More so now than ever

“You are enchanting – more so now than ever, flushed as you are with anger.”

Kacha says this to Devayani while declining her proposal for marriage, for he believes that by bringing him back to life, Sukracharya is now his parent and it is against nature for a brother to wed his own sister.

(Mahabharata by C. Rajagopalachari – p.31)

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Of wine and virtue

“Virtue will desert the man who through lack of wisdom drinks wine. He will be an object of scorn to all. This is my message to humanity, which should be regarded as an imperative scriptural injunction.”

The Asuras would have killed Sukracharya’s disciple Kacha, burnt his body and mixed his ashes in wine and offered it to Sukracharya, in an attempt to dissuade Sukracharya from reviving Kacha from death. Sukracharya angry at the deceit played upon him by the Asuras, utters the above words.

(Mahabharata by C. Rajagopalachari – p.30)

You had better be running!

lionhunt_diaz_ts

“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up.
It knows that it must run faster than the fastest lion,
Or it will be killed”

“Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up.
It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle
Or it will starve to death”

It does not matter whether you are a gazelle or a lion,
When the sun comes up in the morning,
You had better be running!

– Anonymous

Smile For You!

Years ago, when a friend of mine graduated from his school, he was presented with a plastic file containing 16 printed pages with this cover:

taolife-a-smile-for-you

It was a collection of articles, poems and parables that had instantly caught my attention. So, I had kept a copy of them with me. And while cleaning my bookshelves, I was delighted to find it again. I plan to digitize the content on my blog over time. You can find all the content from that collection tagged as: smile-for-you

Criticism – Give as little as possible

Recently, I stumbled upon a site – BrainPickings – which publishes highly thought-provoking articles in the writing, philosophy, history, art and creativity space. (I recommend bookmarking or subscribing if any of these topics interest you).

I know I have been away from my blog for quite a while – almost close to two years. And it already shows in how sluggish are the thoughts that are forming in my head. So many ideas, thoughts and drafts get lost in the wind before they can become words… but before you criticize me for being away for so long, read below. 🙂

Criticism is one such “commodity” that people are always most generous when giving. Nobody likes to take it. Therefore, more often than not, people spend a lot of time and energy to criticize, which goes to a waste (even if their intentions are in the right place).

Maria wrote about Daniel Dennet‘s views on criticizing with kindness on BrainPickings. Dennet says, to compose a successful critical commentary:

  1. You should attempt to re-express your target’s position so clearly, vividly, and fairly that your target says, “Thanks, I wish I’d thought of putting it that way.
  2. You should list any points of agreement (especially if they are not matters of general or widespread agreement).
  3. You should mention anything you have learned from your target.
  4. Only then are you permitted to say so much as a word of rebuttal or criticism.

While these are excellent points, I presume there needs be another “guideline” – the zero-th rule:

0. You should try to find out if you have a reputation strong enough with the subject that allows for your criticism to be taken constructively. If not, whatever you say will be added as noise to the already-noisy world we live in.

Thus, when criticizing, give as little as possible; or none at all.