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Archive for January, 2012

One morning the Sultan of Shafood al-Marid was pacing along the marbled pathways of his pleasure garden. He admired it and said it only needed some warblers who accompanied him on either side. ‘I wish those birds were singing,’O sultan your majesty needs nothing more!’ Suddenly he corrected himself to say they could fan his cheeks cool while they serenaded him.
Unfortunately he heard some confusion at the pavilion of Cypress Grove. There was the head gardener coming to him in a tearing hurry. The sultan scowled and his face went pale to see another figure quickly vanishing from the pavilion.
The gardener tore his blouse and fell at his feet. He cried,’O master, I did not disobey your decree. I told the stranger on pain of death to remove himself. But he laughed at your decree.’
‘Didn’t that dog speak?’
‘O exalted majesty he gave me such a look!’
‘Look?’
The gardner was frothing at the mouth and his bosom heaved under great emotion. He said,’ Yes master, he looked as only Death could give. O master I am undone!’
The sultan felt a shudder looking into the whites of the menial’s eye and he clutched his embroidered tunic and the strings of pearls broke and scudded all across the floor.
He fell as silently as dead.
Those who bore his body to the Royal Cemetery observed his eyes gave such a horrible stare, past caring for those mourners who wailed and beat their chests; nor did he hear those who keened like banshees each for the price of hire.
benny

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Cupcake’s manager: My boy will not till I hear the thing speak!

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A material universe that we know holds four dimensions. Length, breadth, height and time must be equally brought into play in order to make sense. Our cosmos has no center as such but in order to fix a star we use triangulation method. But is that all there is to Cosmos? Dogs make sense of the world by their smell, and it enables them to grasp essentials. Their acute sense touches on different dimensions than that we are qualified to know. Elephants communicate at a wave length that our ear cannot grasp.(However we can make precise equipments to catch it and decipher for us.) Dogs and horses can sense far in advance of earthquake or some other danger, which when it occurs cause damage to us. But then it was not our priority since these quakes are few and far in between.
For us abstract thinking held more importance since we are social animals. We gave up certain advantages other animals have in order to fine tune our rational thinking. Thus when one speaks of God or Truth in absolute terms reason keeps its antenna up. ‘Oho, hold your horses! My carriage can only go by rails of reason and not gallop over the dales and hills.’

Thus man works with four dimensions, and reason can yield much sharper focus on his material universe. Rather than mastering so many dimensions we gave them up in order to get a sharp snapshot of our world. It is like projecting the physical map of the earth on two dimensions. You get all the geographical details, continents, oceans, archipelagos rivers etc. If one wants to map the ocean floor ridges trenches etc. it will be quite something else. This is a trade off. According to our specific needs we have interpreted the earth differently.
benny

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Once Confucius called on Duke of Ai who wanted to discuss some matter with the sage. The duke being busy his chamberlain took to entertain him and while going through the album Confucius saw an autograph and exclaimed, ‘Chen Yu was here!’
The chamberlain was amazed. He wanted to know how he could guess it. The sage pointed to his hand and his literary name and said,’Nobody in the kingdom will style himself as Rotten Plum on the Golden Bough except he.’ Every person is unique. If it were not the case would gait recognition or iris scanning work? Take a tree for example. No single leaf is same as another.
What makes a leaf special or for that matter grass?
Every blade of grass has its purpose. If it had no meaning everything in this planet loses its meaning. Why must it be so? A grass works out its strategy in this world by submitting to its physical laws. If laws hold no meaning throw away the entire cosmos into some slag heap as useless. Some grass may despite absence of laws grow but it would be useless for man or cattle. Who shall risk making use of greens that are edible at one moment and inedible next moment?
We frame physical laws from our observation of the earth, physical reality of cosmos and say under such and such conditions it must be so. Take the case of a phenomenon like Aurora Borealis or Aurora Australis. It is due to the electrically charged particles traveling along the planet’s magnetic lines strike hydrogen molecules. As a result the molecules glow in the upper atmosphere. If similar conditions exist whether in Jupiter or anywhere in cosmos the same phenomenon should manifest. Would it not mean then that certain laws are in place? Laws of Nature?(selected– Sufficient unto this Day 1.5)
We are men under a system where laws are written in our very being. Thus nocturnal animals also can survive while we make the most of the daylight. Nature is for all; and wisdom and power of man and every living thing is drawn under its sovereignty.
Do we need to ask who has tagged the earth? I began with an anecdote from China and I shall end this post from another. Girls who are ready for marriage in China will attest to the fact by sewing mandarin ducks on their shoes and venerating Old Man on the Moon. Some may similarly entertain a God sitting somewhere up there spinning laws for each man. It is some thought! No wonder why some men here think he is above laws of men. Such lawless men are still under laws of Nature. For me God works with laws of Nature where wisdom and power of man when collectively taken does as effectively as though He was behind the interaction.
He is Wisdom and Power apart while we exercise wisdom and power in harmony with our nature. Laws of Nature and nature of man must trade off. No other way.
benny

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Who is in control of our universe?
Before I come to it let me speak from specific to the unknown. I am in control of my life, at least to the extent where the issue concerns me and the outcome may not affect others greatly. As an architect if I think there is a project coming up where the services of an architect is needed my interest is to win it fairly. If there is an open competition it is essential that I try to win it: from shortlist to signing the contract I cannot afford to lose any opportunity that comes way to that end. Why should I move heaven and earth but to prove myself and to keep my office open? I owe to myself and those who work with me and take orders by bringing in funds. So I am connected to many whose economic viability is hinged on mine. I am not living for myself but for many others as well. As a practicing Christian ‘give us our daily bread means’ means ability to provide for many others as well. What if I do not get the contract after giving my best shot and also bringing God into my personal equation? Is God unfair to have thrown this particular project to another?
I think it was Montaigne who wrote that any man’s gain is at the expense of another. Thus to continue with the analogy God could only give me by denying another. If God is to satisfy me what I have set my heart so much by denying another whose credentials or need is greater than mine am I not making Him my accomplice?
I do not think God is in the man’s business here pushing one a little or pulling another down there and so on.
Mitt Romney can only win the nomination at the expense of Newt et al. Despite whatever these GOP candidates would have said of their faith God does not muck rake in politics. As Einstein said, nor does He play dice with the universe. Whoever thinks God as an accomplice has the Devil for a master. Many Christians seem to mistake one for the other. How do I know if I gained in the long run far greater opportunities to go higher in my career than be dragged by one project or into some muddle? My ability to foresee future is almost nil so it is necessary to attend to the day’s business as best as possible than set my heart on do or die basis with one. It may go out of my reach so what?
God is Wisdom and Power and as a Christian I believe I am made in His image. This wisdom and power in human terms need to be put to use. That is my reasonable service as a christian.

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A Double Edged Sword

In Hindu trinity Vishnu is the Order maintaining a balance between Brahma and Siva. Whenever Brahma created a new world Siva the destroyer found some thing that upset him. He opened in anger his third eye to destroy it to cinders. It was the task of Vishnu to bring order out of Chaos.
Vishnu the upholder of Law thought the law could be written down so Brahmins anywhere on the earth could be guided to lead orderly lives.
Vishnu loved to hear Brahmins recite their hymns in Sanskrit and interpret laws.
One day the three gods were idling away.
Brahma heard a commotion. On the earth Brahmins were demanding preeminence in all things He heard on say,’ Only Brahmins can interpret law on the earth’. Brahma the creator was confused,’ Did I create it for only a particular set? I hate cliques.’
Siva heard him and said,’Say the word I will send my fire.’
Vishnu held his finger to his mouth. The two gods instantly kept silence. Vishnu listened closely to something that was going on below and said,’I must investigate.’ He changed himself into the form of an indigent Brahmin and went to Cherala. In the kingdom of Venadu where Mahabali ruled the kingdom people were making merry. What excited the curiosity of Vishnu was that the people were not Brahmins and yet they were as happy as gods.
Vishnu sidled up to one and asked if the people had laws. He asked what he meant by that. Vishnu the lawgiver was so shocked. He didn’t know if people could be happy without laws.
‘If you have quarrels how do you settle the dispute?’
‘We talk things face to face.’
Vishnu asked,’Without Law coming in between?’
‘Law is unnecessary since we take our Venerable king as our example’.
Vishnu was impressed. Vishnu in the same disguise went up the steps of the palace. King Mahabali and his consort were taking the air after lunch.
Seeing the guest the king came forward to receive him. He himself poured water for his feet and said,’please sit on the bench; it must have been quite a walk in the hot sun.’
The king effortlessly attended to his comfort while the queen called her attendants make ready for his food.
While the Brahmin was served the king and the queen sat near him and they plied him with food encouraging him to take his fill. Vishnu could not believe that a king who was not a Brahmin and yet could be as noble as gods.
‘This cannot be’ Vishnu said to himself.’These people have no laws;nor do they pray or sing hymns and pester the gods for anything.
The Brahmin said he was a stranger and he was amazed to hear they were all equal. The king nodded,’Yes we are all equal.’
‘No difference between man and woman?
King Mahabali answered,’Being man or woman can’t be helped. But in our conduct we seek only the good for both’.
Vishnu was so disappointed that there were those wo thought differently than he.
He pretended that he had no place to lay his head. ‘Grant me a boon O lord?’ The king asked him to speak up. The Brahmin asked the extent of land covered by three strides as his resting place..
The king smiled and said,’O Noble Brahmin, you ask too little.’
‘This will suffice.’
The king asked him to suit himself. The Brahmin took the first step and it covered the sky and the next spanned the water. And the third step covered the earth and down went King Mahabali under the gods foot. When Vishnu had ended his measure the kingdom of Venadu was gone and also everything on the earth.
Lord Vishnu brought back the Brahmins and said,’I can deal with people who appreciate laws.’
Moral: More than the fine print find out who is framing the laws and the purpose. There is more to it than meets the eye.

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