He looks to his right and to the left,
to the front and to his back,
when Man commits a wrong,
but, never up.
He looks to his right and to the left,
to the front and to his back,
when Man commits a wrong,
but, never up.
Here’re the questions:
1: “What is the SHARPEST thing in this world?”
His people responded: “The Sword.”
He: “The sharpest is the “human tongue.” Because with the tongue, humans easily hurt the hearts, feelings…of people.”
2: What is the MOST distant from us in this world?
Some said: “Space, the moon, the sun.”
He: “The most distant is the “Past”. Whoever we are, whatever may be our station in life, there’s no going back in time.”
3: What is BIGGEST thing in this world?
Someone replied: “Mountain, Earth, Sun.”
He: “The biggest thing in the world is “Lust”. Many humans become wretched by their indulgence in their lusts. All means are justified in order to realize the lusts of this world.”
4: “What is the HARDEST (and has the MOST WEIGHT) in this world?
They: “Steel, iron, elephant.”
He: “The hardest thing is to “promise” – easy to say but extremely hard to do.”
5: “What is LIGHTEST thing in this world?
They: “Cotton, wind, dust, leaves.”
He: “The lightest in the world is humility, hence it is easiest to lose/forget.”
6: What is CLOSEST to us in this world?
They: “Parents, Friends, Relatives.”
He: “The closest to us is “DEATH”. Because death is SURE and can happen any second.”
7: What’s the EASIEST thing to do in this world?
They replied: “Eating, sleeping, hanging out”
Gautama Buddha answered: “The easiest is to break someone’s heart.”
Source: Thru FB (Usha Narayanan) and image from pbs.org
On his return, Mother Kaushalya asked Ram: ‘Is Ravana killed (by you)?’
Ram: Ravana – the maha-enlightened, the maha-valarous, the maha-mighty, the maha-erudite, Shiv-bhakth beyond compare, master of four veda’s, author of Shiva-Tandava-Stotra ……Mother, I did not kill the King of Lanka, ‘I’ killed him.’
PS: I preferred ‘maha’ to ‘most’ in translation. Also left ‘bhakt’ (devotee) as is.
‘Did you taste the bananas I had sent for you yesterday?’
‘Yes, it was very tasty indeed,’ Krishna smiled.
‘It’s a special variety I had planted this season. What I sent you was the first ‘thaar’ (bunch) of the season from the field.’
‘But you sent just one.’
‘Just one? I had personally handed over an entire ‘thaar’, not keeping even one for our home.’
‘Don’t know about that, but I got to eat just one and it was delicious, not the usual stuff.’
‘That’s surprising…never mind, today I’ll personally come with two thaar’s since you liked it so much. Be there till I turn up, don’t go away; I’ll surely come…will surely come…will surely come…’
‘Enga (Hey), where are you going to and where are you coming from? Wake up, it’s morning. You were dreaming,’ his wife was standing beside him.
The devout mirasdar (landlord), startled out of his sleep, taking a little while to gather his wits, dismissed his wife: ‘Oh, it’s nothing, don’t worry. Get the coffee ready, I’ll be there in a few minutes. I’ve to go to the field thereafter, so don’t delay.’
When he returned later with two huge thaar’s in his hands, his servant, coming to work just then, rushed to him: ‘Ayya, why did you bother? But for my son – down with fever, he didn’t sleep all night – I would have been here much earlier.’
As he tried to relieve the master of the heft, he found himself pushed aside petulantly.
The inquisition began: ‘Tell me first what happened to the bananas yesterday?’
‘Why, I carried the thaar you had given and delivered it to the Ayyar (priest).’
‘How many bananas were there in the thaar you carried?’
‘Ayya, I did not count. I guess it must be over hundred.’
‘And you handed over the whole thaar at the temple? Don’t lie – I’ve a way to find the truth.’
‘I did exactly like you had instructed, Ayya…except for a small lapse.’
‘Just when I neared the temple, the sight of the bananas drew a beggar child who seemed too weak even to beg. He barely managed to put out his two hands, his hunger-dizzied eyes fixed on the fruits. I did not have the heart to walk away. Gave him a fruit that he eagerly partook…it was just one small fruit from the bottom of the pile, squashed on one side by the weight of the thaar…’
Despite his efforts to minimize the loss, the servant stood waiting for the inevitable reprimand.
Finally, ‘Go, take these two thaars…’
‘I’ll go right away and this time there’ll be no lapses, I assure you, Ayya…’
‘and distribute among the hungry.’
‘You heard me right.’ The mirasdar walked away.
The servant’s jaw dropped. He had expected to be fined a month’s pay for the infraction.
Vexed over ‘whatever happened to his master?’ he trooped out carrying the bananas. He was not going to lose his peace trying to figure things out.
Source: Adapted from a post in WhatsApp. Image from urbandud.wordpress.com
A very well-articulated article, I thought, from Keerthik Sasidharan capturing what many of us feel within. Appears in The Hindu of November 19, 2017 (there’s no way to reblog onto WordPress, hence…). It’s neither jingoistic in the ‘Hindutva’ sense nor ‘secular’ in the Congress sense.
Here we go:
Away from the heat of reactionary furies and banal identity politics, seeing how Hindu beliefs are formed, sustained and changed
Last week, I visited my ancestral village and found myself listening to family stories told by my aunts who are well into their 70s. These were stories I had heard before. Nevertheless, like always, they were repeated at family gatherings, attesting to the axiomatic truth of all collective storytelling since Vyasa in the Mahabharata: repetition endows potency. In my head, I often divide these family stories into two categories: stories of the times and stories of people. The former are tales of perilous years when hunger was common and scarcity the rule. These aren’t moral tales but merely their recounting — a survivor’s sigh of relief — of how far we have all come from the India of the 1950s to this day. The latter stories about people are invariably morality plays — tales filled with ethical breaches, betrayals, and comeuppance.
This time, I heard a real-life story about a man who was a shrewd and feared feudal presence in their village — the kind who had managed to be both a functionary of the young Communist party and also relentlessly acquire land and wealth. Now in his 80s, after being felled by a stroke, he lay in coma, while, as my aunts described not without some schadenfreude, his children squabbled over his ill-gotten properties even as they refused to shoulder any responsibility towards his care. It all seemed a bit squalid, but none too uncommon, familial tragedy in play. What struck me vividly, however, was a statement by one of my more religious aunts: “It is inevitable given the [bad] karma he accrued by unconscionably fleecing illiterate Mapillahs [Muslims of Malabar] off their lands.”
Irrespective of the truth of her statement about his purported actions, what struck me was the ease with which a religious Hindu woman could imagine that a Hindu man could “pay” for his actions towards Muslims. The doctrine of karma, as she understood it, supplemented her intuitions about justice towards a fellow citizen, irrespective of her fellow citizen’s faith in the very same doctrine. It is this generosity of her theological interpretations, made on her own — without the sanction or permission of a clergy, without the approval from a book — that allowed her to be secular in practice without any supervised tutelage of the state regarding secularism. In many ways, she is not unique for a practising Hindu across India. But hers is the kind of everyday secularism borne from the generosity of her religious piety that is often mistaken by Hindutva ideologues for weakness and is often ignored by Left liberals who have little use for religion, far less religiously inspired ethical commitments.
The inner lives of devout Hindus gains all the more salience this week as Kerala begins to celebrate the next three months as a period earmarked for expressions of bhakti. Public and private forms of religiosity will soon decorate the streets. Millions of men from all of south India, dressed in black, heady with vows of brief asceticism, will trek to the temples at Sabarimala. Innumerable festivals at large and obscure temples, performances of various temple arts, concerts and processions, readings and discourses that run for days, if not weeks — it is all quite extraordinary. All of these are public reiterations of a way of living that has evolved over decades, if not centuries — a way of bookmarking human existence as seasons change and time flows.
Being a Hindu
Given all this, it is tempting to think of these external displays as the sole marker of being a Hindu. But unlike Islam or even doctrinaire forms of Christianity, what is less explicitly understood are the set of beliefs that constitutes one’s self-identification as a Hindu. What does ‘being Hindu’ mean? This is a question whose answer goes well beyond any worship of a god or belonging to a specific constellation of traditions (sampradaya). The answer — not in an academic or anthropological sense, but as a lived practice — is inescapably tied to the question of what does “being” mean? And then upon answering that, asking what does the descriptor “Hindu” entail. There are maximalists who argue that being human and being Hindu is the same. On the flip side, there are those who deny — usually after suffering from various inequities within the Hindu society — that one can’t be Hindu and human simultaneously. For most people, the truth lies in the proverbial middle not because that is the easy way out but because most human experiences are rarely at the extremes. To answer what it is to be a Hindu in our times is then ultimately an exercise to reduce an archipelago of subjective understandings into an island of objective knowledge.
The result is that most writings about being Hindu, even by “insiders”, is indistinguishable from historical accounts of concepts, a cornucopia of myths, or are explorations of high philosophical subtleties. All of these are important, of course, but ultimately they are merely the scaffolding inside which Hindu identities learn to organise their inner worlds. If we are to be students of modern India, then this means learning to see how Hindu beliefs, commitments and affiliations are formed, sustain and change. To do this, away from the heat of reactionary furies and banal identity politics, is to learn to see the world for what it is.
Source: The original article appears here. Thanks, Siddharth for the forward.
But what fascinated me most was Nagarjuna’s stress on what my guru referred to as ‘the Killer Time Gap.’ Now Eastern philosophy rests on the twin concepts of karma and reincarnation; since volumes have been written on these concepts, I will simply say here that karma is defined as the movement of the mind (thought) and what it produces in terms of speech and action; the consequences are inevitable and come later—whether a second later, lifetimes down the road, or anywhere in-between. According to Nagarjuna, it is this lethal time gap between our thought, speech and action (karma/doing) and the ensuing results of those actions that is responsible for all the suffering of humanity.
Take the act of killing for instance: If, as I lowered my foot to crush a bug, my own ribs started to break, I’d likely be too terrified of my own well-being to ever kill again, right? Or if, just after I’d stolen ten bucks from you, someone stole a thousand out of my wallet, I might put the action and the consequence together (since they came so close on the heels of each other) and the fear of being punished so quickly and severely might urge me to never ever steal again, right?
Only a few of us are born virtuous; the rest of us are a mix of darkness and light and therefore prey to all the temptations of the world. And yet, unless we are criminally insane or prone to masochism, we would all be perfectly moral if there was no gap between our actions and the consequences of those actions.
Right now (I am writing this post in October 2016) the US Presidential Debate rages on and all sorts of filth relating to the actions of both major candidates is rising up in a tidal wave to hurt not just them, but their families, associates, their respective parties, and all those peripherally involved in this major drama. Now, had either of these two candidates known (at the time they did what they did) that their past sins would rise up to bite them in the butt—too too right in the thick of their fight for a powerful office—would they have blithely gone ahead and done what they did? I think not—it was that killer time gap that allowed both to believe they would ever have to pay the karmic piper—and how wrong they both were.
What we do about this time gap in our own lives? I can only speak for myself. First I forged for myself a strong foundation of reality (known as the “view). In doing so, I digested the meaning of karma so well that in time I became convinced that nothing but nothing goes unrecorded in the vast reservoir of consciousness. This perennial awareness of how reality works now makes me careful in how I think, speak and act; if I make mistakes, as I often do, then I am quick to make amends—to offer an apology or do whatever is necessary to compensate for the hurt or trouble I have caused—for it is said that an amend performed minus the ego is said to wipe out the original bad act. Gradually, as this wisdom seeps into our consciousness, we become organically beautiful people and our happiness and peace quotient rises into the heavens. The beauty of living in such a way is that the whole cosmos benefits.
Source: miraprabhu.wordpress.com and art.thewalters.org
He had visited Nepal to have darshan at the holy Pashupathinath temple.
On return, he presented himself before the Paramacharya and respectfully offered the temple prasadam and a rare rudraksha maalai (string of rudraksha beads).
‘Did you have a good darshan?’ the old sage inquired.
‘Yes, Sir, by god’s grace and your blessings.’
The sage lifted the maalai in his frail hands.
‘What’re you going to do with this?’
‘If you may kindly permit, I intend wearing it around my neck…’
There was silence.
‘So, you’ll always speak the truth?’
He was startled. ‘Yes, Sir, I’ll henceforth always speak the truth,’ the words almost rolled off his tongue.
He knew it was not possible at all try as he might. In the presence of the sage he would dare to speak untruth.
Holding himself back, ‘No, Sir, it’s impossible for me to be speaking truth at all times.’
‘Sir, I work in a bank. The official records are never unmixed truth. Further, if my manager orders me, I would be compelled to…’
‘Take this, if and when you find someone who never speaks untruth, give it to him.’
The man was mighty happy to receive the maalai back from the sage.
Rushing back he said to his wife: ‘Let’s do as you had suggested. We even have His okay. And imagine we never saw we always had someone with us right here with us in this house who never spoke untruth!’
Since then the maalai adorned the sage’s portrait in the pooja room!
The incident was shared some days later by the sage with another man who had come to have darshan: Your relative…that fellow who works in the bank…he has aspects of Harishchandra in this age. He didn’t lie to me he never lies…’