Monday, December 24, 2012

From ‘The Language God Talks. On Science and Religion’ by Herman Wouk

Richard Feynman ….. said ….. “You know….. while you’re talking, you’re not learning anything.”

…. Weinberg, in his widely read book, The First Three Minutes, has put the bleaker agnostic picture with stark oft-quoted eloquence: “The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless … The effort to understand the universe is one of the very few things that lifts human life a little above the level of farce, and gives it some of the grace of tragedy.”

Churchill said….. “You can count on the Americans to do the right thing, after they have tried everything else.”

Richard Feynman’s biographer chose one of this many quoted sayings as the epigraph for his whole life story: “I was born not knowing and have only had a little time to change that her and there.

“Let China sleep,” said Napoleon. “When she wakes, Europe will be sorry.”

…… Montaigne … Great French essayist, nobleman, sixteenth century ….. In his essays he gnawed at the edges of disbelief, a risky business then …. ‘I write not as much as I know but as much as I dare, and I dare a little more as I get older.’

From ‘Pilgrim of the Sky. Travelling with Kinkar Vitthal Ramanuja: A Disciple's diary’ by Raj Supe (Kinkar Vishwashreyananda)

The superpowers are called Vibhutis. They are also called siddhis – and because the principal potencies are eight in number, they are called Ashta Siddhis ………..One does not need great austerity to gain these. These may be had by simply leading a pure life for twelve years or so. If you observe brahmacharya for twelve years or so, these powers will be yours.

Brahmachari is he who tries to gain Brahma. Householders who indulge in sexual intercourse once a month are very nearly brahmacharis. …….parents who observe restraint will beget a progeny that will be of better quality. Brahmacharya is a quality that runs in the line, in the blood. Restraint will come naturally to a child whose parents have practiced long restraint. That’s what the Shastras say.

Ideally, you should focus your attention on one single favourite deity – Ishta Deva. …..But worshipping multiple deities isn’t entirely devoid of merit…… But, it is desirable to stick to your Ishta (favourite deity)

He quotes from Patanjali. …… If you can sit in asana for three hours, the asana is said to be siddha. It is realization of posture. ….Every other position is good enough for some time and then it begins to hurt….. Padmasana or baddha padmasana or sukhasana won’t hurt

If you can exclusively fix your mind on an object for 12 seconds uninterruptedly, it is considered to be dharana, if you can extend your exclusive concentration twelve times (12 * 12 seconds i.e. nearly two and half minutes), it is dhyana and when you can extend your concentration further twelve times (12* 12 * 12, nearly half hour), it is Samadhi. …. One of the methods to induce dhyana is singing Hare Krishna Naam ….. Singing Hare Krishna Naam, performing japa, taking pure diet, and observing celibacy ….. all these are conducive to dhyana.

Many objects are mentioned for dhyana: Patanjali mentions the Sun and the Moon …. But the best object of contemplation is Guru. Dhyana on Siddha Guru is the best. .……
“But which part of Guru should we meditate on?”
“Charan – the lotus feet of Guru are wonderful and miraculous. Charan is most powerful because all the powers come down from the feet. Contemplate upon them……”

“ …..Where does one contemplate?”
“The general practice is to contemplate on the sahasrara chakra in crown of the head, ajna chakra between the eyebrows or in the anahata chakra in the heart ……. In sahasrara you meditate on Guru, in ajna chakra you meditate on the mantra and in the anahata, you meditate on Ishta (your favourite deity)…..”

One needs to practice austerity for a long time and in unbroken manner. It is also necessary to fix one’s seat. It is necessary to sit at the same place for long time, only then can one gain siddhi.

Sabase rasiye, sab se basiye, sab se lijiye kaam, haanji haanji karte rahiye baithaa apanaa thaam. Never leave your own place, just keep saying ‘yes’ to everyone, but do your own thing,” he counseled.

From ‘Did you spot the gorilla? How to recognize hidden opportunities’ by Richard Wiseman

The hardest thing to do is see what is right in front of your eyes.
-          Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German poet and novelist

Four things never come back: the spoken word, the spent arrow, the past and the neglected opportunity
-          Omar Idn Al-Halif, Arab scholar

Opportunities multiply as they are seized
-          Sun Tzu, Chinese general and the Author of the ‘Art of War’

In the fields of observation, chance favours the prepared mind
-          Louis Pasteur, French bacteriologist

What we see depends mainly on what we look for.
-          Sir John Lubbock British Scientist

People only see what they are prepared to see.
-          Ralph Waldo Emerson. American poet and philosopher.

Originality is simply a fresh pair of eyes.
-          Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States of America 1913-1921

Don’t think you’re on the right road just because it’s a well-beaten path
-          Anon

To succeed, jump as quickly at opportunities as you do at conclusions
-          Benjamin Franklin, American statesman and scientist

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect
-          Mark Twain, American novelist

We do not stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing
-          Anon

Fish are the last to recognize water.
-          Anon

The world will not perish for want of wonders, but for want of wonder
-          J B S Haldane, British scientist.

I am neither especially clever nor especially gifted. I am only very, very curious
-          Albert Einstein. Physicist and Mathematician

The less routine the more life
-          Amos Bronson Alcott, American educator and social reformer