Sunday 25 August 2013


2013-30  Inspirational Story:  When you have a lemon, make lemonade

Dale Carnegie: While writing the book "How to Stop Worrying", I dropped in one day at the University of Chicago and asked the Chancellor, Robert Maynard Hutchins, how he kept from worrying. He replied: "I have always tried to follow a bit of advice given me by the late Julius Rosenwald, President of Sears, Roebuck and Company: 'When you have a lemon, make lemonade.' "

That is what a great educator does. But the fool does the exact opposite. If he finds that life has handed him a lemon, he gives up and says: "I'm beaten. It is fate. I haven't got a chance." Then he proceeds to rail against the world and indulge in an orgy of self-pity. But when the wise man is handed a lemon, he says: "What lesson can I learn from this misfortune? How can I improve my situation? How can I turn this lemon into a lemonade?"

After spending a lifetime studying people and their hidden reserves of power, the great psychologist, Alfred Adler, declared that one of the wonder-filled characteristics of human beings is "their power to turn a minus into a plus."

Here is an interesting and stimulating story of a woman I know who did just that. Her name is Thelma Thompson, and she lives at 100 Morningside Drive, New York City. "During the war," she said, as she told me of her experience, "during the war, my husband was stationed at an Army training camp near the Mojave Desert, in New Mexico. I went to live there in order to be near him. I hated the place. I loathed it. I had never before been so miserable. My husband was ordered out on maneuvers in the Mojave Desert, and I was left in a tiny shack alone. The heat was unbearable-125 degrees in the shade of a cactus. Not a soul to talk to but Mexicans and Indians, and they couldn't speak English. The wind blew incessantly, and all the food I ate, and the very air I breathed, were filled with sand, sand, sand!

"I was so utterly wretched, so sorry for myself, that I wrote to my parents. I told them I was giving up and coming back home. I said I couldn't stand it one minute longer. I would rather be in jail! My father answered my letter with just two lines-two lines that will always sing in my memory-two lines that completely altered my life:

Two men looked out from prison bars,
One saw the mud, the other saw stars.

"I read those two lines over and over. I was ashamed of myself. I made up my mind I would find out what was good in my present situation. I would look for the stars.

"I made friends with the natives, and their reaction amazed me. When I showed interest in their weaving and pottery, they gave me presents of their favourite pieces which they had refused to sell to tourists. I studied the fascinating forms of the cactus and the yuccas and the Joshua trees. I learned about prairie dogs, watched for the desert sunsets, and hunted for seashells that had been left there millions of years ago when the sands of the desert had been an ocean floor.

"What brought about this astonishing change in me? The Mojave Desert hadn't changed. The Indians hadn't changed. But I had. I had changed my attitude of mind. And by doing so, I transformed a wretched experience into the most exciting adventure of my life. I was stimulated and excited by this new world that I had discovered. I was so excited I wrote a book about it-a novel that was published under the title Bright Ramparts. ... I had looked out of my self-created prison and found the stars."

Sunday 18 August 2013


2013-29  Inspirational Story:  The Cracked Pot

An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots, which she hung on the ends of a pole that she carried across her neck. Every day she would make the long walk to a stream to fetch water for her home. One of the pots was in perfect condition, and always delivered a full portion of water. The other pot had a crack in it, from which water leaked. As a result, by the time the woman returned home, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For two years the woman made her daily trek to the stream, each time returning with only one and a half pots of water. The perfect pot was proud of its condition and of what it could do. The cracked pot, however, was ashamed of its imperfection and of the fact that it could do only half of what it had been made for. One day, the cracked pot, overwhelmed by what it perceived to be its bitter failure, spoke to the woman at the stream.

“I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.” The old woman smiled at the pot and replied, “Have you noticed that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side? I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path. Every day, on our walk home, you water them. For two years now I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace our home.”

Each of us has our own crack, our own unique flaw. It’s these cracks and flaws that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding, and it’s often these cracks and flaws that enable us to do good. Accept people for what they are; look for the good in them and the good that they do. And don’t miss the flowers on your side of the path.

Sunday 11 August 2013


[The special feature of the third chapter Brugu Valli of the Taittriya Upanishad is the glorified conception of food for contemplation by any earnest aspirant of the ultimate Truth. Food which sustains the body should not be belittled . This is explained in the last four sections, namely 3.7 - 3.10]

Do not condemn [speak ill of]  food.  
[अन्नं न निन्ध्यात्  |                                                [3.7.1] 
Do not waste [cast away, reject] food.  
[अन्नं न परिचक्षीत  |                                                [3.8.1] 
Do produce food in abundance. 
[अन्नं बहु कुर्वीत  |                                                    [3.9.1] 
Do not refuse [food] to anyone at the house. 
[न कम् चन वसतौ प्रत्याचक्षीत  |                             [3.10.1] 
That should be observed as a pious rule.
तत्  व्रतम्  |    

Therefore a man should, by all righteous means [enjoined by the scriptures], acquire much food to be kept ready for guests.  If he gives food amply, food is given to him amply. If he gives food fairly, food is given to him fairly. If he gives food meanly, food is given to him meanly.

When guests come, not only should they be given shelter but also food.  Hence much food should be acquired for that purpose.  That is the Dharma of a house-holder.  The Sruthi enjoins that an inhospitable person is debarred from all good, both here and hereafter.

Whenever guests come to a wise man’s house, he never turns them away.  On the other hand, he always offers them food by saying that it is ready for them. This is the reason why much food should be acquired.

If food is prepared in the best manner and offered to the guests with courtesy and humility, the giver is blessed in return with ample food.

If food is prepared neither amply nor with care and if it is offered with vanity and reluctance, it is gift of medium value. And the giver gets only the merit of a medium kind and food accrues to him in a medium way.

When food is prepared meanly and offered with insult and disregard, the giver gets equally, a mean return of food.


Sunday 4 August 2013


2013-27 Taittriya Upanishad: Exhortation for Right Living

[Vedas are the most ancient literary monuments of the human race.  The subject of the Vedas is Supreme Knowledge; that is, Knowledge of the Eternal Reality behind the ever changing objective world of men and matter. Vedas have no authorship (apurusheya). Vedas were revealed to the Sages or Seers during the depth of their mediatation.  Upanishads are the most important parts of, and contain the quintessence of, the Vedas.

Taittriya Upanishad forms part of the Taittriya Aranyaka of the Krishna Yajur Veda.  It is divided into three parts starting with Siksha Valli.  The special feature of the Siksha Valli is that it contains the most beautiful and pithy address to the youth leaving the Gurukula.  This is analogous to the convocation address of the present-day universities.]

Exhortation for Right Living [Taittriya Upanishad - Siksha Valli - 1.11.1-4]

Having taught the Vedas, the teacher exhorts [instructs] the pupil:

Speak Satya [the Truth]. 
[सत्यं वद  ]  

Follow Dharma [the righteous principles] 
[धर्मं चर  ] 

Never swerve from the study of the Vedas. 
[स्वाध्यायात्  मा प्रमदः ]  

After offering the teacher the desired wealth
[आचार्याय  प्रियं  धनम्  आहृत्य ] 

[at the close of the studentship and remaining in family life] 
do not cut off the line of offsprings [children]. 
[प्रजातन्तुं  मा व्यवच्छेत्सीः ] 
Never swerve from Satya. 
[सत्यात्  न  प्रमदितव्यम्  ]

Never swerve from Dharma
[धर्मात्  न  प्रमदितव्यम्  ]

Never swerve from what is beneficial. 
[कुशलात न प्रमदितव्यम्  ]

Never swerve from prosperity. 
[भूत्यै न प्रमदितव्यम्  ]

Never swerve from learning and teaching. 
[स्वाध्यायप्रवचनाभ्यां न प्रमदितव्यम्  ] [1.11.1]

Never swerve from your duties to Gods and Ancestors. 
[ देव  पितृ  कार्याभ्यां  न प्रमदितव्यम्  ]

See your mother as God. 
[मातृ देवो भव  ]   

See your father as God. 
[पितृ देवो भव  ] 

See your teacher as God. 
[आचार्य देवो भव  ]  

See your guest as God. 
[अतिथि देवो भव  

Whatever actions that are blameless, those are to be performed, not others.

[ यानि  अनवध्यानि  कर्माणि  तानि  सेवितव्यानि  |  न उ  इतराणि  ]

Whatever actions among us that are praiseworthy they are to be embraced, not others. 
[ यानि अस्माकगं सुचरितानि  तानि  त्वया उपास्यानि  न उ  इतराणि  ]                      [1.11.2]

Wherever there are men of wisdom superior to us, offer them seats and remove their fatigue. [ ये के च अस्मत् श्रेयाम्सः ब्राह्मणाः  तेषां त्वया आसनेन प्रश्वसितव्यम्  | ]

Do not breathe a word in their presence [but hear them].  
[ आसने न प्रश्वसितव्यम्  | ]

[Whenever you give a gift,] 

Give with Sraddha [reverential faith]
 [श्रद्ध्या देयम्
Never give without Sraddha. 
[अश्रद्ध्या अदेयम्  ]  

Give according to your plenty
[श्रिया देयम्  ]

Give with meekness [modesty]; 
[ह्रिया देयम्  ]

Give with awe [fear of Dharma]; 
[भिया देयम्  ]

Give with understanding [of its need and usefulness]. 
[संविदा देयम्  ]                                                                                                                   [1.11.3]

If there should arise in you any doubt as regards any action [कर्म] or conduct [वृत्त ]then you should act in those matters as do the wise men there, who are impartial inexperienced, independent, kind at heart [not harsh] and devoted to Dharma.  

अथ  यदि ते कर्म  विचिकित्सा  वा   वृत्त   विचिकित्सा  वा स्यात्  ये  तत्र  ब्राह्मणाः  सम्मर्शिनः युक्ताः युक्ताः  अलूक्षाः  धर्म कामाः स्युः ।  यथा  ते  तत्र  वर्तेरन  तथा  तत्र  वरतेथाः  । 

Now, as regards dealing with persons of ill-fame, do you deal with them as do the wise men there, who are impartial in judgment, experienced, independent, kind at heart  and devoted to Dharma.  

अथ  अभ्याख्यातेषु  ये  तत्र  ब्राह्मणाः  सम्मर्शिनः युक्ताः युक्ताः  अलूक्षाः  धर्म कामाः स्युः ।  यथा  ते  तत्र  वर्तेरन  तथा  तत्र  वरतेथाः  । 

This is the injunction [rule].  
 एष आदेशः ]

This is the advice.
एष उपदेशः ] 

This is the secret meaning of the Vedas. 
 [ एष वेद उपनिषत् ]

This is the divine command.  
[ एतत् अनुशासनम् ] 

This should be observed. 
 [ येवं उपासितव्यम् ] 

Thus, indeed should this be observed. 
[ येवं उ च एतत् उपास्यम् ]  [1.11.4]