Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sound of silence

A good machine in perfect working condition avoids friction and makes minimum noise. You may observe that the same rule applies to human beings too. A loose tongue is one of the greatest curses. Silence has a wonderful creative power. Make a study of the lives of great men. They conceive of an idea but they do not go out and shout it before the world; they think and work quietly until they realise their dream. Because in silence we are able to think better and we are able to express our ideas through our actions more effectively.

To do our best we need to order our mind, gather up its scattered forces and establish equilibrium. We cannot do this unless we withdraw at intervals from the haste and noise of outer occupations. Silence enables us to store up a great deal of lifeforce which now we spend unwisely in needless talking. We wear ourselves out, disturb others and say much which might better be left unsaid. When we talk constantly we also dull the mind and lessen its power of penetration.

Dionysius the Elder said, "Let thy speech be better than silence, or be silent". When we live on the surface level we argue and dispute and challenge others who differ from us; but when we come in contact with something deeper, we go silent and do not try to force it on other minds. We try to live it. And when we do, it inevitably reaches other lives.

All great ideas and deeper understanding unfold in the hours of silent reflection. When our ears are listening to the loud voices of the world and when we are talking constantly, we cannot know that another voice is speaking in our heart. It is only in the moment of silence we hear the voice.

The practice of physical silence restores the power of our body and sense organs. The practice of mental silence through meditation refreshes the mind and sharpens the faculties. The power gained thus is tremendous. A moment of silence before each task enables us to maintain our balance. If we learn to bring ourselves to a state of absolute stillness, checking all unnecessary use of energy the body is refreshed. This reacts on the mind, makes it alert and free. That is why great things are always done silently.

There is nothing which can rest us more quickly than the experience of silence. When all is still, when our thoughts are quieted down and our entire nervous system is in order, when we have nothing against anyone and our mind is calm and poised, then in the inner depth of stillness we find eternal bliss.

If we can form the habit of devoting a certain time to silent relaxation, it will have a very definite beneficial effect upon both our physical and mental being. So every morning and night reserve some time to experience silence. Silence is a precious commodity in this noisy modern society. In a world that is gone more than slightly mad, finding your core of silence is like recapturing the fort of sanity and peace.

(Pubished in The Hindu 15-07-2000)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


For many years every one knew that running a mile in less than 4 minutes was impossible . Articles published in journals of physiology ‘proved beyond doubt’ that the human body couldn’t do it. Then on May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister broke the four mile barrier and achieved this long sought dream of the athletic world.

He learned to break a big goal into little ones. He trained himself to think of the four quarters in the mile separately. Each time he aimed to run the quarter in 58 seconds or less. He ran to the point of collapse. Then he would rest. He would dash another quarter mile. Each time the point of collapse was pushed back a little. When he finally ran his great race it was in 3 minutes 59.6 seconds. In next four years the feat was performed 46 times by himself and many others.

So never judge what you can do by any precedent. Because man’s capacities are unlimited and so little has been tried. According to scientists, a bumblebee’s body is too heavy and its wing span too small. Aerodynamically the bumblebee cannot fly. But the bumblebee doesn’t know that and it keeps flying. When you don’t know your limitations, you try wonderful things and surprise yourself. In fact the only limitations a person has are those that are self imposed.

Human nature is not a machine to be built after a model and set to do within limit prescribed for it, but a giant tree which requires to grow and develop itself according to the tendency of the inward forces.

Cherish your dreams and visions as they are the blueprints of your ultimate achievements. Success consists of a series of little daily efforts. Do everything with feeling and enthusiasm. Do them to the best of your ability. Always push yourself a little beyond your limit. Trying is the key word. Improvement comes if you try and if you correct your next performance by what you learned from the trials. In your journey there will many roadblocks. Every achiever has had them. But don’t let the obstacles to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it or work around it. Always remember that circumstances can only affect you as far as you allow them to do so. If God wants you to do something and if you are willing to work hard on it, whole world cannot stop you from achieving it.


Sunday, March 14, 2010


When the task is great, individuals think they are insignificant for the task. They do not seem to be a match for the task. When the thought makes a mark in their heart, they simply quit. They stop even trying. For them the following little story may be a real eye opener.


“Tell me the weight of a snowflake,” a coal-mouse asked a wild dove.

“Nothing more than nothing,” was the answer.

“In that case I must tell you a marvelous story,” the coal mouse said.

“I sat on a branch of a fir tree, close to its trunk, when i began to snow, not heavily, not in a giant blizzard, no, just like in a dream, without any violence. Since I didn’t have anything better to do, I counted the snowflakes settling on the twigs and needles of my branch. Their number was exactly 3,741,952. When the next snowflake dropped onto the branch – nothing more than nothing, as you say – the branch broke off.”

Having said that, the coal-mouse flew away. The dove, since Noah’s time an authority on change, thought about the story for a while and finally said to herself: “Perhaps there is only one person’s voice lacking for peace to come about in the world”

- excerpted from "The At of Forgiveness, Loving kindness, and Peace" by Jack Kornfield

Friday, March 5, 2010

Oh God…..

A wise man said "Borrow money from pessimists-they don't expect it back.”. Oh God, Please show me such rich pessimists, if they exist.

By the time I can make ends meet, you always move both the ends. Oh God, please stop playing the game with me and try the game with my neighbour, for a change.

Whenever I make a mistake everyone notice it immediately without any help. And they take trouble to inform the whole world. But if I do a right thing no one notices. Even if I take pains to inform them they simply stare at me or nod as if it is insignificant. Oh God, may people be fair enough to ignore my mistakes and shortcomings immediately, realize my virtues and proclaim them to the world!

Oh God, save me from bores, who goes on talking when I want them to listen to my own stories.

Oh God, don’t send me both kind of calamities-misfortune to me and good fortune to my colleague.

Why can’t the youngsters notice that I have stopped aging after 29 years and address me “uncle?” Oh God, please change their unbearable manners and have consideration for my feelings.

After we prove to our bankers we have surplus money by producing our balance sheet and other financial details, they are ready to give us loan. What’s the point in lending money to people with surplus funds and not to poor souls like me? Oh God, can’t you enlighten the bankers?

Why do banks charge for returning our cheques for "insufficient funds" when they already know we don't have any money? Oh God, why do they burden more poor fellows?

We know what is in moon and mars. We know beforehand when celestial events are going to take place. But we are unable to know beforehand when our fellow people are going to spit on the streets. Oh God, give me the power to know beforehand and I’ll walk or ride on streets without perpetual terror.

I want to prove the wise saying “Money cannot buy happiness”. Oh God, entrust the noble task to me and give me a lot of money to start proving it.

- N.Ganeshan