Saturday, 8 January 2011

Run Lola Run (There is a time for everything)!

“Run Lola Run”
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
-- T.S.Eliot, Little Gidding
Tom Tykwer's "Run Lola Run" begins with Lola (Franka Potente) receiving a phone call from her distraught boyfriend Manni. He is a small-time criminal and has lost 100,000DM belonging to his boss by accidentally leaving it on a train. After the doors of the train closed, he saw a homeless man pick up the bag of money but he was unable to get back onto the train before it left the station. Upon not seeing any trace of his money or the homeless man at the next station, Manni assumes the money is long gone.
Manni has to get the money within 20 minutes before his boss finds out, and plans to rob nearby supermarket. Lola urges him to wait and tells him she will organize the money. She decides to ask her father, who is a bank manager. In 81 minutes time of the film what we receive is three alternative versions of those 20 minutes, event sequences starting out identically but diverging quickly into three different realities on the basis of Lola's trifling encounter with a dog on a stair. The main part of the film is divided in three "runs". Each run starts from the same situation but develops differently and has a different outcome. Each run contains various flash-forward sequences, showing how the lives of the people that Lola bumps into develop after the encounter. In each run, those people are affected in different ways.
First run
Lola starts running and encounters a punk with a dog in the staircase. The dog growls at her, causing her to sprint faster. Lola runs through the streets of Berlin towards her father's bank. On her way, she causes a car accident with a man later shown to be her father's colleague. When she arrives at the bank, Lola's father refuses to give her any money, telling her that he feels unappreciated at home, that he is leaving Lola and her mother for his mistress and that he isn't Lola's real father. Lola runs on to meet Manni, arriving a few moments after the deadline. Manni's robbery is already in progress; Lola decides to help him rob the store. The two flee on foot afterwards but find themselves surrounded by police, and a nervous police officer accidentally shoots Lola in the chest.
The scene fades out to show Lola and Manni talking in bed, with Lola questioning Manni about his love for her. Lola then says "Stop" and the film restarts at the point where she started running.
Second run
In the second run, the punk with a dog trips Lola, injuring her leg and causing her to limp slightly. She again causes a car accident involving the father's colleague. Lola arrives at the bank a few moments later because of her limp, which leaves enough time for her father's mistress to explain that she is pregnant by someone else. Lola hears more of the argument this time, and becomes infuriated. She robs her father's bank with a gun grabbed from the bank's security officer, and takes off with the money to meet Manni. When Lola reaches Manni he is run down by an ambulance as he crosses the street to meet her.
The scene again fades to Lola and Manni in bed, this time with the roles reversed: Manni questions Lola about her love for him.
Third run
The third time Lola is a split second faster, as she leaps over the punk on the steps. This time she doesn't cause an accident, and the business associate is able to pick up Lola's father. She misses her father completely and keeps on running. Lola enters a casino, buys a single 100-mark chip, and finds a roulette table. She wins two consecutive bets on the number "20", which gives Lola 126,000DM, more than enough money to help Manni. She hitches a ride in the ambulance from the previous runs, as it stops. The ambulance is carrying the security guard from her father's bank who has apparently suffered a heart attack. She takes his hand, and moments later, his heart rate begins to return to normal.
Meanwhile, Manni sees the homeless man who took his money in the beginning of the film. Manni chases him down and retrieves his money but, feeling sorry for him, gives him his gun in return. Lola arrives to find Manni stepping out of a car and shaking his boss's hand. The movie ends with Manni asking Lola what is in the bag she is carrying.

Run Lola Run" is a movie that demands active and attentive watching in order to piece together all the subtle causal connections among various events. It poses deeper existential questions worthy of greater thought.

(Review article from Wikipedia & Edited citations from “Chance, Chaos and Coincidence”)

Discourse of Buddha (3)

Setting the wheels of Dharma in Motion
Lord Buddha said:
The spokes of the wheel are the rules of pure conduct; justice is the uniformity of length: wisdom is the tire; modesty and thoughtfulness are the hub in which the unmovable axle of truth is fixed.
He who recognizes the existence of suffering, its cause, its remedy, and its cessation, has fathomed the Four Noble truths. He will walk in the right path. Right views will be the torch to light his way. Right aims will be his guide. Right words will be his dwelling-place on the road. His walk will be straight, for it is right behavior. His refreshments will be the right way of earning his livelihood. Right efforts will be his steps; Right thoughts his breath; and peace will follow in his footprints.
Then the Blessed One explained the instability of self:
Whatsoever is originated will be dissolved again. All worry about the self is vain; the ego is like mirage and all the tribulations that touch it will pass away. They will vanish like a nightmare when the sleeper awakes. He who has awakened, is freed from fear; he has become Buddha; he knows the vanity of all his cares, his ambitions, and also of his pains. Happy is he who has overcome all selfishness; happy is he who has attained peace and happy is he who has found the truth. Truth is noble and sweet; truth can deliver you from evil. There is no savior in the world except truth. Have confidence in truth although you may not be able to comprehend it, although you may suppose its sweetness to be bitter, although you may shrink from it at first. Trust truth.
Self is a fever, self is a transient vision, a dream, but truth is wholesome, truth is sublime, truth is everlasting. There is no immortality except in truth. For truth alone abides forever. A man who stands alone having decided to obey the truth may be weak and slip back into his old ways. Therefore stand together, assist one another, and strengthen one another's efforts. Be like brothers; one in love, one in holiness, and one in your zeal for the truth. Spread the truth and preach the doctrine in all quarters of the world, so that in the end all living creatures will be citizens of the kingdom of righteousness. Lead a holy life for extinction of suffering.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Every Generation needs a Journey Story: The Motorcycle Diaries ( If you haven't watched it, you must...!)

 “Every generation needs a journey story; every generation needs a story about what it is to be transformed by geography, what it is to be transformed by encounters with cultures and people that are alien from yourself, and you know that age group 15 to 25, that’s the perfect generation to get on a motorcycle, to hit the road, to put on your backpack and just go out.”
– Josè Rivera, screenwriter, National Public Radio.

“The Motorcycle Diaries” is a 2004 biographical film about the journey and written memoir of the 23-year-old Ernesto Guevara, who would years later become internationally known as Che Guevara. The film recounts the 1952 journey, initially by motorcycle, across South America by Guevara and his friend Alberto Granado.
In 1952, a semester before Ernesto "Fuser" Guevara is due to complete his medical degree, he and his older friend Alberto, a biochemist, leave Buenos Aires in order to travel across the South American continent. While there is a goal at the end of their journey - they intend to work in a leper colony in Peru - the main purpose is fun and adventure. They want to see as much of Latin America as they can, more than 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles) in just four and half months, and Alberto's purpose is also to court as many Latin American women as will fall for his pick-up lines. Their initial method of transport is Alberto's ancient Norton 500 motorcycle christened La Poderosa ("The Mighty One").
Their route is ambitious. They head north, aim to cross the Andes, travel along the coast of Chile, across the Atacama Desert and into the Peruvian Amazon and reach Venezuela just in time for Alberto's 30th birthday, April 2. Due to La Poderosa's breakdown, they are forced to travel at a much slower pace, and make it to Caracas in July.
During their expedition, Ernesto and Alberto encounter the poverty of the indigenous peasants, and the movie assumes a greater seriousness once the men gain a better sense of the disparity between the "haves" and "have-nots" of Latin America. In Chile, the pleasure travelers encounter a couple forced onto the road because of their communist beliefs. In a fire-lit scene, Ernesto and Alberto admit to the couple that they are not out looking for work as well. The duo accompany the couple to the Chuquicamata copper mine, and Ernesto becomes angry at the treatment of the workers. There is also an instance of recognition when Ernesto, on a river ship, looks down at the poor people on the smaller boat hitched behind.
However, it is a visit to the Incan ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru that inspires something in Ernesto. His somber musings are then focused on how a civilization capable of building such beauty could be destroyed by the creators of the polluted urban decay of Lima.[4] His reflections are interrupted by Alberto, who shares with him a dream to peacefully revolutionize modern South America. Ernesto quickly responds: "A revolution without guns? It will never work."
In Peru, they volunteer for three weeks at the San Pablo leper colony. There, Guevara sees both physically and metaphorically the division of society - the staff live on the north side of a river, separated from the lepers living on the south. Guevara also refuses to wear rubber gloves during his visit choosing instead to shake bare hands with startled leper inmates.
At the end of the film, after his sojourn at the leper colony, Guevara confirms his nascent egalitarian, anti-authority impulses, while making a birthday toast, which is also his first political speech. In it he evokes a pan-Latin American identity that transcends the arbitrary boundaries of nation and race. These encounters with social injustice transform the way Guevara sees the world, and by implication motivates his later political activities as a revolutionary.
Ernesto makes his symbolic "final journey" that night when, despite his asthma, he swims across the river that separates the two societies of the leper colony, to spend the night in a leper shack, instead of in the cabins of the doctors. As they bid each other farewell, Alberto reveals that his birthday was not in fact April 2, but rather August 8, and that the stated goal was simply a motivator: Ernesto replies that he knew all along. The film is closed with an appearance by the real 82-year-old Alberto Granado, along with pictures from the actual journey and a mention of Che Guevara's eventual 1967 CIA-assisted execution in the Bolivian jungle.

(Review article from Wikipedia)

Motorcycle Diaries is guidance for today’s youth worldwide. Ideas emerge from venturing, journeying. Let us pick up our bags and set out to explore the heart of cultures, people and life.

ചെയുടെ സഹയാത്രികാ, അന്ത്യപ്രണാമം...

Posted on:07 Mar 2011 (in Madhrubhumi)

വിപ്ലവേതിഹാസം ചെഗുവേരയുടെ സഹയാത്രികന്‍ ആല്‍ബര്‍ട്ടോ ഗ്രനാഡോ ഓര്‍മ്മയായി...

'The stars streaked the night sky with light in that little mountain town and the silence and the cold dematerialised the darkness. It was as if all solid substances were spirited away in the ethereal space around us, denying our individuality and submerging us, rigid, in the immense blackness.'þThe Motorcycle Diaries

നാട്ടിന്‍പുറങ്ങളിലെ വയസ്സായ മനുഷ്യര്‍ പറയുന്ന പോല ഒരു ഒന്നൊന്നര യാത്രയായിരുന്നൂ അത്. യൗവനത്തിന്റെ ചോരത്തിളപ്പില്‍ ലോകം ചുറ്റിക്കറങ്ങാമെന്ന് രണ്ട് പേര്‍ തീരുമാനിക്കുന്നു.

ഒരാള്‍ - ഏണസ്റ്റോ ഡി ചെഗുവേര

രണ്ടാമന്‍ - ആല്‍ബര്‍ട്ടോ ഗ്രനാഡോ.

ചെഗുവേരയ്ക്ക് പ്രായം 23. മെഡിക്കല്‍ വിദ്യാര്‍ത്ഥി. ബയോകെമിസ്റ്റായ ആല്‍ബര്‍ട്ടോയ്ക്കാവട്ടെ 29-ഉം. 39മോഡല്‍ സിംഗിള്‍ സിലിണ്ടര്‍ മോട്ടോര്‍ സൈക്കിളില്‍ തുടങ്ങിയ ആ യാത്ര സോഷ്യലിസം എന്ന മഹത്തായ ആശയത്തിലേക്കുള്ള അതിതീവ്രമായ ആഗ്രഹമായി പരിണമിക്കപ്പെട്ടു. ലാറ്റിനമേരിക്കയിലെ ദുര്‍ഘടം നിറഞ്ഞ വഴികളിലൂടെ ആക്‌സിലേറ്റര്‍ തിരിക്കുമ്പോള്‍ കണ്ട ജീവിതങ്ങള്‍ ചെഗുവേര എന്ന വലിയ മനുഷ്യനിലേക്ക് സമത്വപൂര്‍ണ്ണമായരാഷ്ട്രീയത്തിന്റെ വിത്ത് വിതയ്ക്കുകയായിരുന്നു. അയ്യായിരത്തിലധികം കിലോമീറ്ററിലധികം ബൈക്കോടിച്ച് ഇരുവരും താണ്ടിയത് മനുഷ്യരുടെ വേദനകളിലേക്കായിരുന്നു. യാത്രയിലുടനീളം കണ്ട ദൈന്യതകള്‍ ,സഹനങ്ങള്‍ ചെഗുവേരയിലെ വിപ്ലവകാരിയെ രൂപപ്പെടുത്തി. ലോകം ഒരു വലിയ തെറ്റല്ല, ലോകത്തെ തെറ്റാക്കുന്നവര്‍ക്കെതിരെ പോരാടേണ്ടതുണ്ടെന്ന ചെയുടെ സുപ്രധാനമായ തീരുമാനം ഉണ്ടാവുന്നത് അവിടെ വെച്ചാണ്. തന്റെ സമ്പാദ്യമെല്ലാം വലിച്ചെറിഞ്ഞ് മനുഷ്യസ്‌നേഹം എന്ന വലിയ സ്‌നേഹത്തിലേക്ക് ചെ യാത്ര തുടങ്ങുന്നത് അവിടെ നിന്നാണ്. ഒരു പക്ഷേ അന്ന് അങ്ങനെയൊരു യാത്ര സംഭവിച്ചില്ലായിരുന്നെങ്കില്‍ ചെഗുവേര റോസാരിയോവിലെ സാധാരണ ഡോക്ടറായി ജീവിതം തീര്‍ത്തേനെ.

1951 ഡിസംബര്‍ മാസത്തിലാണ് ആല്‍ബര്‍ട്ടോ ഗ്രനാഡോയുടെ ലാ പൊഡോറോസ II (ശക്തിമാന്‍ എന്ന് മലയാളം) എന്ന വയസ്സന്‍ മോട്ടോര്‍ സൈക്കിളില്‍ കോര്‍ഡോബയില്‍ നിന്ന് ഇരുവരും യാത്ര തുടങ്ങിയത്. ചരിത്രാതീതകാലത്തെ വലിയ ഒരു ജീവിയെപ്പോലെയായിരുന്നൂ മോട്ടോര്‍ സൈക്കിളെന്ന് ഗ്രനാഡോ എഴുതിവെച്ചിട്ടുണ്ട്. വഴിയിലുടനൂളം ബൈക്ക് വഴിമുടക്കിയായി. ആറ് മാസം ഇരുവരും യാത്ര ചെയ്തു. വെനിസ്വലയിലെ കാരക്കസില്‍ വെച്ചാണ് ഇരുവരും വഴി പിരിയുന്നത്. ചെഗുവേര വിപ്ലവത്തിലേക്ക് ആസ്തമ വക വെയ്ക്കാതെ നദി നീന്തിക്കടന്ന് പോയി. ഗ്രാനാഡോ ആത്മമിത്രത്തിന് വിപ്ലവാഭിവാദ്യങ്ങള്‍ നേര്‍ന്ന് തിരിച്ച് നാട്ടിലെത്തി തന്റേതായ രീതിയില്‍ സമരശ്രമങ്ങള്‍ നടത്തി.

ഇവരുടെ ചരിത്രയാത്ര മോട്ടോര്‍സൈക്കിള്‍ ഡയറീസ് എന്ന പേരില്‍ പുസ്തകമായി. ലോകത്തില്‍ ഇപ്പോഴും ബെസ്റ്റ് സെല്ലര്‍ പട്ടികയിലാണ് മോട്ടോര്‍സൈക്കിള്‍ ഡയറീസ് . മോട്ടോര്‍ സൈക്കിള്‍ ഡയറീസിന് ചലച്ചിത്രഭാഷ്യവുമുണ്ടായി. വാള്‍ട്ടര്‍ സാല്ലീസ് സംവിധാനം ചെയ്ത സിനിമ പ്രേക്ഷകമനസ്സിലേക്ക് ചെഗുവേരയുടേയും ആത്മമിത്രത്തിന്റേയും യൗവനകാലം കുളിര്‍ പോലെ കോരിയിടുകയായിരുന്നു.

യാത്ര കഴിഞ്ഞ് വന്ന് വെനിസ്വലയിലെ ഒരു ലെപ്രസി ക്ലിനിക്കില്‍ കുറേക്കാലം ജോലി നോക്കി ഗ്രനാഡോ. എട്ട് വര്‍ഷത്തോളം ചെയും ഗ്രനാഡോയും കണ്ടതേയില്ല. ക്യൂബന്‍ വിപ്ലവത്തോടെ കാസ്‌ട്രോയും ചെയും ഉറ്റസുഹൃത്തുക്കളായി. ചെ ക്യൂബന്‍ സെന്‍ട്രല്‍ ബാങ്കിന്റെ തലവനായി. ചെ ഗ്രനാഡോയെ ക്യൂബയിലേക്ക് ക്ഷണിച്ചു.

1961-ല്‍ ഗ്രനാഡോ ക്യൂബയിലേക്ക് വരികയും സാന്തിയാഗോ യൂണിവാഴ്‌സിറ്റിയില്‍ മെഡിസിന്‍ വിഭാഗത്തില്‍ അധ്യാപകനായി. പിന്നീട് ഹവാനയിലേക്ക് താമസം മാറ്റി. ചെയുടെ ആശയഗതികളോട് പൂര്‍ണ്ണയോജിപ്പായിരുന്നൂ ഗ്രനാഡോയ്ക്ക് എന്നും. ചെയുടെ ഗറില്ലാസമരത്തില്‍ ഗ്രനാഡോ പല രീതിയിലുള്ള സഹായം ചെയ്തിട്ടുണ്ടെന്ന് അദ്ദേഹം എഴുതിയ ചെഗുവേര: എ റെവല്യൂഷനറി ലൈഫ് എന്ന പുസ്തകത്തില്‍ പറയുന്നുണ്ട്.

ചെഗുവേരയുടെ സഹയാത്രികന്‍ മാര്‍ച്ച് അഞ്ചിന് ഓര്‍മ്മകളിലേക്ക് നിശ്ചലനായപ്പോള്‍ ആ യാത്ര ചരിത്രമോര്‍മ്മിക്കുന്നവന്റെ മനസ്സില്‍ വീണ്ടും തെളിയുന്നു. മരിക്കുമ്പോള്‍ അദ്ദേഹത്തിന് 88 വയസ്സായിരുന്നു.

1965-ല്‍ ചെ ക്യൂബ വിടുമ്പോള്‍ ചെഗുവേര ഉറ്റസുഹൃത്തുക്കള്‍ക്ക് നല്കുന്നതിനായി ഒരു പാട് പുസ്തകങ്ങള്‍ ബാക്കിവെച്ചിരുന്നു. ഗ്രനാഡോയ്ക്ക് നല്കിയത് ഷുഗര്‍ ഫാക്ടറിയെക്കുറിച്ചുള്ള പുസ്തകമായിരുന്നു, ചെ അതില്‍ എഴുതിയത് പ്രവചനസ്വഭാവമുള്ളതായി. അതിങ്ങനെയാണ്.

'എന്റെ സ്വപ്‌നങ്ങള്‍ക്കതിരുകളില്ല. ചുരുങ്ങിയത് വെടിയുണ്ടകള്‍ മറ്റൊരു തീരുമാനം എടുക്കുന്നത് വരെയെങ്കിലും... വെടിമരുന്നിന്റെ മണമുയരുമ്പോള്‍ മടിയനായ ദേശാടനക്കാരാ, ഞാന്‍ നിന്നെ പ്രതീക്ഷിക്കും. നിങ്ങള്‍ക്കെല്ലാവര്‍ക്കും എന്റെ ആലിംഗനം.' - ചെ

Discourse of Buddha(2)

First Discourse of Buddha at Saranath
Addressing the five bhikshus, Buddha said:
Do not call Tathagata by his name, nor address him 'friend', for he is Buddha, the Holy One. Buddha looks equally with a kind heart on all living beings and they therefore call him 'Father'. To disrespect a father is wrong, to despise him is sin.
The Tathagata does not seek liberation in austerities, but for that reason you must not think that he indulges in worldly pleasure, nor does he live in abundance. The Tathagata has found the 'Middle Path'.
Neither abstinence from fish nor flesh, nor going naked, nor shaving the head, nor wearing matted hair, nor dressing in a rough garment, nor covering with dirt, nor sacrificing to fire, will cleanse a man who is not free from delusions.
Reading the Vedas, making offering to priests or sacrifices to gods, self-mortification by heat or cold, and many such penances performed for the sake of immortality do not cleanse the man who is not free from delusions.
Anger, drunkenness, obstinacy, bigotry, deception, envy, self-praise, disparaging others, superciliousness, and evil intentions constitute uncleanliness; no verily the eating of flesh.
Let me teach you, O bhikshus, the middle path, which keeps aloof from both extremes.

By suffering, the emaciated devotee produces confusing and sickly thoughts in his mind.

Mortification is not conducive even to worldly knowledge; how much less to a triumph over the senses!
He who fills his lamp with water will not dispel the darkness, and he who with tries to light a fire with rotten wood will fail.
Mortifications are painful, vain and profitless. And how can anyone be free by leading a wretched if he does not succeed in quenching the fires of lust?
All mortification is vain so long as self remains, so long as self continues to lust after worldly or heavenly pleasures. But he in whom self become extinct, is free from lust; he will desire neither worldly nor heavenly pleasures, and the satisfaction of his natural wants will not defile him. Let him eat and drink according to the needs of the body.
Water surrounds the lotuses, but does not wet its petals. On the other hand, sensuality of all kinds is enervating. The sensual man is a slave of his passions, and pleasure-seeking is degrading an vulgar.
But to satisfy the necessities of life is not evil. To keep the body in good health is a duty, for otherwise we shall not be able to trim the lamp of wisdom and keep our mind strong and clear.
This is the 'Middle Path', O bhikshus, that keeps aloof from both extremes.

Thursday, 6 January 2011


At the earliest break of day, Don Quixote[1] made ready to ride out in quest of adventures. He buckled on his armor. He took his lance and his shield in his hands. His gallant steed, Rozinante,[2] stood saddled and bridled at the door of the inn.
He again embraced the innkeeper. "Farewell, thou greatest of my benefactors," he cried. "May heaven bless thee for having made me a knight."
Then, with the help of a groom, he mounted and rode forth into the world.
Presently, as he was passing through a lonely place, the knight fancied that he heard distressing cries. They seemed to come from the midst of a woody thicket near the roadside.
"I thank Heaven for this lucky moment," he said to himself. "I shall now have an adventure. No doubt I shall rescue some one who is in peril, or I shall correct some grievous wrong."
He put spurs to Rozinante and rode as fast as he could to the spot from which the cries seemed to issue.
At the edge of the woody thicket he saw a horse tied to a small oak tree. Not far away, a lad of about fifteen years was tied to another oak. The lad's shoulders and back were bare, and it was he who was making the doleful outcry. For a stout country fellow was standing over him and beating him unmercifully with a horsewhip.
"Hold! hold!" cried Don Quixote, rushing up. "It is an unmanly act to strike a person who cannot strike back."
The farmer was frightened at the sudden appearance of a knight on horseback. He dropped his whip. He stood with open mouth and trembling hands, not knowing what to expect.
"Come, sir," said Don Quixote, sternly. "Take your lance, mount your horse, and we will settle this matter by a trial of arms."
The farmer answered him very humbly. "Sir Knight," he said, "this boy is my servant, and his business is to watch my sheep. But he is lazy and careless, and I have lost half of my flock through his neglect."
"What of that?" said Don Quixote. "You have no right to beat him, when you know he cannot beat you."
"I beat him only to make a better boy of him," answered the farmer. "He will tell you that I do it to cheat him out of his wages: but he tells lies even while I am correcting him."
"What! what!" cried Don Quixote. "Do you give him the lie right here before my face? I have a good mind to run you through the body with my lance. Untie the boy and pay him his money. Obey me this instant, and let me not hear one word of excuse from you."
The farmer, pale with fear, loosed the boy from the cords which bound him to the tree.
"Now, my young man," said Don Quixote, "how much does this fellow owe you?"
"He owes me nine months' wages at seven dollars a month," was the answer.
"Nine times seven are sixty-three," said the knight. "Sir, you owe this lad sixty-three dollars. If you wish to save your life pay it at once."
The farmer was now more alarmed than before. He fell upon his knees. He lifted his hands, imploring mercy. He sobbed with fright.
"Noble sir," he cried, "it is too much; for I have bought him three pairs of shoes at a dollar a pair; and twice when he was sick, I paid the doctor a dollar."
"That may be," answered Don Quixote, "but we will set those dollars against the beating you have given him without cause. Come, pay him the whole amount."
"I would gladly do so," said the farmer, "but I have not a penny in my pocket. If you will let the lad go home with me, I will pay him every dollar."
"Go home with him!" cried the lad. "Not I. Why, he would beat me to death and not pay me at all."
"He won't dare to do it," answered Don Quixote. "I have commanded him and he must obey. His money is at his house. I give him leave to go and get it. His honor as a knight will make him pay his debt to you."
"A knight!" said the lad. "He is no knight. He is only John Haldudo, the farmer."
"What of that?" said Don Quixote. "Why may not the Haldudos have a knight in the family?"
"Well, he is not much of a knight. A knight would pay his debts," said the lad.
"And he will pay you, for I have commanded him," said Don Quixote.
Then turning to the farmer, he said, "Go, and make sure that you obey me. I will come this way again soon, and if you have failed, I will punish you. I will find you out, even though you hide yourself as close as a lizard."
The farmer arose from his knees and was about to speak, but the knight would not listen.
"I will have no words from you," he said. "You have naught to do but to obey. And if you would ask who it is that commands you, know that I am the valorous Don Quixote de la Mancha, the righter of wrongs and the friend of the downtrodden. So, good-by!"
Having said this, he gave spurs to Rozinante and galloped away.
The farmer watched him until he was quite out of sight. Then he turned and called to the boy.
"Come, Andrew," he said. "Come to me now, and I will pay thee what I owe thee. I will obey this friend of the downtrodden."
"You will do well to obey him," said the boy. "He is a knight, and if you fail to pay me, he will come back and make things hot for you."
"Yes, I know," answered the farmer. "I will pay you well and show you how much I love you."
Then, without another word, he caught hold of the boy and again tied him to the tree. The boy yelled lustily, but Don Quixote was too far away to hear his cries. The farmer fell upon him and beat him with fists and sticks until he was almost dead. Finally he loosed him and let him go.
"Now, Andrew, find your friend of the down- trodden," he said. "Tell him how well I have paid you."
Poor Andrew said nothing. He hobbled slowly away, while the farmer mounted his horse and rode grimly homeward.
In the meanwhile, Don Quixote was speeding toward his own village. He was very much pleased with himself and with his first adventure as a knight.
"O Dulcinea,[3] most beautiful of beauties," he cried, "well mayest thyself be happy. For thy knight has done a noble deed this day."
And thus he rode gallantly onward, his lance clanging against his coat of mail at every motion of his steed.

[1] Quixote is a retired country gentleman nearing 50 years of age. He became obsessed with books of chivalry, and believes their every word to be true, despite the fact that many of the events in them are clearly impossible. He eventually appears to other people to have lost his mind due to lack of sleep and food from dedicating all of his time to reading. He decides to go out as a knight-errant in search of adventure. It is his first adventure on the way. (from the novel “Don Quixote” by Miguel de Cervantes)
[2] The skinny horse of Quixote.
[3] Neighboring farm girl of Quixote, Aldonza Lorenzo, whom he renamed as Dulcinea del Toboso, his lady love, of which she knew nothing.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Jiddu Krishnamurti on Sex

There is a particular philosophy, especially in India, called Tantra, part of which encourages sex. They say through sex you reach Nirvana. It is encouraged, so that you go beyond it - and you never do.  Why has sex become so important in our life? It has been so, not only in the present period, but always. Why has sex been so deeply embedded in man? - apart from producing children, I am not talking of that. Why? Probably it is the greatest pleasure a human being has. Demanding that pleasure, all kinds of complications arise; volumes have been written with explanations of the psychological complications. But the authors have never asked the question as to why human beings have made this thing so extremely important in their lives.

Our life is in a turmoil, it is a constant struggle, with nothing original, nothing creative - I am using the word `creative' very carefully. The painter, the architect, the wood-carver, he may say he is creative. The woman who bakes bread in the kitchen is said to be creative. And sex, they say, is also creative. So what is it to be creative? The painters, the musicians and the Indian singers with their devotion, say that theirs is the act of creation. Is it? You have accepted Picasso as a great painter, a great creator, putting one nose on three faces, or whatever he does. I am not denying it or being derogatory, I am just pointing it out.
That is what is called creation.
But is all that creativeness? Or is creativeness something totally different? You are seeing the expression of creativeness in a painting, in a poem, in prose, a in a statue, in music. It is expressed according to a man's talent, his capacity great or small; it may be modern Rock or Bach - I am sorry to compare the two! - they are quite incomparable.
We human beings have accepted all that as creative because it brings fame, money, position. But I am asking: is that creativity? Can there be creation, in the most profound sense of that word, so long as there is egotism, so long as there is the demand for success, money and recognition - supplying the market? Do not agree with me please. I am just pointing out. I am not saying I know creativity and you do not; I am not saying that.
I am saying we never question these things. I say there is a state where there is creation in which there is no shadow of self. That is real creation; it does not need expression, it does not need self-fulfilment; it is creation. Perhaps sex is felt to be creative and has become important because everything around us is circumscribed, the job, the office, going to the church, following some philosopher, some guru. All that has deprived us of freedom and, further, we are not free from our own knowledge; it is always with us, the past.

So we are deprived of freedom outwardly and inwardly; for generation upon generation we have been told what to do. And the reaction to that is: I'll do what I want, which is also limited, based on pleasure, on desire, on capacity. So where there is no freedom, either outwardly or inwardly, specially inwardly, we have only one thing left and that is called sex. Why do we give it importance? Do you give equal importance to being free from fear? No. Do you give equal energy, vitality and thought to end sorrow? No. Why? Why only to sex?
Because that is the easiest thing to hand; the other demands all your energy, which can only come when you are free. So naturally human beings throughout the world have given this thing tremendous importance in life. And when you give something, which is only one part of life, tremendous importance, you are destroying yourself. Life is whole, not just one part.
If you give importance to the whole then sex becomes more or less unimportant. The monks and all those who have denied sex have turned their energy to god but the thing is boiling in them, nature cannot be suppressed. But when you give that thing all-importance, then you are corrupt.

(Jiddu Krishnamurti )

Discourse of Buddha (1)

Discourse of Buddha to Kalamas (the citizens of Kesaputta) when being con­fused over the many religions.
Buddha said:
-   Do not accept anything on mere hearsay (i.e. thinking that thus we have heard for a long time)
-   Do not accept anything by mere tradition (i.e. thinking that it has thus been handed down: through many generations)
-   Do not accept anything on account of rumours (i.e. believing what others say without investigation)
-   Do not accept anything just because it accords with your scriptures
-   Do not accept anything by mere supposition
-   Do not accept anything by mere inference
-   Do not accept anything by merely considering the appearances
-   Do not accept anything merely because it agrees with your preconceived notions
-   Do not accept anything merely because it seems acceptable (i.e. should be accepted)
-   Do not accept anything thinking that the ascetic is respected; by us (and therefore it is right to accept his word)
But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept and abide by it.

Monday, 3 January 2011

The Bet (Anton P. Chekhov)

It was a dark autumn night. The old banker was walking up and down his study and remembering how, fifteen years before, he had given a party one autumn evening. There had been many clever men there, and there had been interesting conversations. Among other things they had talked of capital punishment. The majority of the guests, among whom were many journalists and intellectual men, disapproved of the death penalty. They considered that form of punishment out of date, immoral, and unsuitable for Christian States. In the opinion of some of them the death penalty ought to be replaced everywhere by imprisonment for life. "I don't agree with you," said their host the banker. "I have not tried either the death penalty or imprisonment for life, but if one may judge a priori, the death penalty is more moral and more humane than imprisonment for life. Capital punishment kills a man at once, but lifelong imprisonment kills him slowly. Which executioner is the more humane, he who kills you in a few minutes or he who drags the life out of you in the course of many years?"
     "Both are equally immoral," observed one of the guests, "for they both have the same object - to take away life. The State is not God. It has not the right to take away what it cannot restore when it wants to."
     Among the guests was a young lawyer, a young man of five-and-twenty. When he was asked his opinion, he said:
     "The death sentence and the life sentence are equally immoral, but if I had to choose between the death penalty and imprisonment for life, I would certainly choose the second. To live anyhow is better than not at all."
     A lively discussion arose. The banker, who was younger and more nervous in those days, was suddenly carried away by excitement; he struck the table with his fist and shouted at the young man:
     "It's not true! I'll bet you two million you wouldn't stay in solitary confinement for five years."
     "If you mean that in earnest," said the young man, "I'll take the bet, but I would stay not five but fifteen years."
     "Fifteen? Done!" cried the banker. "Gentlemen, I stake two million!"
     "Agreed! You stake your millions and I stake my freedom!" said the young man.
     And this wild, senseless bet was carried out! The banker, spoilt and frivolous, with millions beyond his reckoning, was delighted at the bet. At supper he made fun of the young man, and said:
     "Think better of it, young man, while there is still time. To me two million is a trifle, but you are losing three or four of the best years of your life. I say three or four, because you won't stay longer. Don't forget either, you unhappy man, that voluntary confinement is a great deal harder to bear than compulsory. The thought that you have the right to step out in liberty at any moment will poison your whole existence in prison. I am sorry for you."
     And now the banker, walking to and fro, remembered all this, and asked himself: "What was the object of that bet? What is the good of that man's losing fifteen years of his life and my throwing away two million? Can it prove that the death penalty is better or worse than imprisonment for life? No, no. It was all nonsensical and meaningless. On my part it was the caprice of a pampered man, and on his part simple greed for money ..."
     Then he remembered what followed that evening. It was decided that the young man should spend the years of his captivity under the strictest supervision in one of the lodges in the banker's garden. It was agreed that for fifteen years he should not be free to cross the threshold of the lodge, to see human beings, to hear the human voice, or to receive letters and newspapers. He was allowed to have a musical instrument and books, and was allowed to write letters, to drink wine, and to smoke. By the terms of the agreement, the only relations he could have with the outer world were by a little window made purposely for that object. He might have anything he wanted - books, music, wine, and so on - in any quantity he desired by writing an order, but could only receive them through the window. The agreement provided for every detail and every trifle that would make his imprisonment strictly solitary, and bound the young man to stay there exactly fifteen years, beginning from twelve o'clock of November 14, 1870, and ending at twelve o'clock of November 14, 1885. The slightest attempt on his part to break the conditions, if only two minutes before the end, released the banker from the obligation to pay him the two million.
     For the first year of his confinement, as far as one could judge from his brief notes, the prisoner suffered severely from loneliness and depression. The sounds of the piano could be heard continually day and night from his lodge. He refused wine and tobacco. Wine, he wrote, excites the desires, and desires are the worst foes of the prisoner; and besides, nothing could be more dreary than drinking good wine and seeing no one. And tobacco spoilt the air of his room. In the first year the books he sent for were principally of a light character; novels with a complicated love plot, sensational and fantastic stories, and so on.
     In the second year the piano was silent in the lodge, and the prisoner asked only for the classics. In the fifth year music was audible again, and the prisoner asked for wine. Those who watched him through the window said that all that year he spent doing nothing but eating and drinking and lying on his bed, frequently yawning and angrily talking to himself. He did not read books. Sometimes at night he would sit down to write; he would spend hours writing, and in the morning tear up all that he had written. More than once he could be heard crying.
     In the second half of the sixth year the prisoner began zealously studying languages, philosophy, and history. He threw himself eagerly into these studies - so much so that the banker had enough to do to get him the books he ordered. In the course of four years some six hundred volumes were procured at his request. It was during this period that the banker received the following letter from his prisoner:
     "My dear Jailer, I write you these lines in six languages. Show them to people who know the languages. Let them read them. If they find not one mistake I implore you to fire a shot in the garden. That shot will show me that my efforts have not been thrown away. The geniuses of all ages and of all lands speak different languages, but the same flame burns in them all. Oh, if you only knew what unearthly happiness my soul feels now from being able to understand them!" The prisoner's desire was fulfilled. The banker ordered two shots to be fired in the garden.
     Then after the tenth year, the prisoner sat immovably at the table and read nothing but the Gospel. It seemed strange to the banker that a man who in four years had mastered six hundred learned volumes should waste nearly a year over one thin book easy of comprehension. Theology and histories of religion followed the Gospels.
     In the last two years of his confinement the prisoner read an immense quantity of books quite indiscriminately. At one time he was busy with the natural sciences, then he would ask for Byron or Shakespeare. There were notes in which he demanded at the same time books on chemistry, and a manual of medicine, and a novel, and some treatise on philosophy or theology. His reading suggested a man swimming in the sea among the wreckage of his ship, and trying to save his life by greedily clutching first at one spar and then at another.
  The old banker remembered all this, and thought:
     "To-morrow at twelve o'clock he will regain his freedom. By our agreement I ought to pay him two million. If I do pay him, it is all over with me: I shall be utterly ruined."
     Fifteen years before, his millions had been beyond his reckoning; now he was afraid to ask himself which were greater, his debts or his assets. Desperate gambling on the Stock Exchange, wild speculation and the excitability whic h he could not get over even in advancing years, had by degrees led to the decline of his fortune and the proud, fearless, self-confident millionaire had become a banker of middling rank, trembling at every rise and fall in his investments. "Cursed bet!" muttered the old man, clutching his head in despair "Why didn't the man die? He is only forty now. He will take my last penny from me, he will marry, will enjoy life, will gamble on the Exchange; while I shall look at him with envy like a beggar, and hear from him every day the same sentence: 'I am indebted to you for the happiness of my life, let me help you!' No, it is too much! The one means of being saved from bankruptcy and disgrace is the death of that man!"
     It struck three o'clock, the banker listened; everyone was asleep in the house and nothing could be heard outside but the rustling of the chilled trees. Trying to make no noise, he took from a fireproof safe the key of the door which had not been opened for fifteen years, put on his overcoat, and went out of the house.
     It was dark and cold in the garden. Rain was falling. A damp cutting wind was racing about the garden, howling and giving the trees no rest. The banker strained his eyes, but could see neither the earth nor the white statues, nor the lodge, nor the trees. Going to the spot where the lodge stood, he twice called the watchman. No answer followed. Evidently the watchman had sought shelter from the weather, and was now asleep somewhere either in the kitchen or in the greenhouse.
     "If I had the pluck to carry out my intention," thought the old man, "Suspicion would fall first upon the watchman."
     He felt in the darkness for the steps and the door, and went into the entry of the lodge. Then he groped his way into a little passage and lighted a match. There was not a soul there. There was a bedstead with no bedding on it, and in the corner there was a dark cast-iron stove. The seals on the door leading to the prisoner's rooms were intact.
     When the match went out the old man, trembling with emotion, peeped through the little window. A candle was burning dimly in the prisoner's room. He was sitting at the table. Nothing could be seen but his back, the hair on his head, and his hands. Open books were lying on the table, on the two easy-chairs, and on the carpet near the table.
     Five minutes passed and the prisoner did not once stir. Fifteen years' imprisonment had taught him to sit still. The banker tapped at the window with his finger, and the prisoner made no movement whatever in response. Then the banker cautiously broke the seals off the door and put the key in the keyhole. The rusty lock gave a grating sound and the door creaked. The banker expected to hear at once footsteps and a cry of astonishment, but three minutes passed and it was as quiet as ever in the room. He made up his mind to go in.
     At the table a man unlike ordinary people was sitting motionless. He was a skeleton with the skin drawn tight over his bones, with long curls like a woman's and a shaggy beard. His face was yellow with an earthy tint in it, his cheeks were hollow, his back long and narrow, and the hand on which his shaggy head was propped was so thin and delicate that it was dreadful to look at it. His hair was already streaked with silver, and seeing his emaciated, aged-looking face, no one would have believed that he was only forty. He was asleep ... In front of his bowed head there lay on the table a sheet of paper on which there was something written in fine handwriting.
     "Poor creature!" thought the banker, "he is asleep and most likely dreaming of the millions. And I have only to take this half-dead man, throw him on the bed, stifle him a little with the pillow, and the most conscientious expert would find no sign of a violent death. But let us first read what he has written here ... "
     The banker took the page from the table and read as follows:
     "To-morrow at twelve o'clock I regain my freedom and the right to associate with other men, but before I leave this room and see the sunshine, I think it necessary to say a few words to you. With a clear conscience I tell you, as before God, who beholds me, that I despise freedom and life and health, and all that in your books is called the good things of the world.
     "For fifteen years I have been intently studying earthly life. It is true I have not seen the earth nor men, but in your books I have drunk fragrant wine, I have sung songs, I have hunted stags and wild boars in the forests, have loved women ... Beauties as ethereal as clouds, created by the magic of your poets and geniuses, have visited me at night, and have whispered in my ears wonderful tales that have set my brain in a whirl. In your books I have climbed to the peaks of Elburz and Mont Blanc, and from there I have seen the sun rise and have watched it at evening flood the sky, the ocean, and the mountain-tops with gold and crimson. I have watched from there the lightning flashing over my head and cleaving the storm-clouds. I have seen green forests, fields, rivers, lakes, towns. I have heard the singing of the sirens, and the strains of the shepherds' pipes; I have touched the wings of comely devils who flew down to converse with me of God ... In your books I have flung myself into the bottomless pit, performed miracles, slain, burned towns, preached new religions, conquered whole kingdoms.
     "Your books have given me wisdom. All that the unresting thought of man has created in the ages is compressed into a small compass in my brain. I know that I am wiser than all of you.
     "And I despise your books, I despise wisdom and the blessings of this world. It is all worthless, fleeting, illusory, and deceptive, like a mirage. You may be proud, wise, and fine, but death will wipe you off the face of the earth as though you were no more than mice burrowing under the floor, and your posterity, your history, your immortal geniuses will burn or freeze together with the earthly globe.
     "You have lost your reason and taken the wrong path. You have taken lies for truth, and hideousness for beauty. You would marvel if, owing to strange events of some sorts, frogs and lizards suddenly grew on apple and orange trees instead of fruit, or if roses began to smell like a sweating horse; so I marvel at you who exchange heaven for earth. I don't want to understand you.
     "To prove to you in action how I despise all that you live by, I renounce the two million of which I once dreamed as of paradise and which now I despise. To deprive myself of the right to the money I shall go out from here five hours before the time fixed, and so break the compact ..."
     When the banker had read this he laid the page on the table, kissed the strange man on the head, and went out of the lodge, weeping. At no other time, even when he had lost heavily on the Stock Exchange, had he felt so great a contempt for himself. When he got home he lay on his bed, but his tears and emotion kept him for hours from sleeping.
     Next morning the watchmen ran in with pale faces, and told him they had seen the man who lived in the lodge climb out of the window into the garden, go to the gate, and disappear. The banker went at once with the servants to the lodge and made sure of the flight of his prisoner. To avoid arousing unnecessary talk, he took from the table the writing in which the millions were renounced, and when he got home locked it up in the fireproof safe.