Tag Archives: Albert Schweitzer

Quotations: Think!

Quotations: Think!

26th October 2018

From the lecture of Suki Sivam about “Thiruvasagam”

Timestamp: 28:00 min (There are several versions of this speech, so the timestamp may differ from the speech in my version)

I heard this anecdote in the devotional lectures of Suki Sivam Aiya. Since this describes optimally the behavior of even a few powerful investors or capitalists. I will write down this anecdote, with the intention of avoiding such fault behavior for the future. This speech is about Manikkavacakar, a Shiva worshiper, and the author of Thiruvasagam, who was appointed as minister through his intellectual talent by the king of that time.

Apropos, Thiruvasagam was first translated from Tamil into English by George Uglow Pope, a missionary who was sent to India. He also translated many other significant Tamil works.

Mr. Suki Sivam Aiya begins the anecdote as follows. In the early days it was usual that the Ministers of the Kings were chosen only by their qualifications and not because their ancestor had previously occupied this post. However, the tradition of the Kings only allows that only direct descendants, children or grandchildren of the king can ascend the king’s throne. Here the qualification plays a subordinate role. As the inheritance tradition also allows unqualified children to ascend the throne, the post of a minister was very important. If both levels that is that of the king and that of the minister are unqualified, then the subjects suffer, i.e. the folk or grass roots. This applies not only to those times, also to the present time. These are the investors or capitalist of the donkey drivers and the donkeys. In our day and age, there are also states where it is even seen as a model state of democracy but is still governed by unqualified. In the free economy and also in other fields it doesn’t look much better. This approach or behaviour is called cronyism or nepotism.

Now to the actual anecdote, which is from the collections of the Vaishnava literatures:

A king who is not worthy of a king, because of his intellect, gets a case over which he must judge. The case is presented by the wife of the thief to the king. She accuses the owner of a house where the thief wanted to commit the crime and was killed by a tragic accident. The walls of the house were moist and thus unstable, so that it collapsed by climbing and buried the thief underneath.

(Attention: In the German jurisdiction, there are also still legal possibilities like this, where a thief can claim compensation from the real victims. I think, that the German StVO, i.e. German road traffic act also contains such paragraphs, which I will not explain in detail here.)

After a brief discussion with his minister, the King orders the owner of the house to report to the court and so the owner also comes to the court. Since the owner knows about the qualities of the jurisdiction of the King and the minister, he knows that he will only get away if another man holds his head for him. So, he accuses the contractor and the contractor is also invited. In this way the accusations were always passed on to others until it came to the potter. The scale-giving pot with which the water is measured for the mixing of the bricks deviated from the normal standard dimensions. The potter, in turn, argued that he was distracted by a beautiful woman who always walked up and down the street and therefore he did not respect the quality requirements of his scale-giving pot. The beautiful woman was also invited to the court. She justified her going up and down with the fact that she had given her clothes to the textile cleaner, which she absolutely needs for a dance appearance, but the textile cleaner always sent her away, because he had not washed her clothes yet, and so the textile cleaner also came to the court. He in turn accused a very wise ascetic, who cannot speak to anyone by his fasting of silence (vow of silence). This ascetic meditated on the stone used by the textile cleaner to clean the clothes, and so the ascetic was also invited to the court. When the ascetic came to the court, the King said that he was guilty of the death of the thief, and if he agrees it. As the ascetic unfortunately could not speak by his fasting, the king and the Minister interpreted it as an agreement of the misconduct and so the judgement was proclaimed. He was to be executed the next morning by hanging.

A spectator of the court in the royal house who knew about the wisdom of the ascetics and did not want to tolerate it further, stood on and asked to speak to the king. The king allowed him to speak and so the spectator and resident of the country governed by the king asked when the accused should be hanged. The King then replied, “Tomorrow at 10:10 a.m., he will hang.” Then the spectator pleased the king to hang him at that time. The king wondered, “Why should I hang you? I am a very righteous king, I cannot punish innocents.” Thereupon the spectator: “To me, an astrologer said, if one hanged at this time of day (10:10 a.m.), then one will become the king of one of the paradisal Deva-Loghas (one of the planets of the Devas is the planet Mars).” Thereupon the king to the bailiff: “Let the punishment for the ascetics fall. Hang me at that time. I now want to be the king of one of the Deva-Loghas.” Thereupon the spectator: “Please hang me at least at 10:15 a.m., then I can at least be the minister of one of the Deva-Loghas you are going to govern.” Thereupon the King: “No, that’s not possible at all. You are not worthy to be my minister.” And so, the king ordered his bailiff to hang his minister at 10:15 a.m. after he was hanged at 10:10 a.m. And so, the next day, by hanging of the two unqualified, the whole nation was relieved from further infamous action.

What does this anecdote really want to say? If unqualified people are sitting at important switching centres, then the whole system is destined for damnation sooner or later. I am only surprised, though so many good literatures are existing in different languages and cultures for the mankind, most of which have already gone, could not profit from it.

25th June 2017

From the film Thanga Pathakkam

This is a scene from a Tamil movie Thanga Pathakkam at time code 02:11:50. A father-in-law is telling this story (Parables of Jesus) to his son-in-law to bring him to sense:

A sheep has fallen into the water. One who sees this jump in to the water to save the animal. After a while his friend shout from the shore: Let that animal go before you go down. The other one says, I’ve already let it go, but it does not let me go. It’s not a sheep, it’s a grizzly bear.

The father-in-law says: “With bad things or evil, it is the same in life. We touch it first and later we cannot get rid of it.”

From the film Vedham Pudhithu

Prehistory in film:
A man who has a high reputation in his village lose his only child and adopts a Brahmin* child who also lost his only remaining parent in that accident. He tells that boy an anecdote while he carries him on his shoulders over the shallow river.

The reason why the man is telling this anecdote is, that the child wants to study the knowledge of the Brahmins like his biological father, but the society of the Brahmins unfortunately refuses this. They see in that boy the personification of disaster because the mother of him died shortly after his birth. The elder sister, who had raised him up, also been missing shortly before his father’s death, and was therefore believed to be also dead. The following anecdote (Time code: 01:47:00): A Brahmin wants to cross a river and therefore get into a ferryboat steered by an uneducated. [In rural areas, the infrastructure is bad and not everywhere are bridges. Mostly a small ferry is usually used for the crossing]. During the travel the Brahmin asks the ferryman if he knows the Ramayana. The ferryman responds, “No sir, I do not know this.” Then the Brahmin answer: “You have lost ten years of your life.” After a while, the Brahmin asks again: “Do you at least know the Mahabharata?” The ferryman replies, “No sir. I don’t know this too.” Then the Brahmin: “You have lost twenty years of your life.” After a while the Brahmin ask him: “At least the essence of the Gita – do you know that?” Then the ferryman: “No sir, I do not know this too.” Then the Brahmin: “You have lost thirty years of your life.”

The boat is now in the middle of the river and begins to rock through the strong current and gets a crack. The ferryman now asks the Brahmin: “Sir, can you swim?” Then the Brahmin answers: “No, I can’t swim.” The ferryman replies, “You have lost your whole life sir.”

The adoptive father ends the anecdote and tells the boy that each person should acquire the necessary knowledge for the first time.

* A Brahmin is a person male or female, who deals with the knowledge of Brahmam (≈ soul) [பிரம்மம்]. Brahmam can be translated with soul, but the word “Brahmam” in Tamil and Sanskrit is more powerful – it has several meanings. The original definition does not refer to the caste system as it was created by the society! There are similar social forms in Western and other cultures. Persons of special professions who consider themselves to be elitists.

Albert Schweitzer (1875 – 1965), doctor, philosophe and theologian

  1. Who thinks that he / she is a Christian* because he / she goes to the church is a mistake. You will not be a car if you go into a garage. * Refers not only to Christians. The word “Christian” can be substituted with every religious affiliation
  2. We live in a dangerous era. The mankind controls the nature before they had learned to control themself.

22nd April 2017

  • Mathematics is the alphabet in which God has written the universe. Galileo Galilei (1564-1652), philosopher, mathematician, physicist and astronomer
  • The deeper you penetrate, the more you realize that matter is just energy, about its origin you can’t say anything. Max Planck (1858-1947), German physicist, founder of quantum theory
  • I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We can’t get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness. Max Planck (1858-1947), German physicist, founder of quantum theory → Who can understand this is closer to understand what Atman is.
  • I have never denied the existence of God. I believe that evolutionary theory is conciliatory with believing in God. The impossibility of proving and understanding that the universe and the mankind has become accidental seems to me the chief argument for the existence of God. Charles Darwin (1809-1882), English natural scientist, founder of evolutionary theory → At this point, I would like to consider the quote by Albert Einstein:
    God does not roll dice! (→ Gaussian bell 😉 [Update: 31st May 2018, 08:21 AM])

16th April 2017

  • The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you. Werner Heisenberg (1901-1976), German physicist
  • Both religion and science require a belief in God. For believers, God is in the beginning, and for physicists He is at the end of all considerations… To the former He is the foundation, to the latter, the crown of the edifice of every generalized world view. Max Planck (1858-1947), German physicist, Founder of quantum theory
  • Without any doubt, this world, as we know it, with all its variety of forms and movements, could arise only from nothing else but from the absolute and free will of God, who rules and governs all things. Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727), British physicist, mathematician und astronomer
Those people who keep the cleaning procedure in the final phase of the Kali-Yuga for scientific magic - those can never be helped!