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____Day one (first day for this Wiki)
2001September
I had a close (sehr kurz) Hair Cut. Above picture from Muktha T Atmavilas too...
[Wesley Felter|http://wmf.editthispage.com/2001/09/26] : If you bought $1,000 worth of Nortel stock one year ago, it would now be worth $49. If you bought $1,000 worth of Budweiser (the beer, not the stock) one year ago, drank all the beer and traded in the cans for the nickel deposit, you would have $79.
He has been conferred with a [BSc|http://wmf.editthispage.com/pictures/viewer$5772]. Congrats !
[Mira|http://surprise.editthispage.com/2001/09/23] : The real war takes place in our heads ( within us ) - The inner battle is the biggest battle each of us has to fight. It is a continuous fight against thoughts, fears, wrong ideas, desires, anger..... in order to recognize truth and to find out why we are here, who we really are, where we really want to go....Only when all these obstacles and temptations are overcome we can be free and enjoy our own being fully. What is true for the single person is also true for mankind.
My condolences to all the victims - _gimel, zayin, yud_ - _Gam zeh ya'avor_ - [This too shall pass]
[Osama bin Laden|http://www.google.com/search?q=osama+bin+laden] [brushes teeth|http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/story.jsp?story=93624] with [Miswak|http://www.islam.tc/Miswaak/] stick while I use [Balsara's Meswak toothpaste|http://www.balsara.com/toothpaste.htm]
Holi
IN DAYS of yore, there were communities of cannibals in India. They caused much havoc. They threatened the lives of many innocent people. One of them was Holika or Putana. She took immense delight in devouring children. Sri Krishna destroyed her and thus saved the little children. Even today, the effigy or figure of Holika is burnt in the fire. In South India, the clay figure of Cupid is burnt. This is the origin of the great festival of Holi.
It begins about ten days before the full moon of the month Phalgun (February-March), but is usually only observed for the last three or four days, terminating with the full moon. This is the spring festival of the Hindus. In the spring season all the trees are filled with sweet-smelling flowers. They all proclaim the glory and everlasting beauty of God. They inspire you with hope, joy and a new life, and stir you on to find out the creator and the Indweller, who is hiding Himself in these forms.
Connected to this legend of the demon Holika is Bhakta Prahlad’s devotion to Lord Narayana, and his subsequent escape from death at the hands of Holika. Prahlad’s father, Hiranyakashipu, punished him in a variety of ways to change his devotional mind and make him worldly-minded. He failed in his attempts. At last he ordered his sister, Holika, who had a boon to remain unburnt even in fire, to take Prahlad on her lap and enter into the blazing flames. Holika did so. She vanished, but Prahlad remained untouched and laughing. He was not affected by the fire on account of the Grace of Lord Narayana.
This same scene is enacted every year to remind people that those who love God shall be saved, and they that torture the devotee of God shall be reduced to ashes. When Holika was burnt, people abused her and sang the glories of the Lord and of His great devotee, Prahlad. In imitation of that, people even today use abusive language, but unfortunately forget to sing the praises of the Lord and His devotee!
Huge bundles of wood are gathered and burnt at night, and everywhere one hears shouts of “Holi-ho! Holi-ho!” People stand in the streets and sprinkle coloured water on any man who passes by, be he a rich man or an officer. There is no restriction on this day. It is like the April Fool’s Day of the Europeans. People compose and sing special Holi songs.
On the festival day, people clean their homes, remove all dirty articles from around the house and burn them. Disease-breeding bacteria are thereby destroyed. The sanitary condition of the locality is improved. During the festival, boys dance about in the streets. People play practical jokes with passers-by. A bonfire is lit towards the conclusion of the festival. Games representing the frolics of the young Krishna take place joyously around a fire.
On the last day of Holi, people take a little fire from this bonfire to their homes. They believe that their homes will be rendered pure, and their bodies free from disease.
The social element during Holi is the uniting or “embracing” of the great and the small, of the rich and the poor. It is also the uniting of equals. The festival teaches us to “let the dead bury the dead”. We should forget the outgoing year’s ill-feelings and begin the new year with feelings of love, sympathy, co-operation and equality with all. We should try to feel this oneness or unity with the Self also.
Holi also means “sacrifice”. Burn all the impurities of the mind, such as egoism, vanity and lust, through the fire of devotion and knowledge. Ignite cosmic love, mercy, generosity, selflessness, truthfulness and purity through the fire of Yogic practice. This is the real spirit of Holi. Rise from the mire of stupidity and absurdity and dive deep into the ocean of divinity.
ShreeRamanavami
SALUTATIONS to Lord Rama, an Incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who is measureless, who is of the nature of pure Consciousness and bliss, who is the consort of Sita, Master of Sri Hanuman, and the Lord of the three worlds, who took His birth at His own will in order to establish righteousness, destroy the wicked and protect His devotees.
I call this the anti-gossip tonic. When you find that you are wasting your time in gossip, repeat His Name several times. You can make up for the time lost, and the mind will be slowly weaned away from the habit of gossiping.
“The seat of all good things, the destroyer of all impurities of this age of darkness, purer than purity itself, the food for the journey of aspirants on the path to salvation, their only resting place, the very life-breath of virtuous men, is the Divine Name of Sri Rama. So say the sages”.
Ramnavmi is one of the most important festivals of the Vaishnava sect of the Hindus. However, even those who adore Lord Shiva celebrate the occasion. Some observe a strict fast on the day. Temples are decorated and the image of Lord Rama is richly adorned. The holy Ramayana is read in the temples. At Ayodhya, the birthplace of Sri Rama, a big fair is held on this day.
In South India the Sri Ramnavmi Utsavam is celebrated for nine days with great fervour and devotion. Those talented in the art of story-telling narrate the thrilling episodes of the Ramayana. The Kirtanists chant the holy Name of Rama and celebrate the wedding of Rama with Sita on this great day. It is an extremely colourful ceremony, highly inspiring and instructive, too.
Those who cannot recite the entire epic may read this single verse which contains in a nutshell the story of the Ramayana: “Formerly, Sri Rama went to the forests, where Rishis did penance, and killed the illusive deer. Sita was carried away and Jatayu was killed. Rama met Sugriva, killed Vali and crossed the ocean. The city of Lanka was burnt by Hanuman. The demons, Ravana and Kumbhakarna, were then killed. Thus is recited the holy Ramayana”.
One who approaches Sri Rama with love and worshipfulness becomes large-hearted, pure in spirit, good-natured and dispassionate in thought, word and deed. A true devotee of Lord Rama is His representative, with His power and His knowledge.
Deep and unfathomed like the ocean, firm and steadfast like the Himalayan mountains, valiant like Lord Vishnu, He was the joy of Kaushalya. Though fierce like fire on the battlefield, He was calm like the cool breeze of the Mandara Hills, patient like Mother Earth, bounteous like the god of wealth and righteous like the lord of justice himself. In the pains and the griefs of His people, His heart swiftly sympathised with the sufferers. In the festive scenes which held them in joy, He like a father, shared their joys. By His honour and heroism, as well as by His gentleness and love for His subjects, He greatly endeared Himself to the hearts of His people. Such a great person was the Lord Rama!
The noblest lesson embodied in the Ramayana is the supreme importance of righteousness in the life of every human being. Righteousness is the spiritual spark of life. Cultivation of righteousness is the process of unfoldment of the latent divinity in man. The glorious incarnation of the Supreme Being in the form of Lord Rama has exemplified the path of righteousness. Let mankind follow His footsteps and practise the ideals cherished by Him, for it is only thus that there can be everlasting peace, prosperity and welfare in this world.
Devotion to God is not a simple emotion. It is the result of intense dispassion and purity of heart and attitude. You should strive your utmost to possess the good qualities that are extolled in the Ramayana and exemplified in the life of Lord Rama. Otherwise, emotion may rise up in you temporarily to a kind of ecstasy, but you will not experience divine consciousness thereby. Devotion is a fruit which ripens gradually through the processes of self-restraint and virtue. Without intense dispassion there can be no real Sadhana for Self-realisation. Only after detachment from the world of things, is it possible to attain the Supreme Godhead. Remember this.
Devotion has absolutely nothing to do with age, caste, creed, position or sex. Generally, the worldly-minded people say: “We will practise meditation and devotion when we retire from service.” This is a serious mistake. How can you do serious Sadhana after squeezing out all your energy in working? How will you be able to practise the strict Yogic discipline in your old age? Is there any certainty in life? No, the spiritual seeds of discipline and devotion must be sown in you while you are young, while your heart is tender and untainted. Then only will it strike a deep root, blossom forth and bear fruit when you become old and retire. Only then can you bravely face the god of death and meet him with a smile!
I shall tell you the means of attaining the final release from the great cycle of births and deaths. Devotion to Lord Rama is a great purifier of the heart. From devotion arises knowledge. From knowledge comes the realisation of the pure Self. Knowing this perfectly, one goes to the Supreme Abode and merges in the Supreme Self.
The Lord is extremely fond of those who have surrendered themselves to Him. He has given this promise in the Ramayana: “To anyone who once takes shelter under Me and solicits ‘I am Thine’, I bestow fearlessness from all beings. This is My vow”.
The Name of Lord Rama is the greatest purifier of the heart. It wipes away all one’s sins. Not only this, but it wipes away the sinful tendencies as well. The Name is sweeter than the sweetest of objects. It is the haven of peace. It is the very life of pure souls. It is the purifier of all purifying agencies. It quenches the consuming fire of worldly desires. It awakens the knowledge of God. It bathes the aspirant in the, ocean of divine bliss. Glory to Sri Rama and His Name!
Ram-Nam burns ignorance, passion and sin. With or without knowledge, correctly or incorrectly, when the word “Rama” is pronounced it showers a rain of good upon the devotee. Sri Rama is Brahman who takes one across the ocean of worldly existence. Rama is one in across whom the Yogis sport, that is, the Self within.
Lord Shiva tells His consort Parvati: “This Ram-Nam is equal to the Lord’s thousand Names, or repetition of the Mantra a thousand times”.
This too shall pass
[Articles] > This too shall pass
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The University of Hard Knocks
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"He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his
God, and he shall be my son"--Revelation 21:7.
audiences brought out this book in response. Here is the overflow
lecture took this unconscious colloquial form before audiences. An
are now in preparation as this, the third edition of "The
books only give better tools for service--"Hard knocks" graduates--
eighty--Too busy to bury--Sympathy for the "sob squad"--Child sees
I do not want to be seen in this lecture. I want to be heard. I am
So in this lecture, please do not pay any attention to the delivery
I have brought a barrel of sorghum to this audience. The name of
of this audience. You can have all you want of it, but to get it to
overworked, I remind you that this is more a confession than a
I believe all this pride, vanity, selfishness, self-righteousness,
foreigner I had never met. His name was Shakespeare. It was this:
and two always makes four, and "whatsoever a man soweth, that shall
has that woman to meddle into my affairs all the time? I have stood
this petticoat tyranny three years, and it is time to stop it!
that this is the way to raise children, but I insist that this was
set go over to the flypaper, he goes over, too. He gazes down at
his face in the stickiness. "Ah! how pretty I am! This sticky
can't catch us. They were too strict with me back home."
lands in the stickiness. "Well, well, how nice this is on the feet,
were bumped. Some of you in this audience are just now wondering
I should like to know every person in this audience. But the ones
See the piano on this stage? Good evening, Mr. Piano. I am glad to
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
There you stood in the forest, a perfectly good, green young tree.
It is a very sad story. They took you all bumped and bleeding to
But shake, Mr. Piano. That is why you are on this stage. You were
Not very long after this, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I saw some
of this same red mud. It had been moved over the Great Lakes and
I watched this red mud matriculate into a great hopper with
why do they roast me? O, I'll never get over this!"
it had been roasted--they took it proudly all over the world,
that I know sitting in this chair. I have learned to be patient and
They told me this crippled woman was the sweetest-spirited,
We think this is true of the good things that come to us, but we do
this Babylon that I have builded?" And about that time there comes
At this place the lecturer exhibits a glass jar more than
than thru the ear. I want to make this so vivid that you will never
This is a canned lecture. Let the can talk to you awhile.
is too small to stay up. He cannot stand prosperity.
If we are small we shall have a small destiny. If we are great we
shall have a great destiny. We cannot dodge our destiny.
we wish to go down, we must grow smaller and we shall shake down.
If we wish to go up, we must grow greater, and we shall shake up.
This jar tells me so much about luck. I have noted that the lucky
Notice as I bump this jar. Two things happened. The little ones
were only up there I might amount to something. But I am too low
enough to fill this place?"
place this progressive age as a farmer. The merchant must be
few press-notices. "There, I am all right, for this clipping says
was filled before was entirely too big for the audience! The
"helped." Every day as they laid him at the gate people would pass
I used to wonder as I passed Bill Barlow's bank on the way down to
They are glad, too! I would have rattled down in about fifteen
all waiting! "I'll fix things. I'll pass laws requiring all apples
to be the same size. Yes, I'll pass laws to turn the barrel upside
himself, is the one who wants to get the most laws passed to fix
And this blessed old barrel of life is just waiting and anxious to
The higher we rise, the better we see that life on this planet is
and "Forging to the Front." Too often they are the sordid story of
This is the Big Business of life--going up, getting educated,
"This poor widow hath cast in more than they all. For all these
saveth his life shall lose it, but he that loseth his life for the
advancement of the kingdom of happiness on earth shall find it
do not know all the great people who may come and stand upon this
under trees or letting the mind become a blank. But this Chicago
preacher went from one chautauqua town to another, and took his
So this Chicago preacher was busy every day, working overtime on
But he that saveth his life shall lose it, and he that loseth his
glorious. This man's preaching did not make him great. His college
This Chicago man gives his life into the service of humanity, and
insignificance before this. The history of nations shows that their
saying, "Our children shall have better chances than we had. We are
home. They are going to force this education into them regularly
do is to buy them some tools, perhaps, and open the gate and say,
crape hanging on the office door. Men and women stood weeping in
Colleges Give Us Tools
furnish you finer working tools. But the real education is the
with these instruments and tools.
tools and no experience in using them. Bill was the man with the
poor, homemade, crude tools, but with the energy, vision and
poor, crude tools at their command.
They realized how they have been handicapped by their poor mental tools.
Get the best tools you can. But remember diplomas, degrees are not
end-ment. You will discover with the passing years that life is
They do all this and the children rattle. They have had no chance
cradle. Yet the father of this boy who has cost America millions in
How long this nation will endure depends upon how many Gussie boys
this nation produces. Steam heat is a fine thing, but do you notice
Children, Learn This Early
killing it. He took away from it the very thing it had to have--the
struggle. For it was this struggle of breaking its own way out of
Harry Thaw turkey. They had too many silk socks. Too many "advantages."
a skinny, fretful, nervous wreck into a hearty, happy man. This has
to be "absent from the body and present with the Lord." Thus this
This is one species of selfishness.
the place, "Were you born in this city?"
The reply is almost a monotony. "I born in this city? No, I was
born in Poseyville, Indiana, and I came to this city forty years
farmside where he struggled as a boy. Personally, I think this
people in this institution and only a score of guards to keep them
could get together they wouldn't be in this asylum. They are
It would be almost unkind to carry this further, but I have been
The old "deestrick" school is passing, and with it the small
this day! Many of them never saw a germ!
All this school machinery is only machinery. Back of it must be
One day a manufacturer took me thru his factory where he makes
I have had the feeling ever since that you and I come into this
school and go fiddling thru life on this one string!
After all this there comes the commencement, and the violin comes
and college can do is to give the strings--the tools. After that
consciousness. This joy of discovery is the joy of living.
This is not a lecture. It is a confession! It seems to me if you in
took me so long because I was naturally bright. It takes that kind
me here on this platform in my graceful and cultured manner, and
drink from a copper kettle. But I have fed him the fingers of this
became too sultry he would move to greener pastures. On that table
You see, this was not gambling, this was a sure thing. (It was!)
to learn the lesson from the bump. I said, "Next time I shall be
and stood up in his buggy. "Let the prominent citizens gather
"Gentlemen, I am introducing this new medicinal soap that cures all
a cake of this wonderful soap from my hat--any cake you want, gentlemen!"
rent my manly bosom as I read that letter from this man who said he
He knew me! He was the only man who did know me. So I took the
Did you get that? I hope you did. I did not! But I took a night
I don't get any sympathy from this crowd. You laugh at me. You
fortune right up on this platform and put it down there on the
have been selected to receive this bunch of blisters because you
took me up into his office after the lecture in which I had related
thought it very funny," said he. "I couldn't laugh. It was too
Absalom, wake up! This is bargain night for you. I paid eleven
hundred dollars to tell you this one thing, and you get it for a
dollar or two. This is no cheap lecture. It cost blood.
This is true physically, mentally, morally. You only own what you
The young person says, "By next June I shall have finished my
they think. This is not to sneer, but to cheer. Isn't it glorious
been "selected": Maybe this was a local call, not long distance.
the poet Shakespeare has so beautifully said," and then I took a
"cry here." This was the spilling-point of the wet climax. I was to
Then came the grand day. The boy wonder stood forth and before his
cultivated it, they are singers. All this cultivation and irritation
All this was gall and wormwood to Jessie. "Child," I said to her,
"this is the best singing lesson you have ever had. Your study is
one of the widely known song-writers of this land. As I had the
ideas must be forged into usefulness available for this day upon
long in this world.
Many audiences are gathered into this one audience. Each person
for a little while. I know there are people in this audience in pain.
Never do this many gather but what there are some with aching hearts.
much interested in this lecture. You are polite and attentive
because this is a polite and attentive neighborhood. But down in
your hearts you are asking, "What is this all about? What is that
stood on the burning deck, whence all but he had fled." I can see
tho, why he didn't take a pillow to church. I took his note for $240,
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,
appointed for that purpose took Jim back of the schoolhouse and
a lot of men working for him. The committee that took him out
stood that night.
Hours pass, and still as I sat in that hotel room I was lost in
seemed like she was all out-shine and no in-shine. She mistook
my daily bread. Seemed like it took so much bread!
I asked, "Where is he?" We went out to the cemetery, where I stood
trial at the hands of this world. That is why the great Judge has
the lash. Years of the cruel injustice pass. Ben Hur is the
they, too, pull on the oar and feel the lash. Most likely they are
That is why I thanked God as I stood at the grave of my classmate.
this little creek?"
GROW GREATER. For this is life, and there is no other. This is
This Is Our Best Day
Go on south! We have not seen our best days. This is the best day
We have left nothing behind but the husks. I would not trade this
compound interest! They are dead. This is life.
first reader hair will pass and you'll get promoted as you go on south.
I ought to know more about it by this time. But when anybody says,
at ninety-two--just a short time before his passing--he went out to
getting up. I'm too old. When you get as old as I am, you'll not
to this platform and ask him, "Have you succeeded?" he would say
started south. It took him eighty years to get ready. Moses did not
what is this we hear? You going to lead the Israelites to the Promised Land?
does--it "waits" on something or other. And this committee goes up
who is too busy to attend his own funeral! You cannot bury anybody
to hold that funeral until I get this work pushed off so I can
So God buried him. The committee was dead. O, friends, this is not
I was starving. He would say, "Brother Parlette, is this your
Afterwhile this old world gets too small for us and we go on south
Material things will grow old. This stage will grow old and stop.
This hall will grow old and stop. This house we live in will grow
old and stop. This flesh and blood house we live in will grow old
and stop. This lecture even will grow old--and stop! But you and I
But some day I shall know! I patiently wait for the answer. Every
way. You and I find obstacles along our way south. What shall we do?
the river, but it took the obstacle and the overcoming to develop
shall have no more obstacles to overcome!" When that time comes,
they are decorating the hitching-racks and festooning the
But all this lecture has been discussing this, so I hurry on to the
does not say, "I am not appreciated. My genius is not understood.
successful tool is discouragement, which is a wedge, and if he can
be personal saviours. They say this is an ungrateful world.
writing the first chapter of this wonderful book in the running brook.
Where shall we stop going south? At the Gulf of Mexico?
And when physical banks fail, we go on south beyond this mere husk,
they turn to God when hunger hits them. "Is not this Babylon that
He, too, had to be sent to prison to write his immortal messages to
relatives and friends say, "Success to you!" I shall take your hand
passing year. We learn that you are cruel only to be kind. We learn
be bumped to see this!
I know no better way to close this lecture than to tell you of a
Alpine Tavern. One cannot ride farther upward. This is not the summit,
cannot be described with this poor human vocabulary. It must be
lived. On a pure, clear day one looks down this sixty-one hundred
This is one of the workshops of the infinite!
alone I stood upon the flat rock at the summit and looked down into
could see all this because I had gone above the valley. I could see
The years have been passing, the stormclouds have many times hidden
see how I could live past that bump. The years have passed and I now
where I stood. I was farther up the mountain. I turned and looked
Some day my night will come. It will spread over all this valley of
But I shall be on the mountain top. I shall look down upon the
shall be in the new day of the mountain-top, forever above the night.
I shall find this mountain-top just another shelf on the side of
the Mountain of Infinite Unfolding. I shall have risen perhaps only
the first mile. I shall have millions of miles yet to rise.
This will be another Commencement Day and Master's Degree. Infinite
This book proves that the real big business is that of getting our
that it is everyone's business to abolish work and turn this
mortals take their work too seriously, and that to them it is a
LifeWithoutPrinciple
AT A LYCEUM, not long since, I felt that the lecturer had chosen a theme too foreign to himself, and so failed to interest me as much as he might have done. He described things not in or near to his heart, but toward his extremities and superficies. There was, in this sense, no truly central or centralizing thought in the lecture. I would have had him deal with his privatest experience, as the poet does. The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer. I am surprised, as well as delighted, when this happens, it is such a rare use he would make of me, as if he were acquainted with the tool. Commonly, if men want anything of me, it is only to know how many acres I make of their land- since I am a surveyor- or, at most, what trivial news I have burdened myself with. They never will go to law for my meat; they prefer the shell. A man once came a considerable distance to ask me to lecture on Slavery; but on conversing with him, I found that he and his clique expected seven eighths of the lecture to be theirs, and only one eighth mine; so I declined. I take it for granted, when I am invited to lecture anywhere- for I have had a little experience in that business- that there is a desire to hear what I think on some subject, though I may be the greatest fool in the country- and not that I should say pleasant things merely, or such as the audience will assent to; and I resolve, accordingly, that I will give them a strong dose of myself. They have sent for me, and engaged to pay for me, and I am determined that they shall have me, though I bore them beyond all precedent.
This world is a place of business. What an infinite bustle! I am awaked almost every night by the panting of the locomotive. It interrupts my dreams. There is no sabbath. It would be glorious to see mankind at leisure for once. It is nothing but work, work, work. I cannot easily buy a blank-book to write thoughts in; they are commonly ruled for dollars and cents. An Irishman, seeing me making a minute in the fields, took it for granted that I was calculating my wages. If a man was tossed out of a window when an infant, and so made a cripple for life, or seared out of his wits by the Indians, it is regretted chiefly because he was thus incapacitated for business! I think that there is nothing, not even crime, more opposed to poetry, to philosophy, ay, to life itself, than this incessant business.
There is a coarse and boisterous money-making fellow in the outskirts of our town, who is going to build a bank-wall under the hill along the edge of his meadow. The powers have put this into his head to keep him out of mischief, and he wishes me to spend three weeks digging there with him. The result will be that he will perhaps get some more money to board, and leave for his heirs to spend foolishly. If I do this, most will commend me as an industrious and hard-working man; but if I choose to devote myself to certain labors which yield more real profit, though but little money, they may be inclined to look on me as an idler. Nevertheless, as I do not need the police of meaningless labor to regulate me, and do not see anything absolutely praiseworthy in this fellow's undertaking any more than in many an enterprise of our own or foreign governments, however amusing it may be to him or them, I prefer to finish my education at a different school.
Most men would feel insulted if it were proposed to employ them in throwing stones over a wall, and then in throwing them back, merely that they might earn their wages. But many are no more worthily employed now. For instance: just after sunrise, one summer morning, I noticed one of my neighbors walking beside his team, which was slowly drawing a heavy hewn stone swung under the axle, surrounded by an atmosphere of industry- his day's work begun- his brow commenced to sweat- a reproach to all sluggards and idlers- pausing abreast the shoulders of his oxen, and half turning round with a flourish of his merciful whip, while they gained their length on him. And I thought, Such is the labor which the American Congress exists to protect- honest, manly toil- honest as the day is long- that makes his bread taste sweet, and keeps society sweet- which all men respect and have consecrated; one of the sacred band, doing the needful but irksome drudgery. Indeed, I felt a slight reproach, because I observed this from a window, and was not abroad and stirring about a similar business. The day went by, and at evening I passed the yard of another neighbor, who keeps many servants, and spends much money foolishly, while he adds nothing to the common stock, and there I saw the stone of the morning lying beside a whimsical structure intended to adorn this Lord Timothy Dexter's premises, and the dignity forthwith departed from the teamster's labor, in my eyes. In my opinion, the sun was made to light worthier toil than this. I may add that his employer has since run off, in debt to a good part of the town, and, after passing through Chancery, has settled somewhere else, there to become once more a patron of the arts.
The ways by which you may get money almost without exception lead downward. To have done anything by which you earned money merely is to have been truly idle or worse. If the laborer gets no more than the wages which his employer pays him, he is cheated, he cheats himself. If you would get money as a writer or lecturer, you must be popular, which is to go down perpendicularly. Those services which the community will most readily pay for, it is most disagreeable to render. You are paid for being something less than a man. The State does not commonly reward a genius any more wisely. Even the poet laureate would rather not have to celebrate the accidents of royalty. He must be bribed with a pipe of wine; and perhaps another poet is called away from his muse to gauge that very pipe. As for my own business, even that kind of surveying which I could do with most satisfaction my employers do not want. They would prefer that I should do my work coarsely and not too well, ay, not well enough. When I observe that there are different ways of surveying, my employer commonly asks which will give him the most land, not which is most correct. I once invented a rule for measuring cord-wood, and tried to introduce it in Boston; but the measurer there told me that the sellers did not wish to have their wood measured correctly- that he was already too accurate for them, and therefore they commonly got their wood measured in Charlestown before crossing the bridge.
It is remarkable that there are few men so well employed, so much to their minds, but that a little money or fame would commonly buy them off from their present pursuit. I see advertisements for active young men, as if activity were the whole of a young man's capital. Yet I have been surprised when one has with confidence proposed to me, a grown man, to embark in some enterprise of his, as if I had absolutely nothing to do, my life having been a complete failure hitherto. What a doubtful compliment this to pay me! As if he had met me half-way across the ocean beating up against the wind, but bound nowhere, and proposed to me to go along with him! If I did, what do you think the underwriters would say? No, no! I am not without employment at this stage of the voyage. To tell the truth, I saw an advertisement for able-bodied seamen, when I was a boy, sauntering in my native port, and as soon as I came of age I embarked.
Perhaps I am more than usually jealous with respect to my freedom. I feel that my connection with and obligation to society are still very slight and transient. Those slight labors which afford me a livelihood, and by which it is allowed that I am to some extent serviceable to my contemporaries, are as yet commonly a pleasure to me, and I am not often reminded that they are a necessity. So far I am successful. But I foresee that if my wants should be much increased, the labor required to supply them would become a drudgery. If I should sell both my forenoons and afternoons to society, as most appear to do, I am sure that for me there would be nothing left worth living for. I trust that I shall never thus sell my birthright for a mess of pottage. I wish to suggest that a man may be very industrious, and yet not spend his time well. There is no more fatal blunderer than he who consumes the greater part of his life getting his living. All great enterprises are self-supporting. The poet, for instance, must sustain his body by his poetry, as a steam planing-mill feeds its boilers with the shavings it makes. You must get your living by loving. But as it is said of the merchants that ninety-seven in a hundred fail, so the life of men generally, tried by this standard, is a failure, and bankruptcy may be surely prophesied.
It is remarkable that there is little or nothing to be remembered written on the subject of getting a living; how to make getting a living not merely holiest and honorable, but altogether inviting and glorious; for if getting a living is not so, then living is not. One would think, from looking at literature, that this question had never disturbed a solitary individual's musings. Is it that men are too much disgusted with their experience to speak of it? The lesson of value which money teaches, which the Author of the Universe has taken so much pains to teach us, we are inclined to skip altogether. As for the means of living, it is wonderful how indifferent men of all classes are about it, even reformers, so called- whether they inherit, or earn, or steal it. I think that Society has done nothing for us in this respect, or at least has undone what she has done. Cold and hunger seem more friendly to my nature than those methods which men have adopted and advise to ward them off.
The rush to California, for instance, and the attitude, not merely of merchants, but of philosophers and prophets, so called, in relation to it, reflect the greatest disgrace on mankind. That so many are ready to live by luck, and so get the means of commanding the labor of others less lucky, without contributing any value to society! And that is called enterprise! I know of no more startling development of the immorality of trade, and all the common modes of getting a living. The philosophy and poetry and religion of such a mankind are not worth the dust of a puffball. The hog that gets his living by rooting, stirring up the soil so, would be ashamed of such company. If I could command the wealth of all the worlds by lifting my finger, I would not pay such a price for it. Even Mahomet knew that God did not make this world in jest. It makes God to be a moneyed gentleman who scatters a handful of pennies in order to see mankind scramble for them. The world's raffle! A subsistence in the domains of Nature a thing to be raffled for! What a comment, what a satire, on our institutions! The conclusion will be, that mankind will hang itself upon a tree. And have all the precepts in all the Bibles taught men only this? and is the last and most admirable invention of the human race only an improved muck-rake? Is this the ground on which Orientals and Occidentals meet? Did God direct us so to get our living, digging where we never planted- and He would, perchance, reward us with lumps of gold?
After reading Howitt's account of the Australian gold-diggings one evening, I had in my mind's eye, all night, the numerous valleys, with their streams, all cut up with foul pits, from ten to one hundred feet deep, and half a dozen feet across, as close as they can be dug, and partly filled with water- the locality to which men furiously rush to probe for their fortunes- uncertain where they shall break ground- not knowing but the gold is under their camp itself- sometimes digging one hundred and sixty feet before they strike the vein, or then missing it by a foot- turned into demons, and regardless of each others' rights, in their thirst for riches- whole valleys, for thirty miles, suddenly honeycombed by the pits of the miners, so that even hundreds are drowned in them- standing in water, and covered with mud and clay, they work night and day, dying of exposure and disease. Having read this, and partly forgotten it, I was thinking, accidentally, of my own unsatisfactory life, doing as others do; and with that vision of the diggings still before me, I asked myself why I might not be washing some gold daily, though it were only the finest particles- why I might not sink a shaft down to the gold within me, and work that mine. There is a Ballarat, a Bendigo for you- what though it were a sulky-gully? At any rate, I might pursue some path, however solitary and narrow and crooked, in which I could walk with love and reverence. Wherever a man separates from the multitude, and goes his own way in this mood, there indeed is a fork in the road, though ordinary travellers may see only a gap in the paling. His solitary path across lots will turn out the higher way of the two.
Men rush to California and Australia as if the true gold were to be found in that direction; but that is to go to the very opposite extreme to where it lies. They go prospecting farther and farther away from the true lead, and are most unfortunate when they think themselves most successful. Is not our native soil auriferous? Does not a stream from the golden mountains flow through our native valley? and has not this for more than geologic ages been bringing down the shining particles and forming the nuggets for us? Yet, strange to tell, if a digger steal away, prospecting for this true gold, into the unexplored solitudes around us, there is no danger that any will dog his steps, and endeavor to supplant him. He may claim and undermine the whole valley even, both the cultivated and the uncultivated portions, his whole life long in peace, for no one will ever dispute his claim. They will not mind his cradles or his toms. He is not confined to a claim twelve feet square, as at Ballarat, but may mine anywhere, and wash the whole wide world in his tom.
The last resource of our energy has been the robbing of graveyards on the Isthmus of Darien, an enterprise which appears to be but in its infancy; for, according to late accounts, an act has passed its second reading in the legislature of New Granada, regulating this kind of mining; and a correspondent of the "Tribune" writes: "In the dry season, when the weather will permit of the country being properly prospected, no doubt other rich guacas [that is, graveyards] will be found." To emigrants he says: "do not come before December; take the Isthmus route in preference to the Boca del Toro one; bring no useless baggage, and do not cumber yourself with a tent; but a good pair of blankets will be necessary; a pick, shovel, and axe of good material will be almost all that is required": advice which might have been taken from the "Burker's Guide." And he concludes with this line in Italics and small capitals: "If you are doing well at home, STAY THERE," which may fairly be interpreted to mean, "If you are getting a good living by robbing graveyards at home, stay there."
It is remarkable that among all the preachers there are so few moral teachers. The prophets are employed in excusing the ways of men. Most reverend seniors, the illuminati of the age, tell me, with a gracious, reminiscent smile, betwixt an aspiration and a shudder, not to be too tender about these things- to lump all that, that is, make a lump of gold of it. The highest advice I have heard on these subjects was grovelling. The burden of it was- It is not worth your while to undertake to reform the world in this particular. Do not ask how your bread is buttered; it will make you sick, if you do- and the like. A man had better starve at once than lose his innocence in the process of getting his bread. If within the sophisticated man there is not an unsophisticated one, then he is but one of the devil's angels. As we grow old, we live more coarsely, we relax a little in our disciplines, and, to some extent, cease to obey our finest instincts. But we should be fastidious to the extreme of sanity, disregarding the gibes of those who are more unfortunate than ourselves.
In our science and philosophy, even, there is commonly no true and absolute account of things. The spirit of sect and bigotry has planted its hoof amid the stars. You have only to discuss the problem, whether the stars are inhabited or not, in order to discover it. Why must we daub the heavens as well as the earth? It was an unfortunate discovery that Dr. Kane was a Mason, and that Sir John Franklin was another. But it was a more cruel suggestion that possibly that was the reason why the former went in search of the latter. There is not a popular magazine in this country that would dare to print a child's thought on important subjects without comment. It must be submitted to the D.D.'s. I would it were the chickadee-dees.
That excitement about Kossuth, consider how characteristic, but superficial, it was!- only another kind of politics or dancing. Men were making speeches to him all over the country, but each expressed only the thought, or the want of thought, of the multitude. No man stood on truth. They were merely banded together, as usual one leaning on another, and all together on nothing; as the Hindoos made the world rest on an elephant, the elephant on a tortoise, and the tortoise on a serpent, and had nothing to put under the serpent. For all fruit of that stir we have the Kossuth hat.
Just so hollow and ineffectual, for the most part, is our ordinary conversation. Surface meets surface. When our life ceases to be inward and private, conversation degenerates into mere gossip. We rarely meet a man who can tell us any news which he has not read in a newspaper, or been told by his neighbor; and, for the most part, the only difference between us and our fellow is that he has seen the newspaper, or been out to tea, and we have not. In proportion as our inward life fails, we go more constantly and desperately to the post-office. You may depend on it, that the poor fellow who walks away with the greatest number of letters, proud of his extensive correspondence, has not heard from himself this long while.
I do not know but it is too much to read one newspaper a week. I have tried it recently, and for so long it seems to me that I have not dwelt in my native region. The sun, the clouds, the snow, the trees say not so much to me. You cannot serve two masters. It requires more than a day's devotion to know and to possess the wealth of a day.
Not without a slight shudder at the danger, I often perceive how near I had come to admitting into my mind the details of some trivial affair- the news of the street; and I am astonished to observe how willing men are to lumber their minds with such rubbish- to permit idle rumors and incidents of the most insignificant kind to intrude on ground which should be sacred to thought. Shall the mind be a public arena, where the affairs of the street and the gossip of the tea-table chiefly are discussed? Or shall it be a quarter of heaven itself- an hypaethral temple, consecrated to the service of the gods? I find it so difficult to dispose of the few facts which to me are significant, that I hesitate to burden my attention with those which are insignificant, which only a divine mind could illustrate. Such is, for the most part, the news in newspapers and conversation. It is important to preserve the mind's chastity in this respect. Think of admitting the details of a single case of the criminal court into our thoughts, to stalk profanely through their very sanctum sanctorum for an hour, ay, for many hours! to make a very bar-room of the mind's inmost apartment, as if for so long the dust of the street had occupied us- the very street itself, with all its travel, its bustle, and filth, had passed through our thoughts' shrine! Would it not be an intellectual and moral suicide? When I have been compelled to sit spectator and auditor in a court-room for some hours, and have seen my neighbors, who were not compelled, stealing in from time to time, and tiptoeing about with washed hands and faces, it has appeared to my mind's eye, that, when they took off their hats, their ears suddenly expanded into vast hoppers for sound, between which even their narrow heads were crowded. Like the vanes of windmills, they caught the broad but shallow stream of sound, which, after a few titillating gyrations in their coggy brains, passed out the other side. I wondered if, when they got home, they were as careful to wash their ears as before their hands and faces. It has seemed to me, at such a time, that the auditors and the witnesses, the jury and the counsel, the judge and the criminal at the bar- if I may presume him guilty before he is convicted- were all equally criminal, and a thunderbolt might be expected to descend and consume them all together.
By all kinds of traps and signboards, threatening the extreme penalty of the divine law, exclude such trespassers from the only ground which can be sacred to you. It is so hard to forget what it is worse than useless to remember! If I am to be a thoroughfare, I prefer that it be of the mountain brooks, the Parnassian streams, and not the town sewers. There is inspiration, that gossip which comes to the ear of the attentive mind from the courts of heaven. There is the profane and stale revelation of the bar-room and the police court. The same ear is fitted to receive both communications. Only the character of the hearer determines to which it shall be open, and to which closed. I believe that the mind can be permanently profaned by the habit of attending to trivial things, so that all our thoughts shall be tinged with triviality. Our very intellect shall be macadamized, as it were- its foundation broken into fragments for the wheels of travel to roll over; and if you would know what will make the most durable pavement, surpassing rolled stones, spruce blocks, and asphaltum, you have only to look into some of our minds which have been subjected to this treatment so long.
If we have thus desecrated ourselves- as who has not?- the remedy will be by wariness and devotion to reconsecrate ourselves, and make once more a fane of the mind. We should treat our minds, that is, ourselves, as innocent and ingenuous children, whose guardians we are, and be careful what objects and what subjects we thrust on their attention. Read not the Times. Read the Eternities. Conventionalities are at length as had as impurities. Even the facts of science may dust the mind by their dryness, unless they are in a sense effaced each morning, or rather rendered fertile by the dews of fresh and living truth. Knowledge does not come to us by details, but in flashes of light from heaven. Yes, every thought that passes through the mind helps to wear and tear it, and to deepen the ruts, which, as in the streets of Pompeii, evince how much it has been used. How many things there are concerning which we might well deliberate whether we had better know them- had better let their peddling-carts be driven, even at the slowest trot or walk, over that bride of glorious span by which we trust to pass at last from the farthest brink of time to the nearest shore of eternity! Have we no culture, no refinement- but skill only to live coarsely and serve the Devil?- to acquire a little worldly wealth, or fame, or liberty, and make a false show with it, as if we were all husk and shell, with no tender and living kernel to us? Shall our institutions be like those chestnut burs which contain abortive nuts, perfect only to prick the fingers?
Do we call this the land of the free? What is it to be free from King George and continue the slaves of King Prejudice? What is it to be born free and not to live free? What is the value of any political freedom, but as a means to moral freedom? Is it a freedom to be slaves, or a freedom to be free, of which we boast? We are a nation of politicians, concerned about the outmost defences only of freedom. It is our children's children who may perchance be really free. We tax ourselves unjustly. There is a part of us which is not represented. It is taxation without representation. We quarter troops, we quarter fools and cattle of all sorts upon ourselves. We quarter our gross bodies on our poor souls, till the former eat up all the latter's substance.
So is the English Parliament provincial. Mere country bumpkins, they betray themselves, when any more important question arises for them to settle, the Irish question, for instance- the English question why did I not say? Their natures are subdued to what they work in. Their "good breeding" respects only secondary objects. The finest manners in the world are awkwardness and fatuity when contrasted with a finer intelligence. They appear but as the fashions of past days- mere courtliness, knee-buckles and small-clothes, out of date. It is the vice, but not the excellence of manners, that they are continually being deserted by the character; they are cast-off-clothes or shells, claiming the respect which belonged to the living creature. You are presented with the shells instead of the meat, and it is no excuse generally, that, in the case of some fishes, the shells are of more worth than the meat. The man who thrusts his manners upon me does as if he were to insist on introducing me to his cabinet of curiosities, when I wished to see himself. It was not in this sense that the poet Decker called Christ "the first true gentleman that ever breathed." I repeat that in this sense the most splendid court in Christendom is provincial, having authority to consult about Transalpine interests only, and not the affairs of Rome. A praetor or proconsul would suffice to settle the questions which absorb the attention of the English Parliament and the American Congress.
Government and legislation! these I thought were respectable professions. We have heard of heaven-born Numas, Lycurguses, and Solons, in the history of the world, whose names at least may stand for ideal legislators; but think of legislating to regulate the breeding of slaves, or the exportation of tobacco! What have divine legislators to do with the exportation or the importation of tobacco? what humane ones with the breeding of slaves? Suppose you were to submit the question to any son of God- and has He no children in the Nineteenth Century? is it a family which is extinct?- in what condition would you get it again? What shall a State like Virginia say for itself at the last day, in which these have been the principal, the staple productions? What ground is there for patriotism in such a State? I derive my facts from statistical tables which the States themselves have published.
A commerce that whitens every sea in quest of nuts and raisins, and makes slaves of its sailors for this purpose! I saw, the other day, a vessel which had been wrecked, and many lives lost, and her cargo of rags, juniper berries, and bitter almonds were strewn along the shore. It seemed hardly worth the while to tempt the dangers of the sea between Leghorn and New York for the sake of a cargo of juniper berries and bitter almonds. America sending to the Old World for her bitters! Is not the sea-brine, is not shipwreck, bitter enough to make the cup of life go down here? Yet such, to a great extent, is our boasted commerce; and there are those who style themselves statesmen and philosophers who are so blind as to think that progress and civilization depend on precisely this kind of interchange and activity- the activity of flies about a molasses- hogshead. Very well, observes one, if men were oysters. And very well, answer I, if men were mosquitoes.
Lieutenant Herndon, whom our government sent to explore the Amazon, and, it is said, to extend the area of slavery, observed that there was wanting there "an industrious and active population, who know what the comforts of life are, and who have artificial wants to draw out the great resources of the country." But what are the "artificial wants" to be encouraged? Not the love of luxuries, like the tobacco and slaves of, I believe, his native Virginia, nor the ice and granite and other material wealth of our native New England; nor are "the great resources of a country" that fertility or barrenness of soil which produces these. The chief want, in every State that I have been into, was a high and earnest purpose in its inhabitants. This alone draws out "the great resources" of Nature, and at last taxes her beyond her resources; for man naturally dies out of her. When we want culture more than potatoes, and illumination more than sugar-plums, then the great resources of a world are taxed and drawn out, and the result, or staple production, is, not slaves, nor operatives, but men- those rare fruits called heroes, saints, poets, philosophers, and redeemers.
What is called politics is comparatively something so superficial and inhuman, that practically I have never fairly recognized that it concerns me at all. The newspapers, I perceive, devote some of their columns specially to politics or government without charge; and this, one would say, is all that saves it; but as I love literature and to some extent the truth also, I never read those columns at any rate. I do not wish to blunt my sense of right so much. I have not got to answer for having read a single President's Message. A strange age of the world this, when empires, kingdoms, and republics come a-begging to a private man's door, and utter their complaints at his elbow! I cannot take up a newspaper but I find that some wretched government or other, hard pushed and on its last legs, is interceding with me, the reader, to vote for it- more importunate than an Italian beggar; and if I have a mind to look at its certificate, made, perchance, by some benevolent merchant's clerk, or the skipper that brought it over, for it cannot speak a word of English itself, I shall probably read of the eruption of some Vesuvius, or the overflowing of some Po, true or forged, which brought it into this condition. I do not hesitate, in such a case, to suggest work, or the almshouse; or why not keep its castle in silence, as I do commonly? The poor President, what with preserving his popularity and doing his duty, is completely bewildered. The newspapers are the ruling power. Any other government is reduced to a few marines at Fort Independence. If a man neglects to read the Daily Times, government will go down on its knees to him, for this is the only treason in these days.

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