Invictus by  William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Work, Love, Skills and Earth

Sigmund Freud, the famous psycho-analyst, proposed that work and love give stability and meaning to our minds. I read an interesting extension to this in Parallel Worlds by Michio Kaku.

Work because it helps give us a ‘sense of responsibility and purpose, a concrete focus on our labours and dreams’ (from Parallel Worlds by Michio Kaku).

Love because it puts us within ‘the fabric of society’ and ‘gives us roots’. Without it we become ‘drifters in our own land, unattached to the concerns of others’ (from Parallel Worlds by Michio Kaku).

Michio Kaku proposes two other things that can give ‘stability and meaning’ to our minds.

Developing our skills for the benefit of society in general. To achieve our maximum potential. Everyone has problems but we all have certain skills which can be developed to overcome those problems.

Improve the world around us, do something for the benefit of mankind in general. Clean up our neighbourhood, help someone in need or just be kind to someone.

Quotes from Journey to the West – Part II

First part of this post can be found here.

Journey to the West is a Chinese classic. It is an epic (fictional) story about how Buddhist teachings were brought to China.

The English Language version (Chinese Foreign Languages Press edition translated by W.J. F. Jenner) is full of amazing quotes. I will be posting my favourite ones here.

Quote 5: Chapter 59

“The traveller feels lonely on the road;

Monastic robes do not keep out the cold”

 Quote 6: Chapter 60

“Don’t push around your best friend’s wife;

Don’t try to destroy the joy of his life”

Quote 7: Chapter 67

“There is an old saying that persimmon trees have seven perfections:

1. They prolong life.

2. They are very shady.

3. No birds nest in them.

4. They are free of insects.

5. Their leaves are beautiful after frost.

6. The fruit is excellent.

7. The branches and leaves are big and fat.”

Quote 8: Chapter 70

“By being too clever one becomes a fool;

What was once a joke can turn out to be real”

Quote 9: Chapter 73

“You are never poor if you are at home;

but poverty on a journey is killing”

Quote 10: Chapter 73

“Weeping eyes meeting weeping eyes;

One broken heart coming across another”

Quote 11: Chapter 73

“While good deeds stay at home;

Bad deeds are known far and wide”

Quote 12: Chapter 77

“No thread can be spun from a single strand;

Nobody can clap with a single hand”

Quote 13: Chapter 80

“A mountain can’t stop the road; it can find its own way across”

Quote 14: Chapter 80

“Do not fail to do a good deed because it is small;

do not commit a bad deed because it is small”

Quotes from Journey to the West

Journey to the West is a Chinese classic. It is an epic (fictional) story about how Buddhist teachings were brought to China.

The English Language version (Chinese Foreign Languages Press edition translated by W.J. F. Jenner) is full of amazing quotes. I will be posting my favourite ones here.

Quote 1: Chapter 26

“If you don’t fight, you can’t make friends”

Quote 2: Chapter 31

“If a man has been your teacher for a day, you should treat him as your father for the rest of his life”

Quote 3: Chapter 33

“A tall tree invites the wind; The wind then shakes the tree;

Whoever strives for fame; destroyed by fame is he”

Quote 4: Chapter 44

“In the dust under one’s eyes are three thousand worlds”

Achieving Greatness

The Tao-te Ching is fundamental to the Taoist school of philosophy. It is a gift to the world from ancient China.

About achieving greatness it says the following:

Plan for what is difficult while it is easy, do what is great while it is small.

The most difficult things in the world must be done while they are still easy, the greatest things in the world must be done while they are still small.

For this reason sages never do what is great, and this is why they can achieve that greatness.

The above words written thousands of years ago still hold true. Keeping in shape is easier than loosing loads of weight. Saving early and regularly is easier than waiting for that one big injection of money!

Destroy everything you touch…

Destroy everything you touch today.
Destroy me this way.
Destroy everything you touch – Ladytron
This is the beauty of human nature. We destroy everything we touch and end up destroying ourselves in the process.
We attack both bad as well as good things. We attack terrorism as well as alcohol abuse. We also attack Mother Nature as well as our fellow human beings.
But with each attack we are slipping. With each step we are falling deeper.
Everything you touch you don’t feel.
Do not know what you steal.
Destroy everything you touch – Ladytron
We do not feel the pain of the tree we touch to uproot. We do not know that in stealing the life of a tree we are stealing a part of our own life.
Life is like an old Tom & Jerry cartoon where Tom thinks he got Jerry and is unaware of that big hammer or a pair of scissors heading his way. That is what Life is about. That is what we have made of it.

The Nose of Man!

“I must confess that I do not understand why things are so arranged, that women should seize us by the nose as deftly as they do the handle of a teapot. Either their hands are so constructed or else our noses are good for nothing else.”


How the two Ivans quarrelled by Nikolai Gogol

I guess women have always had this ability to lead men around with their noses like cattle!


“See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”

“See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” – Mahatma Gandhi

It is true that the impact of society is killing off these old concepts. If anyone lives by them they are thought to be idealistic. Day to day life is too tough to live by these concepts… or is it?

I think they are still valid today and that living by them has become even more important.

Speak no evil – in today’s world it means don’t spread rumors, don’t talk bad behind people’s back or create ill-will between people. Very easy to do in today’s age and very important as well! Why? Because most of the conflicts get more complicated when people do not think before they speak or think excessively before speaking.

Hear no evil – in today’s world it means to make up your own mind. Not to listen to things just because people are screaming them at you. If people come at you with an attitude of hate or anger, disregard it instead of replying. Be sure of yourself and your actions. Do not listen to people who preach hate and try to create divide. Remember the policy of divide and rule starts with hearing evil against yourself and the people around you.

See no evil – it means more than just closing your eyes to bad things. It means not tolerating bad things. If you see someone in trouble or something bad happening to them do not close your eyes… but go ahead and help them so that bad things are reduced in society.

The beauty of the saying is in the fact that it is quite subjective. Since bad/evil means different things to different people at different times. That is why, I say again, this saying remains valid even now.