steel train upon a ferry-boat. I watched
the boat crossing a river more than a mile wide. Standing upon the
writing the first chapter of this wonderful book in the running brook.
I thank God that I had gone a little farther southward in my own
conquering gloriously. You bear upon your bosom the commerce of
many nations. I know why. I saw you born, saw your struggles, saw
you get in the right channel, saw you learn the lessons of your
And may we read it into our own lives. May we get the vision of
which way to go, and then keep on going south--on and on, overcoming,
getting the lessons of the bumps, the strength from the struggle
Go on South Forever!
The Mississippi knows nothing about the gulf. He goes on south
until he reaches the gulf. Then he pushes right on into the gulf as
tho nothing had happened. So he pushes his physical banks on south
And when he comes to the end of his physical banks, he pushes on
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
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.
HOW often we say, "I wish I had a million!" Perhaps it is a
blessing that we have not the million. Perhaps it would make us
O, the problem is not how to get money, but how to get rid of
money with the least injury to the race!
Perhaps getting the million would completely spoil us. Look at the
itself and the tabby cat has its million. So the tabby cat has to
his work, do you think of the years of struggle he spent in
preparing? Do you ever think of the times that orator tried to
performance, do you think of the years of struggle and overcoming
the actor, the author and every other one of attainment.
conquering races are those that struggle with both heat and cold?
they turn to God when hunger hits them. "Is not this Babylon that
handwriting upon the wall to save him.
to crack their heads before they can think, knock them down before
Do you remember that one musician became deaf before he wrote music
the world will always hear? Do you remember that one author became
He, too, had to be sent to prison to write his immortal messages to
humanity. What throne-rooms are some prisons! And what prisons are
some throne-rooms!
Then, children, when you stand in the row of graduates on
For that is the only way to say, "Success to you!"
passing year. We learn that you are cruel only to be kind. We learn
great bump that struck me one morning in Los Angeles. It seemed as
Were you ever bumped so hard you were numb? I was numb. I wondered
dog is wounded he crawls away alone to lick his wounds. I felt like
That is why I climbed Mount Lowe that day. I wanted to get alone.
It is a wonderful experience to climb Mount Lowe. The tourists go
up half a mile into Rubio Canyon, to the engineering miracle, the
Here they find that Echo Mountain is but a shelf on the side of
Mount Lowe. Here they take an electric car that winds five miles on
rockwall where his life depends upon the honesty of the man who drove
the nails. He may wonder if the man was working by the day or by the job!
The car is five thousand feet high where it stops on that last shelf,
Alpine Tavern. One cannot ride farther upward. This is not the summit,
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
lived. On a pure, clear day one looks down this sixty-one hundred
It spreads out below in one great mosaic of turquoise and amber
field-glass sweeps one panoramic picture of a hundred miles or more.
forty miles is the blue stretch of the Pacific Ocean, on westward
one could throw a pebble over into it. How a mountain does reduce
distances. You throw the pebble and it falls upon your toes!
And Mount Lowe is but a shelf on the side of the higher Sierras.
on his head.
This is one of the workshops of the infinite!
All alone I scrambled up that three-mile trail to the summit. All
alone I stood upon the flat rock at the summit and looked down into
down upon clouds. I thought of the cloud that had covered me in the
doesn't shine. The sky is all gone." But I saw the truth--the sun
that first mile. The sun was shining upon me, the sky was all blue
over me, and there were millions of miles of sunshine above me. I
could see all this because I had gone above the valley. I could see
I must go on up the mountain to see it.
matter how black and sunless today, when I have struggled on up the
Each day as I go up the mountain I get a larger vision. The miles
upon them from higher up. Each day as I look back I see more
steepness of the ascent. The bumps are lifts. The things that seem
things.
know it was one of the greatest blessings of my life. It closed one
day on the mountain top!
Go on south!
That means, go on up!
Child of humanity, are you in the storm? Go on upward. Are you in
the night? Go on upward.
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
I shall find this mountain-top just another shelf on the side of
the Mountain of Infinite Unfolding. I shall have risen perhaps only
the first mile. I shall have millions of miles yet to rise.
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
that it is everyone's business to abolish work and turn this
world into a playground. Who will not confess that many
within, and not among the things that lie at our feet. The
a smile, and beneath each one is a bit of wisdom it would do us
write us that they think it is even better than "The
Go On South!
The Salvation of a Sucker
These booklets by Ralph Parlette are short stories adapted from
to business men, to young fellows, bond salesmen and such, to our
William Jennings Bryan says of the booklet "Go On South": "It is
one of the great stories of the day."
Instruct us to send one of these booklets to your friends. It will
Index2002
Brave Buffalo, Brule Sioux Nation (1985) : ...The Earth People (indigenous natives) never wrote anything down, had no written language. They knew that if they wrote anything down it would be disastrous. If you write something down you don't have to remember it. And mind goes off into unconsciousness. It becomes negative, or unconscious force...
* [All things must pass]
A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.
* [Anthony de Mello] , [Osho]
![Religion] and [Mantras]
* [Think on these Things], [Books That Changed My Life]
![Quotations]
![Credits] and [Colophon]
* [Philips] : Let's make things better
* Canon [Digital IXUS]
Kishore Balakrishnan 2002
[Henry Miller], Sexus : Every day we slaughter our finest impulses. That is why we get a heart-ache when we read those lines written by the hand of a master and recognize them as our own, as the tender shoots which we stifled because we lacked the faith to believe in our own powers, our own criterion of truth and beauty. Every man, when he gets quiet, when he becomes desperately honest with himself, is capable of uttering profound truths. We all derive from the same source. There is no mystery about the origin of things. We are all part of creation, all kings, all poets, all musicians; we have only to open up, to discover what is already there.
If there is anything I can do to assist you, please don't hesitate to ask. I [too|http://www.soilandhealth.org/05steve'sfolder/05aboutmeindex.html] really believe that a person is only as valuable as they are of help to others.
Fight [spam] and [fram] on the Internet!
I listen to [music], watch [movies], believe in [dreams], collect [Pearls], read [quotations], [articles], [books], collect [Links] and come across interesting [People] on the web and hope to meet all of them some day.
I am not a [Nationalist]
* 2002 April 05 : Current Obsession : Being a [Karma Yogi]
* 2001 August 11 - Krishna's birthday - setup this page... - I am reading [ask Osho|http://www.barnett.sk/software/osho/askindex.htm] - Your Questions Answered or Your Answers Questioned
* 2001 August 10 - I may not be updating [Kishore Balakrishnan's Psychic RAM|http://kishore.editthispage.com/] any longer...
[Thoughts Worth Thinking], [Why I Weblog]
| Second tip at <a href="http://www.ithaca.edu/library/Training/htmlhints.html">Eight Tips on using HTML and constructing Web pages</a> is "<b>Figure out your purpose in life</b>. Or at least figure out the purpose of your Web site. You might ask yourself these questions: What do you want to say? Who do you intend your audience to be? Do you have enough to offer to make a Web site worth your while to create and worth someone's while to look at it, return to, and recommend to a friend."
Inertia
jealousy. And so it is in most religions. These are the sort of
things that we consider to be our worst enemies from a spiritual
these types of sins can be secondary to habits and ways of living
that we don't consider to be a problem. As an analogy, a
progressive enterprise can stand almost anything in a person except
their desire to find a comfort level. The one thing that is most
are and no longer being willing to improve and advance.
Sometimes spiritual teachers can be confusing in that they preach
from a spiritual point of view which is inertia. If a person is
addition, they may be suffering from spiritual pride, thinking that
an entirely different view of life. We are basing our life on an
identity with a body and mind; our only concern is that we get what
surrender ourselves to that one Spirit that is the Indweller of all
Therefore, each one of us must constantly examine our lives. Have we
found a comfort level? Are we no longer willing to change? Have we
lost interest in a new angle of vision? This is the real test of our
spiritual life. As long as we are willing to move, anything is
Have another angle of vision. Change now!
Breath
phenomenon of breathing has to be understood.
all become concerned when a child is born. Will he breathe? Will he cry and start
The child cannot breathe on his own. To expect that is impossible because the child
suspense, doubt, apprehension, fear -- because both possibilities are still open.
The child can remain dead. Then nothing can be done. The child cannot do anything,
Only prayer can be done. We can only wait in deep prayer. If the whole moves into
whole then everything else which depends on breathing cannot be your act. If you
think you are breathing then you have taken a very wrong step. And because of this
wrong step ego will be created. Ego is accumulated ignorance.
The first act of breath bridges you with the whole, makes you one with the whole,
You can think that you are doing all those things -- then you live in ignorance. If
This is the only difference between ignorance and enlightenment.
One step in error, that: "I have done it!" -- and the whole journey goes wrong. One
the field of his play, a flute of his songs, a reed, nothing more, an emptiness in
This is the first act, this breath. Many more things have to be understood about it.
If life starts with breath, and death also, and everything is between these two,
So breathing has two parts. One: the body of breathing, made up of oxygen, nitrogen
and so on, and, two: the spirit of breathing, made up of vitality, God himself.
It is like your body is there, and you, your consciousness, is hidden deep down in
your body. The body is a protection, a vehicle. The body is the visible vehicle for
the non-visible you. And the same is the case with every breath. The breath itself
Once you discover that God himself is hidden in breath, you have come to know
tantra about breathing. If you simply go on breathing and thinking that this is just
the body. You will never be able to know that which goes beyond the body, that which
is within but yet beyond, that which is hidden in the body but not obstructed by the
body, not limited by the body. A beyond within.
Yoga calls those methods pranayama. The word pranayama means expansion of life. One
Buddha said to his monks: "Sitting, walking, standing, whatsoever you are doing, go
on doing these things, but let your consciousness be aware of the breath coming in,
going out. Go on looking at your own breath -- one day with the very continuous
hammering on the breath, the temple opens."
The God is hidden in the temple of the breath. Suddenly one day you become aware
you don't have the awareness which can reveal the innermost core of it. Then you can
nitrogen, how much carbon dioxide, and you can go on playing with the body of the
breath -- but you missed the innermost real phenomenon.
That's why, if a man is dead, you can give him, pump into him, the right proportion
Unless God breathes in it, unless it contains the innermost consciousness of the
Selfish
Gautam Buddha is passing near a village which consists of high caste brahmins only.
to condemn him, to abuse him. He stands there listening to their abuse, their
allegations, their lies. Even Ananda -- who has been with him all these years --
whole training was to fight. But because Gautam Buddha is present, he controls
himself; otherwise he would have killed one or two people then and there.
Gautam Buddha said to them, "You see that the sun is going to set soon, and we have
time to listen to you again. And in two days, I will be returning along the same
One man from the crowd said, "You don't seem to be disturbed at all. And we are not
just saying things to you -- we are abusing you, insulting you."
you would not have gone back alive. I am also a warrior. There would have been
bloodshed here; not a single man in this crowd would have gone back alive. But you
said, `We eat only once a day, and we have taken our food, so it would be very kind
if you would take these things back with you. We are grateful.' What do you think
Somebody said, "They must have distributed them amongst themselves; they must have
Buddha said, "You are intelligent. Do the same: whatever you have brought, I don't
it, you are just talking into the air. Just go home and say all these things to each
moved on, Ananda said to Buddha, "This is too much. There were moments when I was
going to jump and hit the man! Just because of you, I tried to control my
temptation."
I want you not to become missionaries, I want you to become messages.
And that is possible only if you are utterly selfish, so that before you start
Beyond Enlightenment
Tantra
[Osho] in [The Books of Secrets] .....is method, technique...is not intellectual, not philosophical...It is not concerned with the "why" of things, it is concerned with "how"; not with what is truth, but how the truth can be attained.....
[The Magick Path of Tantra|http://www.shivashakti.com/magick.htm] : ...The spark of Tantra was ignited in India but was exported and burst into flame in other countries. Although Tantra had a firm spiritual basis, it was not so much a religion as a way of life.....Tantra lore maintains that only enlightenment, attained by meditation or breath control, culminating in Self Realisation could end rebirth and bring about reunion of the Spirit with the Supreme Spirit of the Cosmos -the Purusha (Cosmic Spirit).....The Tantrik Nath or Kaula way of life is based on the profound knowledge that men and women are not machines, animals or robots. They are not pawns in a cosmic game nor must they accept the face value of the cards dealt out by the "Dealer". For most, the general program of their lives is a routine they must accept and most of it is easily predictable. Too many people are resigned to this and when some event bursts in their face or shatters the roundabout routine, very few are prepared to manipulate the event or have the thinking ability to control it. As the routine, and life in general, becomes more complicated, the "Think Power" diminishes. They become, more and more, one of the crowd and willing to be carried on the wavecrests of convention and corruption. They become the people who vote in haste and repent at leisure. The future well being and welfare of human society is much in our own hands on both material and spiritual levels.....the Nath Tantriks value the development of the three super-psychic faculties of [insight], [intuition] and [imagination]...
[What is tantra?|http://www.geocities.com/open_tantra_group/what_is_tantra.htm] : ...Tantra is an ancient "life positive" esoteric path suited to the needs of genuine seekers after esoteric wisdom in the twenty-first century. Currently best known for its advocacy of sacred sexual practices, these are in fact only part of what Tantra is about...
[sivasakti.com - General Introduction to Tantra Yoga|http://sivasakti.com/articles/tantra/introduction-to-tantra-art01.html]
The Books of Secrets
|<a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0312180586/carnaticcom"><img src="http://images.amazon.com/images/P/0312180586.01.TZZZZZZZ.jpg" border="0" alt="Jiddu Krishnamurti: Think on these Things" hspace="3" vspace="3"/></a>
Change
Worldchanging 101: An Anniversary Collection http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/010573.html
jealousy. And so it is in most religions. These are the sort of
things that we consider to be our worst enemies from a spiritual
these types of sins can be secondary to habits and ways of living
that we don't consider to be a problem. As an analogy, a
progressive enterprise can stand almost anything in a person except
their desire to find a comfort level. The one thing that is most
are and no longer being willing to improve and advance.
Sometimes spiritual teachers can be confusing in that they preach
from a spiritual point of view which is inertia. If a person is
addition, they may be suffering from spiritual pride, thinking that
an entirely different view of life. We are basing our life on an
identity with a body and mind; our only concern is that we get what
surrender ourselves to that one Spirit that is the Indweller of all
Therefore, each one of us must constantly examine our lives. Have we
found a comfort level? Are we no longer willing to change? Have we
lost interest in a new angle of vision? This is the real test of our
spiritual life. As long as we are willing to move, anything is
Have another angle of vision. Change now!
Robert Blackwill
US AMBASSADOR’S EMOTIONAL SIGN-OFF
personal thoughts about how this country has shaped me
during these past two years.
Unlike Siddhartha, my meditations while preparing
limitations, will not adequately inspire my remarks on
this occasion with regard to my spiritual and
continuing contemplations, I am not always able to
illusion, please permit me to proceed since India is
the great storyteller, and because I am soon leaving
imagination. It...provided access to my past by
gladly go anywhere on a train.” That’s also me.
read out by an official with the deepest voice on the
there to see her boy, Bobby Dean, on that splendid
occasion.
I was astonished to find myself there. She would not
erected, those living on my continent had built no
Americans fell behind you Indians very early on in the
omega provide conflicting context. The vale of
Lake, which Ambassador John Kenneth Galbraith once
told me, was as close to heaven as one could get on
strong tea, a taste that I acquired in India only in
the last two months. I will now treasure that for the
come along? Has this possibility never entered your
Think about it. I recall speaking to jawans on the
male singer accompanied by a harmonium in the Golden
with a professional local dance group outside on a
lawn on a balmy evening in Chandigarh. My
ambassadorial reputation may have survived my hip-hop
thought, dazzling audition that night, I received no
offer to join that dance team. I can only conclude
be wrong, but my guess is that they are still trying
to locate the mysterious long legged whirling dervish
As I speak with you today, perhaps they will see me on
television and be in touch. Have no doubt. I am always
about you? As you can hear, I could go on along these
lines for several months. But don’t you worry. I have
that you will be comfortable as I continue my extended
there and back in great comfort. A wonderful train.
of the Bhatti princes, born of the moon. Parapets into
the sky. On some nights, there must be stars nowhere
sure and take your sunglasses along when you go there
civilizational standards is only yesterday - a fellow
on the street might have said to me, “yes, they came
wonders of the world. As has been so often the case
during my stay in India, I had only two hours to look.
in this uncommon land. Let me go on following the map
Sitting around in a small circle on wooden chairs,
trading opinions with a half a dozen distinguished
expressionism in New York in the 1940’s and 50’s
paintings of people who felt all of the emotions that
and food hotter than hot. Don’t let anybody tell you
weapons of mass destruction. Ancient Christianity in
In these places, my omnipresent security detail from
ever so slightly. The form and function of Indian
architecture with its creation, assimilation and
adaptation. Magnificent Mughal miniatures. Like you, I
wish I owned two dozen of the originals. Or one.
eye. When freed (from the senses) the wise, on
first principles, and see in action many times every
ancient civilization, the abiding aura, of — the tree.
better fiction today than these folks? Mesmerising
more balance and perspective? I would not be the only
one in Washington who would be grateful. Fabulous
cuisines. India is unquestionably the only country in
the world where this Kansas lad raised on beefsteaks
could happily be a vegetarian. But please don’t tell
my relatives back on the mid-West farms. Holi.
could use their skills in my new responsibilities back
The Monsoon that rains life into India. Surely this
with me - of countless individuals over these two
and protected me - who were generous to me beyond
imagination. I could not repay their kindnesses to
Before I close these, my final ambassadorial remarks
Many in this country have remarked upon my strong
views against terrorism. In these feelings, to a
considerable extent I draw on the white hot
anti-terrorist convictions of my President, George W
Bush — and on the September 11 attacks on the American
homeland. But on this subject, like so many others,
India has left its dominant and enduring imprint on
While I was preparing for my Senate confirmation
of those killed here by terrorists. Three on Monday.
Seven on Tuesday. Fourteen on Wednesday. Five on
Thursday. Two on Friday. Day after day. Week after
week. Month after month. India’s death toll from
seasons, year after year after year. By the time that
2001, this very personal death count that I was
keeping had reached hundreds. And, for me, these were
single person — an individual man, woman, child — with
family, loved ones, friends. They each have a name.
Just like us, they each had a life to lead. These are
Places to go. Things to do. Prayers to offer. All
On September 11 in America. Nearly every day in India.
No respectable religion could excuse these merciless
acts. No moral framework could sanction these
abominations. No political cause could justify these
murders of innocents. And yet, they go on. But, my
friends, these terrorist outrages against my country
and against yours will not continue indefinitely. We
We will win the war on terrorism, and the United
will make it so. In this context, let me conclude with
a word about India’s religious beliefs. Someone once
said, “the most sublime purpose of religion is to
teach how to know God.” India has been working on that
these two years to experience, and to profit from,
these profound wellsprings of Indian spirituality.
Thank you, my friends, for listening to these, my
personal musings. And, thank you India for every
20050114
Hindu Press International
complications related to diabetes. Swamiji's mortal remains were
returned to the ashram in the evening. The schedule of ceremonies has
head of Kailasa Ashrama in ceremonies in early 2004.
Monastery, home of HPI. He and Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami were
deeply connected.
His Holiness Trichiswami, one of the foremost spiritual leaders of our
Hinduism Today honoring him as "Hindu of the Year." In announcing that
Sri Sri Sri Tiruchi Mahaswamigal, Trainer and Guide of Monastics and
bursting at its seams with multinationals and information technology
companies, a small hermitage began on the outskirts of the city. Tucked
days. Public transport was sparse. Unmindful of all these hassles, the
Mother beckoning. Word spread about the power of Goddess Rajarajeswari
to honor him with the Hindu Renaissance Award as Hindu of the Year
Swamiji has trained dozens of sannyasins, Hindu monks, who are now in
situations. He is a living embodiment of the Goddess's grace, with even
Currently, devotees daily throng the temple and Kailasa Ashrama, the
temple--it is even named Sri Rajarajeshwari Nagar. Well connected today
a spiritual leader and healer. This quiet, compassionate, unassuming
presence brings peace and serenity to the mind. He infuses confidence.
The chief minister, S. M. Krishna, set out on a padayatra (pilgrimage
on foot) to propitiate the rain Gods. He started his journey after
One ashram devotee, a jeweler, told me, "I've been visiting the ashram
for the last 28 years. A lot of good things have come to us with the
blessings of Swamiji. On many occasions we have escaped dangers, and we
realized that Swamiji would have forewarned us. Once, I was on my way
survived only because of His blessings."
Another confided, "I have been associated with Swamiji for over 45
monthly and never do anything without his advice. He can foresee the
He has only one thought and one goal--serving Mother Rajarajeshwari."
from here have become renunciate monks, noted for their training and
dedication. Some have stayed back to serve Kailasa Ashrama, and some
have joined other ashrams. Prominent among these are Jagadguru Sri Sri
of the Thiruchi Swami Math. Kailasa Ashrama, staffed by Swamiji's monks
Sri Tiruchi Mahaswamigal was destined to be a monk. While traveling in
Subramanya, a glorious son will be born to you. He will be a teacher
Swamiji went to Mount Kailash. There, he had a vision of Goddesses
inspiration to start the ashram and temple near Bangalore.
ornately decorated wrought-iron gates 30 feet tall and 20 feet wide.
assembly hall, constructed to accommodate thousands during major
festivals and temple celebrations, beckons from just beyond a long bed
elite guest apartments. Just inside the second gate of the twelve-acre
monastery complex, adobe shrines to Ganesha and Muniswara stand in a
yards, the impressive Devi Hall, the main monastery building, towers up
Devi Hall, a newly-constructed kitchen and dining room sparkle with
fresh paint. To the left, Trichyswami's ever-so-simple personal
flowers. It is in the front room of this unimposing dwelling that the
swami greets guests, who sit on the cool stone floor as he gives
sages on the walls above. Behind Devi Hall, a large cow shed, expansive
within these gardens, Sanskrit pundits meet every day with youthful
Seated on a simple chair in his long-time living quarters known as
indulging in worldly affairs and refuses to comment on matters of
current developments. Yet politicians, bureaucrats, professionals and
of questions posed by Hinduism Today:
HT: How can one who is not a practicing yogi achieve good concentration
during meditation?
Swamiji: Anusthana, worship, brings ekagratha, or concentration, just
as when a person has a bath, he becomes clean. So, also, by worship one
can develop concentration and meditation, whether he is a yogi or not.
Swamiji: Worship is very essential for any human life. Concentration
cannot be achieved at home, because of domestic distractions. Domestic
environs do not provide the right atmosphere for worship. Vibrations
are very strong in a temple because of the form, the place and the
congregational get-together. At a temple, inspiration is more, and
concentration is better. Temple building is essential because a temple
celebration. One has to celebrate life and not lead a mechanical life.
When one involves in praising the Supreme and does not indulge in
oneself, this celebration becomes unique. A temple provides opportunity
for celebration for the less fortunate, like the handicapped and the
is no discrimination between the rich and the poor. A temple provides
strong community feelings.
can see it in the ashram, everyone has to work. In earlier days, one
person had to stand at the main entrance of the ashram and shout three
Is Swami concerned about this trend? What do you tell couples who say
they cannot live on the husband's salary alone?
Swamiji: If we go on increasing our wants, money will be necessary. The
more money is necessary, the feeling that another person will have to
family understand the value of money and the value of happiness, they
Swamiji: Whenever I go abroad, I tell people, "Devotion is mentioned in
all religions, but forcible conversion has never been mentioned
anywhere. A person should be free to choose his own path." As far as
Hinduism is concerned, it is an ocean where one can get all the
bath in one place--that is Hinduism.
of monks in the perpetuation of dharma.
Swamiji: An order of monks has to be according to the traditions and
customs of the community. The main intention in propagating dharma is
to propagate virtuous living. We should consider the individual way of
life. One aspect of dharma to one person may not be applicable to the
Ashrama have been made heads of institutions of particular communities
experiments to develop medical cures. What are the moral implications?
research. It is a waste of money and effort. It increases population.
HT: What motivated you towards sannyas? As an only child, how did
parents react to your decision?
convinced that loka seva, service to humanity, is the greatest purpose
person), I may not have been able to do this. When we are holding a pot
of hot water and cannot hold it any longer, we drop it without worrying
left home without thinking about what would be my parents' reaction. A
ripe fruit does not think of the tree when it drops down.
old-age homes. What is your opinion?
Swamiji: In olden days, when the son came of age, the parents would
hand over the responsibilities and go to the forest--vanaprastha
ashrama. As recently as fifty years ago, too, people went away on
pilgrimage, handing over responsibility to the son once he came of age.
However, today parents do neither. Even when the son is old enough to
shoulder responsibility, they go on interfering, demand attention and
make a nuisance of themselves. This is one aspect. More important is
Contact: H. H. Sivaratnapuri Swamigal, Kailasa Ashrama Mahasamsthanam,
Index200909
Brave Buffalo, Brule Sioux Nation (1985) : ...The Earth People (indigenous natives) never wrote anything down, had no written language. They knew that if they wrote anything down it would be disastrous. If you write something down you don't have to remember it. And mind goes off into unconsciousness. It becomes negative, or unconscious force...
* [All things must pass]
A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.
* [Anthony de Mello] , [Osho]
![Religion] and [Mantras]
* [Think on these Things], [Books That Changed My Life]
![Quotations]
![Credits] and [Colophon]
* [Meditation]
* [Philips] : Let's make things better
* Canon [Digital IXUS]
Rutger Kortenhorst
He is also known as Mrutyunjayah. He is an active member of School of Practical Philosophy and Economic Sciences.
Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen, we are going to spend an hour together looking at the topic ‘Why does my child do Sanskrit in John Scottus?’ My bet is that at the end of the hour you will all have come to the conclusion that your children are indeed fortunate that this extraordinary subject is part of their curriculum.
Firstly, let us look at Why Sanskrit for my child? We are the only school in Ireland doing this language, so this will need some explaining. There are another 8 JSS-type schools around the world that have made the same decision to include Sanskrit in their curriculum (they are all off-shoots from the School of Philosophy).
Secondly, how is Sanskrit taught? You may have noticed your son or daughter singing Sanskrit grammar songs in the back of the car just for the fun of it on the way home from school. I’ll spend some time telling you HOW we approach teaching Sanskrit now since my year in India.
But first of all: WHY Sanskrit? To answer that we need to look at the qualities of Sanskrit. Sanskrit stands out above all other languages for its beauty of sound, precision in pronunciation and reliability as well as thoroughness in every aspect of its structure. This is why it has never fundamentally changed unlike all other languages. It has had no need to change being the most perfect language of Mankind.
If we consider Shakespeare’s English, we realize how different and therefore difficult for us his English language was although it is just English from less than 500 years ago. We struggle with the meaning of Shakespeare’s English or that of the King James Bible. Go back a bit further and we don’t have a clue about the English from the time of Chaucer’s ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ from around 700 AD. We cannot even call this English anymore and now rightly call it Anglo-Saxon. So English hadn’t even been born! All languages keep changing beyond recognition. They change because they are defective. The changes are in fact corruptions. They are born and die after seven or eight hundred years –about the lifetime of a Giant Redwood Tree- because after so much corruption they have no life left in them. Surprisingly there is one language in the world that does not have this short lifespan. Sanskrit is the only exception. It is a never-dying constant. The reason for the constancy in Sanskrit is that it is completely structured and thought out. There is not a word that has been left out in its grammar or etymology, which means every word can be traced back to where it came from originally. This does not mean there is no room for new words either. Just as in English we use older concepts from Greek and Latin to express modern inventions like a television: ‘tele [far] – vision [seeing]’ or ‘compute –er’. Sanskrit in fact specializes in making up compound words from smaller words and parts. The word ‘Sams - krita’ itself means ‘completely – made’.
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]
consonants
After this description, what structure can we find in a, b, c, d, e, f , g...? There isn’t any, except perhaps that it starts with ‘a’, and goes downhill from there ...
Then there is the sheer beauty of the Sanskrit script as we learn it today. [Some examples on the board]
You may well say: ‘Fine, but so why should my son or daughter have yet another subject and another script to learn in their already busy school-day?’ In what way will he or she benefit from the study of Sanskrit in 2010 in the Western world?
Sanskrit automatically teaches your child and anybody else studying it to pay FINE attention due to its uncanny precision. When the precision is there the experience is, that it feels uplifting. It makes you happy. It is not difficult even for a beginner to experience this. All you have to do is fine-tune your attention and like music you are drawn in and uplifted. This precision of attention serves all subjects, areas and activities of life both while in school and for the rest of life. This will give your child a competitive advantage over any other children. They will be able to attend more fully, easily and naturally. Thus in terms of relationships, work, sport– in fact all aspects of life, they will perform better and gain more satisfaction. Whatever you attend to fully, you excel in and you enjoy more.
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.
Vivekananda, a great spiritual leader from India revered by all in the World Religious Conference of 1880 said:
You can put a mass of knowledge into the world, but that will not do it much good. There must come some culture into the blood. We all know in modern times of nations which have masses of knowledge, but what of them? They are like tigers; they are like savages, because culture is not there. Knowledge is only skin-deep, as civilization is, and a little scratch brings out the old savage. Such things happen; this is the danger. Teach the masses in the vernaculars, give them ideas; they will get information, but something more is necessary; give them culture.
Sanskrit can help your child to express universal, harmonious and simple truths better. As a result you will really have done your duty as a parent and the world will reap the benefits in a more humane, harmonious and united society. Sanskrit can do this as it is the only language that is based in knowledge all the way. Nothing is left to chance.
Just think for the moment how confusing it is for a child to learn to say ‘rough’ , but ‘dough’. And why does the ‘o’ in ‘woman’ sound like an ‘e’ in ‘women’? How come the ‘ci’ in ‘special’ is different from the ‘ci’ in ‘cinema’? Teachers may well say ‘Just learn it’ as there is no logical explanation, but it only demonstrates to a child that it is all a bit of a hit-and-miss affair. What else does this randomness in the fundamental building-blocks of language teach a child about the world? That it’s just a confusing, random chance-event? How can this give anyone any confidence?
Now go to a language where everything is following rules. Where nothing is left to chance from the humble origin of a letter to the most sophisticated philosophical idea. How will that child meet the world? Surely with confidence, clarity and the ability to express itself?
I have seen myself and others growing in such qualities, because of our contact with Sanskrit. I have just spent a year in India. Though it felt a bit like camping in a tent for a year, it was well worth it. For many years, we taught Sanskrit like zealots i.e. with high levels of enthusiasm and low levels of understanding, to both adults in the School of Philosophy and children in John Scottus School. We did not perhaps inspire a lot of our students and may have put a number of them off the study of Sanskrit. It felt to me like we needed to go to the source. Sanskrit teachers worth their salt need to live with people whose daily means of communication is in Sanskrit. I had already spent three summers near Bangalore doing just that and becoming less of an amateur, but it really needed a more thorough study. So I moved into a traditional gurukulam for the year. This meant living on campus, eating lots of rice and putting up with a few power-cuts and water shortages, but by December 2009, I made up my mind that I would step down as vice-principal of the Senior School and dedicate myself to Sanskrit for the rest of my teaching life. It felt like a promotion to me as quite a few could be vice-principal but right now which other teacher could forge ahead in Sanskrit in Ireland? [Hopefully this will change before I pop off to the next world.] With Sanskrit I’m expecting my mind to improve with age even if my body slows down a little. Sanskrit is often compared to the full-time teacher, who is there for you 24/7 whereas the other languages are more like part-timers. The effects of studying Sanskrit on me have been first and foremost a realistic confidence. Secondly, it meant I had to become more precise and speak weighing my words more carefully. It also taught me to express myself with less waffle and therefore speak more briefly. My power of attention and retention has undoubtedly increased.
Now, let me explain for a few minutes, HOW Sanskrit is taught. To my surprise it is not taught well in most places in India. Pupils have to learn it from when they are around age 9 to 11 and then they give it up, because it is taught so badly! Only a few die-hards stick with it, in time teaching the same old endings endlessly to the next generation. This is partly due to India having adopted a craving to copy the West and their tradition having been systematically rooted out by colonialism.
For learning grammar and the wisdom of the East, I was well-placed in a traditional gurukulam, but for spoken Sanskrit I felt a modern approach was missing.
Then I found a teacher from the International School belonging to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry. His name is Narendra. He has developed a novel, inspiring and light method to teach grammar, which doesn’t feel like you do any grammar at all. At the same time it isn’t diluted for beginners so you don’t end up with partial knowledge. I also foolowed a few Sanskrit Conversation camps, which all brought about more familiarity.
Narendra says he owes his method to Sri Aurobindo and his companion ‘the Mother’ who inspired him to come up with the course we now follow in Dublin. This is one of the many things ‘the Mother’ said to inspire him:“Teach logically. Your method should be most natural, efficient and stimulating to the mind. It should carry one forward at a great pace. You need not cling there to any past or present manner of teaching.”
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.]
4. Understanding works better than memorisation in this Age. Learning by heart should only take up 10 % of the mental work, rather than the 90 % rote learning in Sanskrit up to the recent present.
5. Don’t teach words and endings in isolation; teach them in the context of a sentence as the sentence is the smallest meaningful unit in language.
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.
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.
Sri Aurobindo said…at once majestic and sweet and flexible, strong and clearly-formed and full and vibrant and subtle…
It cleans and loosens your tongue so you can pronounce any language easily.
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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