Sunday, 25 January 2009

Interpretation of Vows or Pledges

"A few observations about the interpretation of vows or pledges may not be out of place here. Interpretation of pledges has been a fruitful source of strife all the world over. No matter how explicit the pledge, people will turn and twist the text to suit their own purposes. They are to be met with among all classes of society, from the rich down to the poor, from the prince down to the peasant. Selfishness turns them blind, and by a use of the ambiguous middle they deceive themselves and seek to deceive the world and God. One golden rule is to accept the interpretation honestly put on the pledge by the party administering it. Another is to accept the interpretation of the weaker party, where there are two interpretations possible. Rejection of these two rules gives rise to strife and iniquity which are, rooted in untruthfulness. He who seeks truth alone easily follows the golden rule. He need not seek learned advice for interpretation. My mother's interpretation of meat was, according to the golden rule, the only true one for me, and not the one my wider experience or my pride of better knowledge might have taught me..."

-Excerpt from My Experiments with the truth

Gandhi had pledged his mother not to consume meat under any circumstances. Inspite of that, during his stay in England, he managed to bend the pledge by consuming eggs and fish (justifying with some theories that they are not considered as meat). Later he realized the true meaning of the pledge he made and how vows or pledges can be bent to our desire . 

Friday, 16 January 2009


"When you look at what has to be done and what can be done, and then what you do, it looks so small. That keeps me going like an engine."

-Rahman after winning the Golden Globe

Sunday, 11 January 2009

On his Shyness

"I must say that, beyond occasionally exposing me to laughter, my constitutional shyness has been no disadvantage whatever. In fact I can see that, on the contrary, it has been all to my advantage. My hesitancy in speech, which was once an annoyance, is now a pleasure. Its greatest benefit has been that it has taught me the economy of words. I have naturally formed the habit of restraining my thoughts. And I can now give myself the certificate that the thoughtless word hardly ever escapes my tounge or pen. I do not recollect ever having had to regret anything in my speech or writing. I have thus been spared many a mishap and waste of time. Experience has taught me that silence is part of the spiritual discipline of a votary of truth. Proneness to exaggerate, to suppress or modify the truth, wittingly or unwittingly, is a natural weakness of man, and silence is necessary in order to surmount it. A man of few words will rarely be thoughtless in his speech; he will measure every word. We find so many impatient to talk. There is no chairman of a meeting who is not pestered with notes for permission to speak and whenever the permission is given, the speaker generally exits the time limit, asks for more time, and keeps on talking without permission. All this talking can hardly be, set to be of any benefit to the world. It is so much waste of time. My shyness has been in reality my sheet and buckler. It has allowed me to grow. It has helped me in my discernment of truth. ..."

Excerpt from My Experiments with Truth