Saturday, June 15, 2013

From ‘Abundant living Restless Striving. A memoir’ by Sohrab P Godrej as recounted to B K Karanjia

Never did I know distinctly
What ‘myself’ means for me
- Johann Wolfgang Goethe

She looked after all of us as only a caring woman can from ‘a thousand decencies daily flow.’

There’s a new tribunal now,
Higher than God’s – the educated man’s.
- Robert Browning

Fain would I travel to some foreign shore,
Never to see my country more
So might I to myself myself restore.
- Dryden (tr. Ovid)

What [Max] Mueller had to say….. ‘India – What Can It Teach Us?’

‘If I were to look over the whole world to find out the country most richly endowed with all the wealth, power and beauty that nature can bestow, in some parts a very paradise on earth – I should point to India. If I were asked under what sky the human mind has most fully developed some of its choicest gifts, has most deeply pondered on the greatest problems of life, and has found solutions of some of them which will deserve the attention even of those who have studied Plato and Kant – I should point to India. And if I were to ask myself from what literature we, here in Europe, we who have been nurtured almost exclusively on the thoughts of Greeks and Romans, and of one Semitic race, the Jewish, may draw that corrective which is most wanted in order to make our inner life more perfect, more comprehensive, more universal, in fact more truly human, a life, not for this life only but a transfigured and eternal life – again I should point to India.’

I like to be beholden to the great metropolitan English speech,
Which receives tributaries from every region under heaven.
- R. W. Emerson

Man is the only animal for whom his own lie is a problem
which he has to solve.
- Erich Fromm

None who have been always free can understand the
terrible fascinating power of the hope of freedom
for those who are not free.
- Pearl S. Buck

The individual who has to justify his existence by his
own efforts is in eternal bondage to himself
- Eric Hoffer

It is a wise father who knows his own child.
- William Shakespeare

I am not weary; so long as I live on earth, I intend to
conquer at least my own little foot of territory afresh every
- Johann Wolfgang Goethe

We have enslaved the rest of the animal creation, and have
treated our distant cousins in fur and feathers so badly that,
beyond doubt, they would depict the Devil in human form.
- William R. Inge

What is of little value regard as dear;
What is dear regard as of little value.

- Cato

That is at bottom the only courage demanded of us: to
have courage for the most strange, the most singular
and the most inexplicable that we may encounter.
- Rainer Maria Rilke

Keep a green tree in your heart and
perhaps a singing bird will come.
- Chinese proverb

… Sanskrit quotation ….

Ten wells equal to one step-well,
Ten step-wells equal to one lake,
Ten lakes equal to one son,
Ten sons equal to one tree.

Centuries later, Shivaji Maharaj showed considerable enlightenment when he laid down strict rules for the cutting of trees:

The Armada of our kingdom requires durable hardwood for their hulls, decks and masts.

Teak and other appropriate trees of our forests may be felled for this purpose after applying to His Majesty and obtaining the royal permission. If any more be required, they may be purchased from neighbouring kingdoms.

The Mango and Jackfruit trees of our kingdom also provide suitable timber for naval purposes. But they should not be touched, for it is not as if these trees can be grown in a year or two. People plant them and bestow upon them long years of care, as they would on their own children.

If such trees were to be felled, would not the people be inconsolable?

An edifice built upon anyone’s sorrow soon collapses, taking down with it the architect too. In fact, the ruler has to bear the guilt of tyranny. Also, the absence of such trees causes irreparable damage.

Hence, under no circumstances are such depredations to be allowed.

Perchance, if a very old tree has ceased to bear fruit, then it may only be taken with the consent of the owner after persuasion and payment of compensation.

Coercion shall not, under any circumstances, be pardoned.

At independence, 45 per cent of our country was covered by forests and we boasted of the second largest variety of trees and plants, second only to Brazil. Now unbelievably, it is no more than a mere 12 per cent at the most.

Irish proverb …. ‘It is in the shelter of each other that the people live.’

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