Desiderata

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise…..and remember what peace there may be in silence…

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Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others; even the dull and ignorant, they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive him to be, and whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

 Found in Old St Paul’s Church. Baltimore, dated 1692

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Dont believe your own bull****

Constantly disturbed in his meditation by the noisy children in his neighbourhood, Muru came up with a ruse to get rid of them. `Go to the river at dusk and from the waters will rise a being of fire, from whose mouth flames will burst forth. This being will fulfill all your desires…’

The children, excited, ran back to their homes and told their parents about the being in the river and, not surprisingly, hordes of people were found vending their way towards the river in the evening. Muru himself was quite surprised when he saw the crowds.

`Where are you going?’ Muru asked one of them.

`There is a creature in the river, he comes out at dusk and it is said that he will grant all our desires,’ the villager replied. `Everyone is headed there. Why dont you come along too?’

Muru ran into his shack to pack his belongings and joined the hordes. `It is true,’ he reminded himself, `that I started this story, but who knows, it may be true.’

**Image

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An exclusive club

Walking down towards the river, Vyasa came upon a spider scurrying along in a rush.

`What’s the hurry?’ he asked the spider.

`Arjuna’s chariot is about to pass this way’, the spider replied. `If I am caught under its wheels, I’m done’.

Vyasa laughed at the spider. `No eye gets wet when you die, the world suffers no loss when you are killed,’ Vyasa informed him.

The spider was naturally upset. `You pompous man…..You feel that if you die, it will be a great loss, and you think that doesnt apply to me….Let me remind you–I too have a home, a wife and children…I too have hunger, thirst, joy, pain, I too feel the agony of separation and I too love life as much as you do…The world is as much in me as it is in you…’

For man and beast and insect and worm, these things are common, Vyasa reminded him. `But enquiry into the ultimate, yearning for beauty, truth and goodness, awareness of the underlying unity, these attributes of wisdom are the unique treasures of mankind’, he added and went ahead on his way.

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One size doesnt fit all

Rajan entered his guru’s room, bruised, bleeding, his shirt torn.

`What is the matter?’ the other disciples asked him. `What happened?’ his guru said, concerned about his student.

`Those men outside…they were speaking ill about you. I will not tolerate anybody speaking ill about you….so there was a fight…’

`You must learn to control your temper, Rajan….How does it matter what others say? Learn to be calm…..’

After Rajan was seated, another disciple, Prasanna, entered the room.

`Did you see some men outside speaking ill about me?’ the guru asked.

`Yes, master, but I just ignored them and came away.’

`What sort of disciple are you?…..People are running your teacher down and you did nothing to stop them…’ his guru admonished him. A shamefaced Prasanna went and took his seat in a corner.

Later, after the satsang was over, his disciple, Mumukshu, asked him, `Master, you told Rajan to learn to be calm and yet you tried to instigate Prasanna to fight….I don’t understand this.’

`The medicine has to suit the patient…..Rajan needs to learn to calm down, Prasanna has to learn to be less complacent, and so each was dispensed advice that suited their personalities.

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Point of view

In the course of her wanderings, Maya came upon a monk, Adhir, in the forest. He seemed upset and rather disturbed.

`What is the matter? Why are you weeping?’ she asked him.

`I am ruined, I am finished……,’ he moaned. `I have been meditating here under this tree for twenty-five years…..And, today, when I met my guru, I asked him how much longer it would take  to attain moksha….’

`And what was his reply?’ asked Maya.

Adhir broke down…`Another ten years…..Can you believe that?…I have to sit here for another ten years…’ he said, blinded with grief.

`Bless you,’ Maya said and walked on. After an hour she came upon another monk, Shreshtha. He was grinning from ear to ear, happy, almost ecstatic.

`And what makes you so happy?’ Maya asked.

`You wont believe it,’ he replied, smiling. `I have been sitting under this tree, meditating, for the last twenty-five years. Today I met my guru and asked him when I would attain moksha….’

`I can gather from your beaming face that his reply was encouraging’

`Most encouraging’, stated Shreshtha. `You know what he said?…..Only ten more lifetimes….Can you believe it? Only ten more lifetimes and I will be free…’

 `Bless you’, said Maya and continued on her travels.

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Native American Wisdom

Those that lie down with dogs get up with fleas–Blackfoot

The moon is not ashamed by the barking of dogs–Southwest

Make my enemy brave and strong so that if defeated, I will not be ashamed–Plains

If you chase two rabbits, you will lose them both.

The Great Spirit gave you two ears and only one mouth, so you can talk half as much as you listen.

If we wonder often, the gift of knowledge will come–ArapahoImage

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