Sunday 26 May 2013


2013-17 Auvaiyar: Aathichudi - Alphabet Aphorisms

[Abithana Chintamani states that there were three female poets titled AuvaiyarAmong them, Avvaiyar I lived during the Sangam period and extolled the generosity of Paari and Athiyaman among her 59 poems in the Sangam literature.

Avvaiyar II lived during the period of Kambar and Ottakoothar during the reign of the Kulothunga Chola III. She wrote Aathichudi, Kondraivendan, Moodurai and Nalvazhi, that remain very popular even now and are inculcated in school textbooks in Tamil Nadu.

Auvaiyar III is said to have written Vinayakar Agaval of 72 lines in praise of Lord Ganapathy and Auvai KuraL, comprising 310 stanzas of theosophical aphorisms. ]

Study of literature helps us mould our character.  Themes such as valour and love, nobility of conduct and spirit of sacrifice, abound in Tamil literature. Moreover, classic poets have a brevity and forcefulness of expression, combined with a wealth of striking similes which make even didactic literature, works of real art and beauty.

By considering universally acceptable values in just one line Auvaiyar even excelled  Thiruvalluvar's brevity* and succeeded in making them stay in memory for the rest of one's life... She directed her moral instructions at children who have open minds and are very receptive.
The following quotes from Auvaiyar’s book Aathichoodi, illustrate the simplicity of her style and profoundness of her message:

Alphabet Aphorisms
அறம் செய விரும்பு
 Desire to do virtuous things
ஆறுவது சினம்
 Mitigate anger
இயல்வது கரவேல்
 Don’t hide what you can give
ஈவது விலக்கேல்
 Never refrain from charity
உடையது விளம்பேல்
 Don’t boast about what you have
ஊக்கமது கைவிடேல்
 Don’t give up  enthusiasm
எண் எழுத்து இகழேல்
 Don’t despise learning
ஏற்பது இகழ்ச்சி
 Begging is despicable
ஐயமிட்டு உண்
 Feed the hungry; then eat
ஒப்புர வொழுகு
 Live in harmony with the world
ஓதுவது ஒழியேல்
Don’t give up study of scriptures
ஒளவியம் பேசேல்
Don’t talk bad about others

*I cite below just two examples from Auvaiyar's Kondrai Vendan, with similar stanzas from Thiruvalluvar's Thirukkural, to illustrate the brevity and forcefulness of  expression of Auvaiyar:

Auvaiyar:       "மருந்தே ஆயினும் விருந்தோடு உண் "   
                    [Even if it is nector, eat with your guests. K 70]

Thiruvalluvar:  "விருந்து புறத்ததாத் தானுண்டல் சாவா
                             மருந்தெனினும் வேண்டற் பாற்றன்று "  
T 82

Auvaiyar:      "எண்ணும் எழுத்தும் கண் எனத் தகும் "
                    [Numbers and letters are like two eyes for human beings.  K 7 ]

Thiruvalluvar: "எண் என்ப ஏனை எழுத்து என்ப இவ்விரண்டும் 
                              கண் என்ப வாழும் உயிர்க்கு " T 392

                 Note:   K: Kondrai Vendan   T: ThirukkuraL

Sunday 19 May 2013


2013-16  James Allen: Above Life's Turmoil

The lessons I learnt from James Allen's "Above Life's Turmoil" :

We cannot alter external things,
nor shape other people to our liking,
nor mould the world to our wishes.
But we can alter our desires, passions, thoughts,
we can shape our liking to other people, and
we can mould the inner world of our own mind
in accordance with wisdom, and
so reconcile it to the outer world of men and things

The turmoil of the world, we cannot avoid.
But the disturbances of mind, we can overcome.
The duties and difficulties of life claim our attention.
But we can rise above all anxiety concerning them.

Surrounded by noise, we can yet have a quiet mind.
Involved in responsibilities, the heart can be at rest.
In the midst of strife, we can know the abiding peace.

True Happiness

He who is daily living in goodwill, and does not depart from happiness, is day by day increasing the sum of the world's happiness. He who has not learnt how to be gentle, or giving, loving and happy,  has learnt very little, great though his book-learning and profound his acquaintance with the scriptures, for it is in the process of becoming gentle, pure, and happy that the deep, real and enduring lessons of life are learnt.

Despondency, irritability, anxiety, complaining, condemning and grumbling - all these are mind-diseases; they are the indications of a wrong mental condition, and those who suffer therefrom would do well to remedy their thinking and conduct. It is our cheerfulness and happiness that are needed. We can give nothing better to the world than beauty of life and character; this is enduring, real, and it includes all joy and blessedness.

Cease to dwell pessimistically upon the wrongs around you; dwell no more in complaints about, and revolt against, the evil in others, and commence to live free from all wrong and evil yourself.

If you would have others true, be true; if you would have the world emancipated from misery and sin, emancipate yourself; if you would have your home and your surroundings happy, be happy. You can transform everything around you if you will transform yourself!

I learnt the art of living from James Allen.   Why not you , too?

Sunday 12 May 2013


2013-15  James Allen: As A Man Thinketh 

[I read James Allen's As A Man Thinketh for the first time in Dale Carnegie's Public Speaking Original Edition as Appendix 3!  It was a revelation!   In due course, I got James Allen's Complete Works.  You will also be tempted to study by titles such as Above LIfe's TurmoilByways of Blessedness, From Poverty to Power!]

"As a man thinketh in his heart so is he." A man is literally what he thinks.  His character is the complete sum of all his thoughts. By the right choice and true application of thought, man ascends to the Divine Perfection.

MAN'S mind is like a garden. It may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild.  If no useful seeds are put into it, then an abundance of useless weed-seeds will fall therein, and will continue to produce their kind.

Just as a gardener cultivates his plot, keeping it free from weeds, and growing the flowers and fruits which he requires, so may a man tend the garden of his mind, weeding out all the wrong, useless, and impure thoughts, and cultivating toward perfection the flowers and fruits of right, useful, and pure thoughts.

That circumstances grow out of thought every man knows who has for any length of time practised self-control and self-purification, for he will have noticed that the alteration in his circumstances has been in exact ratio with his altered mental condition. So true is this that when a man earnestly applies himself to remedy the defects in his character, and makes swift and marked progress, he passes rapidly through a succession of vicissitudes.

The soul attracts that which it secretly harbours; that which it loves, and also that which it fears; it reaches the height of its cherished aspirations; it falls to the level of its unchastened desires,—and circumstances are the means by which the soul receives its own.

Every thought-seed sown or allowed to fall into the mind, and to take root there, produces its own, blossoming sooner or later into act, and bearing its own fruitage of opportunity and circumstance. Good thoughts bear good fruit, bad thoughts bad fruit.

The outer world of circumstance shapes itself to the inner world of thought, and both pleasant and unpleasant external conditions are factors, which make for the ultimate good of the individual. As the reaper of his own harvest, man learns both by suffering and bliss.

Circumstance does not make the man; it reveals him to himself No such conditions can exist as descending into vice and its attendant sufferings apart from vicious inclinations, or ascending into virtue and its pure happiness without the continued cultivation of virtuous aspirations; and man, therefore, as the lord and master of thought, is the maker of himself the shaper and author of environment. .

Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound. The man who does not shrink from self-crucifixion can never fail to accomplish the object upon which his heart is set. This is as true of earthly as of heavenly things. Even the man whose sole object is to acquire wealth must be prepared to make great personal sacrifices before he can accomplish his object; and how much more so he who would realize a strong and well-poised life?

Good thoughts and actions can never produce bad results; bad thoughts and actions can never produce good results. This is but saying that nothing can come from corn but corn, nothing from nettles but nettles.

A man only begins to be a man when he ceases to whine and revile, and commences to search for the hidden justice which regulates his life. And as he adapts his mind to that regulating factor, he ceases to accuse others as the cause of his condition, and builds himself up in strong and noble thoughts; ceases to kick against circumstances, but begins to use them as aids to his more rapid progress, and as a means of discovering the hidden powers and possibilities within himself.

Law, not confusion, is the dominating principle in the universe; justice, not injustice, is the soul and substance of life; and righteousness, not corruption, is the moulding and moving force in the spiritual government of the world. This being so, man has but to right himself to find that the universe is right; and during the process of putting himself right he will find that as he alters his thoughts towards things and other people, things and other people will alter towards him.

Let a man radically alter his thoughts, and he will be astonished at the rapid transformation it will effect in the material conditions of his life

Let a man cease from his sinful thoughts, and all the world will soften towards him, and be ready to help him; let him put away his weakly and sickly thoughts, and lo, opportunities will spring up on every hand to aid his strong resolves; let him encourage good thoughts, and no hard fate shall bind him down to wretchedness and shame. The world is your kaleidoscope, and the varying combinations of colours, which at every succeeding moment it presents to you are the exquisitely adjusted pictures of your ever-moving thoughts.


"As A Man Thinketh" by James Allen narrated by Earl Nightingale:

James Allen [Complete Works] Free Library: [Click Here]


Sunday 5 May 2013


2013-13 O.S.Marden - Create Opportunities

[I studied Orison Swett Marden's Inspirational Series in my 30's.  After 40 years, today I could download the book Pushing to the Front which was one of my favourites, from  I share with you now, the anecdote of Antonio Canova from pp 5-6.  The book is studded with many such gems.]

A large company had been invited to a banquet, and just before the hour, the confectioner, who had been making a large ornament for the table, sent word that he had spoiled the piece.

"If you will let me try, I think I can make something that will do," said a boy who had been employed as a scullion at the mansion of Signor Faliero, the host.

"You!" exclaimed the head servant, in astonishment: "and who are you?
"I am Antonio Canova, the grandson of Pisano, the stone-cutter," replied the little fellow.

"And pray, what can you do?" asked the major domo.
"I can make you something that will do for the middle of the table, if you'll let me try."

The servant was at his wits end, so he told Antonio to go ahead and see what he could do. Calling for some butter, the scullion quickly molded a large crouching lion, which the admiring major-domo placed upon the table.

Dinner was announced, and many of the most noted merchants, princes, and noblemen of Venice were ushered into the dining-room Among them were skilled critics of art work When their eyes fell upon the butter lion, they forgot the purpose for which they had come in their wonder at such a work of genius.

They looked at the lion long and carefully, and asked Signor Faliero what great sculptor had been persuaded to waste his skill upon such a temporary material. Faliero could not tell; so he asked the head servant, who brought Antonio before the company.

When the distinguished guests learned that the lion had been made in a short time by a scullion, the dinner was turned into a feast in his honor. The rich host declared that he would pay the boy's expenses under the best masters, and he kept his word.

Antonio was not spoiled by his good fortune, but remained at heart the same simple, earnest, faithful boy who had tried so hard to become a good stone-cutter in the shop of Pisano. Some may not have heard how the boy Antonio took advantage of this first great opportunity; but all know of Canova, one of the greatest sculptors of all time.

Weak men wait for opportunities, strong men make them.  History furnishes thousands of examples of men who have seized occasions to accomplish results deemed impossible by those less resolute. Prompt decision and whole-hearted action sweep the world before them. 

Are we going to be weak or strong? Surely, STRONG! So, let us not wait for extraordinary opportunities, but seize common occasions and make them great!