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Archive for August, 2016

Laughing Song ©

 

When the birds go south they fly from Jack Frost,-

Oh cold is his breath, they scan east an’ the west;

When caught in currents they steer their own course

And like a feather they are none the worse;

 

When the greenswards feast on liquid sun

And the grasshoppers, the gnats join the fun;

When the moths and beetles romp around

The sky rains their death, the birds make no sound!

 

Geese sing while the storks preen their plumes white:

‘ Where our table al fresco is complete

We forgive Jack Frost who blew us southward,

After such a feast, not to forgive is hard’.

 

Source of my inspiration is given below:

Original poem

Laughing Song By William Blake

 

When the green woods laugh with the voice of joy,

And the dimpling stream runs laughing by;

When the air does laugh with our merry wit,

And the green hill laughs with the noise of it;

 

when the meadows laugh with lively green,

And the grasshopper laughs in the merry scene,

When Mary and Susan and Emily

With their sweet round mouths sing “Ha, ha he!”

 

When the painted birds laugh in the shade,

Where our table with cherries and nuts is spread:

Come live, and be merry, and join with me,

To sing the sweet chorus of “Ha, ha, he!”

 

 

 

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It is said religion is the opium for the masses. In Lotos-eaters Tennyson writes the effect of the lotos:

” Eating the Lotos day by day,

To watch the crisping ripples on the beach,

And tender curving lines of creamy spray;

To lend our hearts and spirits wholly

To the influence of mild-minded melancholy;

To muse and brood and live again in memory,…”

 

Poetic fancy of the poet however does not connect with reality as we know today. This is not how religion is practised.

The Scripture teaches us God is Love; good moslems similarly declare their Allah is compassionate. In that case what is the problem? Somewhere along the line prophets and their sayings are interpreted to mean entirely false. Whether God of the Jews or Allah of moslems religion has become synonymous with hate. In short religion has become the Achilles heel of mankind.

Through human understanding what can we know of love of God; or what is mercy? At least reason ought to teach us to try our best as human beings to demonstrate what love and compassion would mean. Would it not? In what way we can show holiness by some rituals? In India those who practice Jainism cover their mouth lest they swallow some little flies by mistake while yawning. However little do they see the millions of bacteria that float in the water they drink. It is impossible to match holiness of divine Being or be perfect in observing injunctions of prophets with regards to our cleanliness and diet. For the simple reason in a world of acid rain and tainted earth with various chemicals all our idea of cleanliness come with margin of error.

In Jonathan Swift’s immortal tale the central character Gulliver is brought to the land of Brobdingnag. It is written that he was repelled by the women of that land. They were monstrous in size compared to him. Their faces when magnified so much skin pores seemed to his scrutiny as moon craters! Matter of size brought about this change naturally. If we were to see as an eagle our eyes would require the size of an orange. To sum view of our world is limited by our human-ness. As a result our sense of beauty is affected; so must our understanding. How noble or mean is your God?

When Prophet Moses gave the Children of Israel the law, was it his understanding or that of God at fault?

Under the Law it was an eye for eye, a tooth for tooth. Shall we say under the Old Covenant the law represented a certain values but it was codified according to human understanding? It is of this St Paul writes to the Hebrews thus: ‘For the law made nothing perfect…(He.7:19) Instead It erected a screen between God and them. For instance during the Feast the Jews mistook the voice from heaven as thunder. (Jn.12:29) The Jewish nation lived by the law for a millennia or so and yet when God spoke, ‘I have both glorified it (name) and will glorify it again (vs.28)’ they understood it altogether in another sense.

Moses gave the law but with Jesus came the New Covenant. For Christians this New order supercedes the Old. Jesus brought grace and truth(Jn.1:17). When Jesus came to save the world he had a clear mandate. It went thus: turn the other cheek if one smites on your right cheek. He showed it in practice as well. Luke 9:51-56

Before he was to be crucified he wanted to visit Samaria. He sent an advance party to make arrangements and the people of Samaria refused them. When they told Jesus of their refusal John and James were furious and would have brought fire from heaven as Elias did. Jesus rebuked them saying, ‘they did not know what manner spirit they were of’. He did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them. Jesus quietly led them to another village.

When I hear fellows casually use ‘Jihad’ to justify their criminal actions and mask foolish notion of global domination I can only say, their understanding is far off the mark. If they are misled, how much more foolish are their imams who preach hatred and violence as though it were a religious duty?

benny

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At Asakusa, in Yedo, there lives a man called Danzayémon, the chief of the Etas. This man traces his pedigree back to Minamoto no Yoritomo, who founded the Shogunate in the year 1192 A.D. The whole of the Etas in Japan are under his jurisdiction; his subordinates are called Koyagashira, or “chiefs of the huts”; and they constitute the government of the Etas. In the “Legacy of Iyéyasu,” the 36th Law provides as follows:

‘All wandering mendicants, such as male sorcerers, female diviners, hermits, blind people, beggars, and tanners (Etas), require license to practise their trade and those who overstep the boundaries of their own classes are disobedient to existing laws’.

The occupation of the Etas is to kill and flay horses, oxen, and other beasts, to stretch drums and make shoes; and if they are very poor, they wander from house to house, working as cobblers, mending old shoes and leather, and so earn a scanty livelihood. Besides this, their daughters and young married women gain a trifle as wandering minstrels, called Torioi, playing on the shamisen, a sort of banjo, and singing ballads. They never marry out of their own fraternity, but remain apart, a despised and shunned race.

At execution by crucifixion it is the duty of the Etas to transfix the victims with spears; and, besides this, they have to perform all sorts of degrading offices about criminals, such as carrying sick prisoners from their cells to the hall of justice, and burying the bodies of those that have been executed. Thus their race is polluted and accursed, and they are hated accordingly.

Now this is how the Etas come to be under the jurisdiction of Danzayémon:

When Minamoto no Yoritomo was yet a child, his father, Minamoto no Yoshitomo, fought with Taira no Kiyomori, and was killed by treachery: so his family was ruined; and Yoshitomo’s concubine, whose name was Tokiwa, took her children and fled from the house, to save her own and their lives. But Kiyomori, desiring to destroy the family of Yoshitomo root and branch, ordered his retainers to divide themselves into bands, and seek out the children. At last they were found; but Tokiwa was so exceedingly beautiful that Kiyomori was inflamed with love for her, and desired her to become his own concubine. Then Tokiwa told Kiyomori that if he would spare her little ones she would share his couch; but that if he killed her children she would destroy herself rather than yield to his desire. When he heard this, Kiyomori, bewildered by the beauty of Tokiwa, spared the lives of her children, but banished them from the capital.

So Yoritomo was sent to Hirugakojima, in the province of Idzu; and when he grew up and became a man, he married the daughter of a peasant. After a while Yoritomo left the province, and went to the wars, leaving his wife pregnant; and in due time she was delivered of a male child, to the delight of her parents, who rejoiced that their daughter should bear seed to a nobleman; but she soon fell sick and died, and the old people took charge of the babe. And when they also died, the care of the child fell to his mother’s kinsmen, and he grew up to be a peasant.

Now Kiyomori, the enemy of Yoritomo, had been gathered to his fathers; and Yoritomo had avenged the death of his father by slaying Munémori, the son of Kiyomori; and there was peace throughout the land. And Yoritomo became the chief of all the noble houses in Japan, and first established the government of the country. When Yoritomo had thus raised himself to power, the son that his peasant wife had born to him could have claimed his rightful claim to the protection of his father. He would have been made lord over a province; but he took no thought of this, and remained a tiller of the earth, forfeiting a glorious inheritance; and his descendants after him lived as peasants in the same village, increasing in prosperity and in good repute among their neighbors.

But the princely line of Yoritomo came to an end in three generations, and the house of Hojo was all-powerful in the land.

Now it happened that the head of the house of Hojo heard that a descendant of Yoritomo was living as a peasant in the land, so he summoned him and said: “It is a hard thing to see the son of an illustrious house live and die a peasant. I will promote you to the rank of Samurai.”

Then the peasant answered: “My lord, if I become a Samurai, and the retainer of some noble, I shall not be so happy as when I was my own master. If I may not remain a husbandman, let me be a chief over men, however humble they may be.”

But my lord Hojo was angry at this, and thinking to punish the peasant for his insolence, said: “Since you wish to become a chief over men, no matter how humble, there is no means of gratifying your strange wish but by making you chief over the Etas of the whole country. So now see that you rule them well.”

When he heard this, the peasant was afraid; but because he had said that he wished to become a chief over men, however humble, he could not choose but become chief of the Etas, he and his children after him for ever; and Danzayémon, who rules the Etas at the present time, and lives at Asakusa, is his lineal descendant.

‘There is a tide in the affairs of men as the Bard would say. (There is a tide in the affairs of men,

Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune’ (Ac.4.sc3-Julius Caesar )

 

 

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Once upon a time there lived an old man and an old woman. The old man, who had a kind heart, kept a young sparrow, which he tenderly nurtured. But the dame was a cross-grained old thing; and one day, when the sparrow had pecked at some paste with which she was going to starch her linen, she flew into a great rage, and cut the sparrow’s tongue and let it loose.

When the old man came home from the hills and found that the bird had flown, he asked what had become of it; so the old woman answered that she had cut its tongue and let it go, because it had stolen her starching-paste. Now the old man, hearing this cruel tale, was sorely grieved, and thought to himself: “Alas! Where can my bird be gone? Poor thing! Poor little tongue-cut sparrow! Where is your home now?” and he wandered far and wide, seeking for his pet, and crying: “Mr. Sparrow! Mr. Sparrow! Where are you living?”

One day, at the foot of a certain mountain, the old man fell in with the lost bird; and when they had congratulated one another on their mutual safety, the sparrow led the old man to his home, and, having introduced him to his wife and chicks, set before him all sorts of dainties, and entertained him hospitably.

“Please partake of our humble fare,” said the sparrow. Poor as it is, you are very welcome.”

“What a polite sparrow!” answered the old man, who remained for a long time as the sparrow’s guest, and was daily feasted right royally. At last the old man said that he must take his leave and return home; and the bird, offering him two wicker baskets, begged him to carry them with him as a parting present. One of the baskets was heavy, and the other was light; so the old man, saying that as he was feeble and stricken in years he would only accept the light one, shouldered it, and trudged off home, leaving the sparrow family disconsolate at parting from him.

When the old man got home, the dame grew very angry, and began to scold him saying: “Well, and pray where have you been this many a day? A pretty thing, indeed, to be gadding about at your time of life!”

“Oh!” replied he, “I have been on a visit to the sparrows; and when I came away, they gave me this wicker basket as a parting gift.” Then they opened the basket to see what was inside, and, lo and behold, it was full of gold and silver and precious things. When the old woman, who was as greedy as she was cross, saw all the riches displayed before her, she changed her scolding strain, and could not contain herself for joy.

“I’ll go and call upon the sparrows, too,” said she, “and get a pretty present.” So she asked the old man the way to the sparrows’ house, and set forth on her journey.

Following his direction, she at last met the tongue-cut sparrow, and exclaimed: “Well met! Well met, Mr. Sparrow! I have been looking forward to the pleasure of seeing you.” So she tried to flatter and cajole the sparrow by soft speeches.

The bird could not but invite the dame to its home; but it took no pains to feast her, and said nothing about a parting gift. She, however, was not to be put off; so she asked for something to carry away with her in remembrance of her visit. The sparrow accordingly produced two baskets, as before, and the greedy old woman, choosing the heavier of the two, carried it off with her. But when she opened the basket to see what was inside, all sorts of hobgoblins and elves sprang out of it, and began to torment her.

benny

(ack: AB Mitford-Tales of Old Japan vol-1/MacMillen&Co, London-1871)

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Demise of dinosurs some 66 million years ago by a cosmic impact* ought to tell us some sobering facts. Like the stone that was hewn without hands in the Book of Daniel a meteorite wiped out the Giants that walked on the earth. Mammals at that time were precariously trying to get a toehold and on the slow stream of life man was holding on. Now we are the dominat species at least on the basis of wholescale impact we have on everything else. Plastics? Why we invented it and made it on a commercial basis so it made profit for industries that took up production all across the globe. It was so pervasive no household could do without it. It had of course its practical appliciation but the oceans are now chokeful of it so much we are fated to ingest it from marinelife that we catch. The simple organisms like sponge that played a large part in cleaning up the ocean beds are dying and corals are bleached due to the climatic changes. Welcome to the age of anthropocene.

We have been pretty careless with our environment. As homo sapiens man exploits his ‘wisdom’ but for what? He carried beads and baubles, which were trinkets in the Old World but novelty for natives in the New World. What wisdom is in extending scorched earth policy all across the world? Now we are told to expect some pretty fundamental changes when we are no longer the planet’s dominant animal species.

So if we were given the chance to peek forward in time at the Earth some 50m years after our disappearance, what would we find? Which animal or group of animals would “take over” as the dominant species? Would we have a Planet of the Apes, as imagined in popular fiction? Or would the Earth come to be dominated by dolphins, or rats,- or cockroaches or ants?

The question has inspired a lot of popular speculation and many writers have offered lists of candidate species. Before offering any guesses, however, we need to carefully explain what we mean by a dominant species.

Of all the species that were arguably dominant animals at some stage in the history of the Earth, humans are alone in their remarkable intelligence and manual dexterity. It follows that such traits are neither requirements for being dominant among animals, nor particularly likely traits to evolve. Evolution does not favour intelligence for its own sake, but only if it leads to higher survival and reproductive success. We exhausted our opportunities in ideologies capitalism or socialism. Even in matters of belief-system our stupidity is so egregious that we preach what we do not understand. We kill but do not cure stupidity of others by it. Why kill another for an idea? It shall never stay true but change with time.

Even if humans succumb to a global pandemic that affects relatively few other mammals, the great apes are precisely the species that are most at risk of contracting any new diseases that drive us from the Earth.

Consequently when we speak of dominant species this article of intelligence need be qualified as that raises the level every other species. Of nature putting balances and checks so no species may free ride at expense of others we need accept as good.

It is a profound mistake to imagine that our successors are likely to be especially intelligent or social creatures, or that they will be capable of speech, or adept with human technology.

So what can we safely speculate about the dominant species, some 50m years after humanity? (Ack: the Conversation-Jan. 26/luc bussiere-univ.of Stirling)

* The Cretaceous–Paleogene (K–Pg) extinction event, also known as the Cretaceous–Tertiary (K–T) extinction, was a mass extinction of some three-quarters of the plant and animal species on Earth—including all non-avian dinosaurs—that occurred over a geologically short period of time approximately 66 million years( wikipedia)

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The desert dweller was brought before the Great Panjandrum of Chaldea for blasphemy. The Holy One said, “The charge says, ‘You founded a new religion simply by living among the sand dunes. How can that be possible?’ ” The accused shrugged his shoulders and said, ‘ life in the extremes where death is around the corner, Great God made me dig deeper in my soul to seek him. ’

GP insisted: “ But your god dosesn’t fit with god we worship?”

‘I would not know that, your Holiness. Certainly the God that my depths showed is still clearly etched in my mind.’

The new religion slowly found its way into the cities of the plains and possessed half the riches of the world. It also had made men giddy with their wealth and worldly goods. Years later the founder now as Grand Lama of Levant had the duty to examine one who was guilty of excessive pleasure and drunkeness. What is more he denied all religions as false except Pleasure.

‘How can you call it a religion?’

The Sybarite said, “ I am surrounded by so much of pleasure and I am loath to ignore it since God has given me a body.”

The Grand Lama winced inwardly. He let him go unpunished. The Grand Council of clerics said, “ How merciful is our Grand Lama! ”

The Venerable Lama knew the truth. His experience with the world made him sell his Truth just as the pleasure seeker could not resist the truth the world held out. Truth that he held up as dogma morphed into something altogether different!

Laws of nature dictate how matter would behave under different conditions. Material nature of body takes its cues from its context as easily as soul of one takes its cues from its unseen world.

Duality of body and the soul hold Truth. How one reconciles both defines his character.

Never shall the body and soul settle the matter by itself since life force is what each individual supplies. It has to look to the world without. Given changed circumstances this force makes the unstable relationship define itself. Body given its appetites can only get the upper hand at the expense of the other. Then a man easily given to his weaknesses shows in time certain coarseness in character. From truth to false is but a step away; a man may not be aware of such slight deviations and when given time his character developes into something else. Where we once considered thrift and moderation as a virtue in the consumer society is frowned upon as old fashioned. You and I contributed to it didn’t we?

Such exchange works both ways.

ii

If one cancer cell is let it can affect the entire body. Similarly a little yeast leavens the entire dough. For instance one without any solid proof declares from the pulpit so and so committed blasphemy we see the whole assembly thrown into an uproar. We saw it happen when Jesus was brought before Pilate. The rabble was out to crucify him not because they had clear proof but by hearsay. They were ready to do the hatchet job for their elders. One man’s lie triggered an avalanche.

There are two basic elements to an avalanche: a steep, snow-covered slope and a trigger that causes a weak layer within the snow pack to collapse. Rabble is like the weak layer. The shape of the ice crystals of snowflakes within a snow pack is also a critical factor. How well the crystals bond together determines how strong a snow layer is and therefore how stable the snow pack is. When Truth is not bonded properly an avalanche is set off.

It is essential every individual hold his truth as inalienable. When it is joined with others it is conditional only for the betterment of all and not for this and that person. We have seen religions falling into error: where it is mob rule Truth is dragged through mud. Religion of peace is made out in effect as religion of hate.

benny

 

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Why should man be afraid of an idea? He is given to abstract thinking and Truth is an idea and he conceived it. But try sell it to another. Man who hears Truth from you shall have his own wordbook of experience to make it clear unto him. He who has lived through dog-eat-dog and survived by all his wiles at his disposal has a meaning to it. If you tell him ‘Love they neighbour as thyself’ watch out if he does spit on your face. Truth means many things to all men.

Even so truth is such common thread on which every great or small animate or inanimate matter, simple or compound is strung upon. Laws of nature gives its validity and it has you involved. You may give it names, deny it, wave it as a standard and still how you live it is a matter only you can do. It is your responsibility.

Let us see how truth makes its way among wise men. I shall cite the names of two wise men whose credentials need no further proof than their names. It was rather the bad luck that Gottfried Wilhem Liebniz lived in the time of Voltaire. In 1710 the German polymath in a work concluded the earth was best of all possible worlds. As a philosopher he was grappling with the problem of evil. Was he a woolly-headed thinker to discount what was happening about him and escape into a virtual reality? No he had sterling credentials as a mathematician to be clear cut in his thinking. In explaining away his ideas on Theodicy he stated that God was good in his power and wisdom. In short He proceeded using God as the Cause. Voltaire on the other hand also had thought on this and for him the Lisbon earthquake of 1755 was a shock. In this natural calamity some 60,000 to 100,000 perished, evil and innocents alike. Unlike Liebniz he reviewed his concept of God from the Effect.

I respect life that is in me to understand this intimate article of Truth. What is it? In coming to grips with my world and live it inasmuch possible I need have a good grasp of it. It is too precious to leave with Liebniz or Voltaire however great they are in world’s estimation.

Perhaps some theologians by consensus have drawn up dogma and the Pope sets his seal as gospel truth. My truth is too precious for others to determine. As a Christian when I stand before God, I cannot use any other for my failure to live by truth.

Truth is such when a clutch of men sit together and give us an idea as truth we need understand that there is a great gap in the Idea and the thing they sell to us. Earlier the Church of Rome sold the faithfuls as to Papal Infallibility(2.). Now the idea has been let by the wayside. Truth as an idea and as dogma is as different as a mule and a thoroughbred.

How did the Papal idea of Truth turned out in practice? It became a ruse to assert his spiritual authority. Truth as we know is as noble as a noble steed excellent in speed and in form. But what comes out after many sittings and compromises is an animal mangy and as headstrong as a mule. So much for papal infallibility as truth. His Holiness himself must account before his Maker. So Truth is my problem and only way I can cure it is to live it as best as possible. (to be concluded)

2.

In 1075 Pope Gregory VII in his Dictatus Papae (The Pope’s Memorandum) put it more bluntly. He set out 27 propositions about the powers of the office of Bishop of Rome. These included the statement that the papacy “never will err to all eternity according to the testimony of Holy Scripture”.

The word infallibility, however, was not used. It was believed that only God was infallible and it was acknowledged that various popes down the ages had brought disgrace on the office by their behaviour and judgements. Having been dethroned as ruler of the Papal States by the movement for Italian Reunification that finally triumphed in 1870, Pope Pius IX called the First Vatican Council where he was determined to buttress his own spiritual authority. Though many cardinals believed it dangerous to try to define quite how and when the Pope might speak infallibly, a compromise agreement was finally reached.

It stated that Pope “when he speaks ex cathedra, that is when exercising the office of pastor and teacher of all Christians” is “possessed of infallibility” when “he defines… a doctrine concerning faith and morals to be held by the whole Church, through the divine assistance promised to him by St Peter“.

Once the Pope has spoken, the First Vatican Council agreed, his definitions “are irreformable of themselves”.

Voting on this form of words took place during a thunderstorm. A majority gave their assent but God, some said, was angry.

Routine papal teaching is not therefore infallible and it was not until 1950 that a pope exercised his “infallible magisterium” to declare that the Virgin Mary had been assumed body and soul into heaven. The belief is however unsupported in scripture. (ack:bbc.co.uk/religions)

benny

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