2014.

Some people
Try to turn back their odometers.
Not me!
I want people to know why
I look this way.
I’ve traveled a long way
And some of the roads weren’t paved.

Please click on the image to get a larger resolution.

27000

Thank you Shiva and Jagan.  The high number of visits were due entirely to you.

What keeps me going in this blog is the comments that I received from my readers.  I am grateful to all of them for their support and encouragement and join WordPress in saying a big thank you to these five regulars.

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comments

Including this post, I have written 1898 posts.  Had I been a little more observant about my statistics, I would have certainly finished the year with a total of a round 1900. I will now aim to finish 2015 with a neat 2200 posts.

I wish all my readers a happy 2015.  May what you want the most be the least that you get. 

Eric The Half A Bee.

I dedicate this to the great Monty Python fan Nandu and to Ashok who knows why!

A one… two– A one… two… three… four…
Half a bee, philosophically,
Must, ipso facto, half not be.
But half the bee has got to be
Vis a vis, its entity. D’you see?

But can a bee be said to be
Or not to be an entire bee
When half the bee is not a bee
Due to some ancient injury?

Singing…

La dee dee, one two three,
Eric the half a bee.
A B C D E F G,
Eric the half a bee.

Is this wretched demi-bee,
Half-asleep upon my knee,
Some freak from a menagerie?
No! It’s Eric the half a bee!

Fiddle de dum, Fiddle de dee,
Eric the half a bee.
Ho ho ho, tee hee hee,
Eric the half a bee.

I love this hive, employee-ee,
Bisected accidentally,
One summer afternoon by me,
I love him carnally.

He loves him carnally,
Semi-carnally.
The end.

Cyril Connelly?
No; semi-carnally!
Oh.

Cyril Connelly.
[whistling]

Giving.

A story that many spiritual teachers use to illustrate the art/science of giving and also to illustrate how our ego works has once again been brought to my notice after many decades by a fellow spiritual traveler Geetha. This being the season for giving and receiving, I reproduce it below.

Once Krishna and Arjuna were walking towards a village. Arjuna was pestering Krishna, asking him why Karna should be considered a role model for all Danas (donations) and not himself. Krishna, wanting to teach him a lesson snapped his fingers. The mountains beside the path they were walking on turned into gold. Krishna said “Arjuna, distribute these two mountains of gold among the villagers, but you must donate every last bit of gold”. Arjuna went into the village, and proclaimed he was going to donate gold to every villager, and asked them to gather near the mountain. The villagers sang his praises and Arjuna walked towards the mountain with a huffed up chest. For two days and two continuous nights Arjuna shovelled gold from the mountain and donated to each villager. The mountains did not diminish in their slightest.

Most villagers came back and stood in queue within minutes. After a while, Arjuna, started feeling exhausted, but not ready to let go of his ego just yet, told Krishna he couldn’t go on any longer without rest. Krishna called Karna. “You must donate every last bit of this mountain, Karna” he told him. Karna called two villagers. “You see those two mountains?” Karna asked, “those two mountains of gold are yours to do with as you please” he said, and walked away.

Arjuna sat dumbfounded. Why hadn’t this thought occurred to him? Krishna smiled mischievously and told him “Arjuna, subconsciously, you yourself were attracted to the gold, you regretfully gave it away to each villager, giving them what you thought was a generous amount. Thus the size of your donation to each villager depended only on your imagination. Karna holds no such reservations. Look at him walking away after giving away a fortune, he doesn’t expect people to sing his praises, he doesn’t even care if people talk good or bad about him behind his back. That is the sign of a man already on the path of enlightenment”.

Duty.

duty

Does that need explanation? Obviously someone sleeping while on duty! Ah, to be able to do such a thing in real life and get away with it!

“…..the Epicurean or Stoic sage is someone who basically says to himself, ‘The less I get involved in all the complications of the world and leave the folly of men to unfold independently of myself, the more I’ll succeed in keeping out of harm’s way and won’t find myself mixed up in potentially disturbing trouble. At all costs, I must avoid convincing myself that I can change anything. The only thing I can change is the way I behave and think in the face of those circumstances. And the worst thing I can do is take up the causes or take sides in anything’.”
~ Jean-Francois Revel.

One of my friends is in a very difficult condition because of the shenanigans of his younger brother. The latter has been a vagabond and a waster and has caused my friend and the rest of his family a lot of problems financial, legal and moral.  My friend, being relatively well to do after a lifetime of struggle and hard work has helped him any number of times with the hope that it would be the last time and that the brother would change his ways.  Unfortunately, it has not worked out that way.  The brother is now in dire straits with nowhere to go to, his own immediate family having deserted him, in bad health and in financial troubles.  He is currently a resident of the city where I live whereas my friend is far away from here.  

Following the latest tryst with hospitalisation for some serious illness, the brother contacted my friend and requested that he be allowed to go and live with him. This is the most bizarre suggestion considering all that has happened. So my friend sought my advice on what can be done and I suggested that the brother be shifted to an old people’s home and if necessary, the expenses be borne by my friend. To keep a distance between the two I suggested that I look for places near where I live and I found some very suitable places at affordable cost and my friend offered the alternative to his brother. The brother has not accepted this offer and my friend is extremely disturbed because he feels obliged to look after his younger brother as he is duty bound whereas, I being a little detached suggest that he simply forget the matter till the next emergency, when we can again make this proposal to the by then hopefully amenable brother.

This strong sense of duty is something that we are all brainwashed into carrying and often end up performing at considerable personal discomfort and financial strain. I have personally experienced this as my regular and older readers well know, but while the process was going on, nothing could have stopped me from accepting the responsibility that I had taken over as a duty to be performed. I know others, some readers included who too have taken on familial responsibilities with a sense of duty to one’s family members, deserving or otherwise and have paid high prices in terms of emotional stress, financial loss and even physical harm.

On the other hand, I have personal experience of sacrificing to carry out a duty towards a loved one as I know others who have done so too, with highly satisfying feelings of worthiness and even joy that we were able to do something for those persons.

The difference between the two effects is in our approach to the duty as being performed as being towards one deserving or undeserving. Let us take the case of my friend and his brother. My friend considers that he is duty bound though his brother does not deserve any consideration, whereas, I, not being a blood relative, could afford to be like the Epicurean or Stoic sage and recommend a rather convenient though impersonal solution.

So, my submission is that performing one’s duty is per se not the great thing it is supposed to be, but out attitude towards it makes it a pleasurable or painful experience. So, how appropriate Revel’s observation about Epicureans and Stoics!

This topic was suggested by me for the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where currently eight of us write on the same topic every Friday.  I hope that you enjoyed my contribution to that effort.  The seven other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order,  AshokgaelikaaLin, Maxi, PadmumShackman and The Old Fossil. Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, or not at all this week, do give some allowance for that too!

 

Cliff Hanger.

Looney had this to say on my post It Is Sun Evening. “It isn’t often we have a good cliffhanger in the blogosphere.”

Which reminded me of these two great cartoon strips.  Please click on them to get larger versions.

Beetle1

And

Beetle 2

I am sure that there will be others among my readers who will agree with me that the second phenomenon happens to me.