Posts Tagged ‘sage’

Confucius-551 – 479 B.C
He was the founder of the school of thought called Rujia (Confucianism or, literally, the School of the Literati). It was one of the many original philosophies including Daoism, Legalism, and Mohism that were conceived of to cope with the social instability, political turmoil, and incessant war associated with the Spring and Autumn Period (770 – 476 BC). After suffering from a short period of suppression during the Qin dynasty (221-206 BC), Rujia thinking was established as the official ideology by the Han dynasty (206 BC-220 AD). After more than two thousands years of consistent institutionalization, Rujia thinking has become deeply embedded into almost all aspects of Chinese people’s social and cultural life and its far-flung influences had spread to neighboring East Asian countries such as Japan, Korea and Vietnam.

He traveled with his disciples to different states such as Wei, Song, Chen, Cai, and Chu, trying to convince the rulers of these states to accept his political philosophy. Unfortunately, his efforts came to no avail. In 484 BC, Confucius returned to Lu and spent the rest of his life compiling and editing the Classics of Poetry, the Classics of Books, and the Spring and Autumn Annals. Confucius didn’t leave behind any writing of his own. Most of his life and words are documented by his disciples in the book The Analects of Confucius, which has become the most important text in Confucianism. These works gave Confucius his status as the spiritual ancestor and role model of Chinese teachers, historians, moral philosophers, and literary scholars.
Confucian thought is often referred to as moral philosophy. The essential ideal of Confucian philosophy is the realization of a state of harmony through the maintenance of order, be it transcendental symbolic order represented by Tian (heaven) or the social/political orders that are embodied within the ethical relationship between members of various social groups.
Among his significant concepts is Li (rite) which can be regarded as a ritualistic manifestation of the metaphysical and secular order of the world. Trouble with such a concept in weaker hands is egregious folly: it tends to become a set of dry as dust concepts, a caricature of the original idea couched in convoluted rituals. Look at the religions of our world. What are your rituals of self-abnegation if such false humility is another form of self-justification? What charity are you speaking sir, if you think of man’s color and class before you unlock your human touch? The Golden Rule paraphrased by the sage thus:
“What you do not wish upon yourself, extend not to others” (Analects, XV, 23) Thus, to Confucius, there is a mental quality intrinsic to all humans that makes it possible for people to engage in effective communication and forge social ties. Dynamics of social interaction must be active and not a mere ritual.
In the late 19th century, as Western colonial forces began to infiltrate China and exert their influence on the Chinese people, the prevailing self-skepticism about Chinese culture destabilized the dominant position of Confucianism in China. Such skepticism reached a peak in 1919’s May 4th Movement in which youthful students repeated the slogan:“Demolish the Confucian Shop”. During the Communist regime, Confucianism was regarded as a remnant of feudalism that needed to be completely eradicated. However, since the early 1990s, there has been an increasing trend toward a reevaluation of Confucius’ legacies as one of the foundational philosophies behind Chinese culture. (ack:http://www.confucius.ucla.edu/biography.htm)

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Vyasa who composed the Vedas planned the epic in his head and its complex structure was so grand that he could not write it all down. So he approached Brahma the creator with a request to help him out.
‘Why don’t you write it all down?’
Vyasa said it was work that held up his creative flow. ‘I want some one who can write with fluency and be able to make the epic correct in every detail’.
Brahma suggested Ganapathi and to the elephant god he went and laid his problem. Lord Ganapathi accepted the challenge and said,’Epic poet you can recite your epic and I shall write it down. Only that I should not pause ever and the moment my pen stops that is the end of my service’.
It was a challenge that made Vyasa understand the uphill task. Vyasa had already begun the grand epic in his head. He knew which way he wanted to take his narrative and the people who carried his story forward. It was impossible to give up for one whose pen was unstoppable.

The sage bowed before the elephant god and requested him to take his seat. Lord Ganapati sat down with his steel pen and sheaves of palm leaves all cut and ready for the task ahead.
Thus Vyasa began a torrent of words creating such rhythms that made the head of Ganapathi swim. Vyasa noticed that the elephant God was almost losing his control at such onslaught of ideas and music so he said,’ Now a word from the sponsors, Have you tried Kesavardhini hair oil and so on’ The elephant god immediately sobered up on hearing such a jingle and it helped him to get hold of his pen. Vyasa the sage every half an hour so would come up with another product and by such judicious mix of advertisements thrown in between kept Ganapati in line; what is more these nonsensical jingles gave him time to compose the narrative in the manner he wanted.
Unfortunately ever since the noblest thoughts of man whatever be its sweep has come somewhat compromised with commercial angle. Gods who are paragons of virtue began to lust for twadry stuff for which mortals below killed and cheated one another.

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