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Wisdom from the son of Armenia.

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  • Guhrtoutioun - education

    This essay discusses a system of education that emphasizes that a human being is much more than a combination of chemicals. He is matter and consciousness. The consciousness of a human being is not a mere combination of molecules or different chemicals as is the material body.

    Holistic education begins by understanding the real nature of a person. How can a teacher educate someone unless the real nature of a person is understood? Understanding the person means seeing that everyone has a temporary material and eternal spiritual nature. The temporary material body is animated by consciousness which is the symptom of the eternal, individual soul within the body.

    There are different theories of what is consciousness. One theory states that consciousness is a product of matter or chemical combination of matter. The second theory states that consciousness is not a product of material combination but is the symptom of the presence of a non-material or spiritual soul. The difference between matter and soul is that matter is inert by nature but appears active when the soul is present. Matter is not conscious, only the soul is conscious.

    When the soul is present in matter (meaning when a person is alive and his material body is animated by consciousness), matter seems to be conscious, but when the soul leaves the body, it becomes apparent that the material body loses consciousness. The soul is eternally individual and matter becomes ordered into a living organism by the presence of the soul. The soul is the moving force behind matter and makes matter appear sentient with consciousness. A simple example to understand the difference between dead matter and live matter is during a gold tournament. Let’s say Tiger Woods needs an ace or hole in one to win a championship. He is on the 18th hole and he hits the golf ball from the tee right up on the green and it goes toward the hole and just misses by a half inch. Woods physically expresses his frustration by throwing down his gold club and grimacing. The audience expresses their disappointment by making a soft groan of frustration. But, the golf ball is unperturbed. It has absolutely no expression of sadness or frustration or anything because it is only made of dead matter that has no consciousness.

    Matter does not have the qualities of morality, ethics, compassion, empathy, tolerance, patience, love, affection, mercy, humility, forgiveness, etc. Matter doesn’t feel happiness or pain. This can be proven by testing a person before death and after death. Before dying, a person can feel all these human sensations and emotions. After death the body of the departed soul does not feel or respond to any of these human states of consciousness.

    The above list of human qualities are not a product of matter just as consciousness is not. These qualities develop from the soul of the person as the soul evolves within the material or spiritual culture of knowledge and experience. A knife is not moral or immoral. However, when a knife is used by an expert surgeon to save a person’s life, it is used in a morally good way. If a knife is used by a thief to rob someone or kill them, it is used in a morally wrong or reprehensible way. Of itself, the material knife is not good or bad. It depends how it is used by a person. A knife is not conscious, but a person is because a person has a dual nature of matter and soul whereas the knife has matter minus the soul.

    Education that teaches academic subjects along with ethical behavior is directed toward a person who has a dual nature of matter and soul. The material body moves only because the soul is present within it. Training the person to use the body to serve the real purpose of the soul is the goal of value-based education.

    The soul is a person who seeks relationships and expresses human emotions in such relationships. The entire gamut of human emotions evolve in relationships with other persons. For these relationships to be real, fulfilling, inspiring, affectionate, loyal, sincere, and lasting, one needs to develop the spiritual side of human nature. The body changes. It grows and deteriorates, but the soul evolves if it is given the right inspiration and information.

    The body imprisons the soul, but the soul that evolves spiritually is liberated from the material oppression of birth, death, old age and disease. Liberation means gradual freedom from the routine of eating, sleeping, mating and defending. One is able to limit these bodily maintenance functions to a minimum to keep body and soul together so that one gains time for the gradual elevation of consciousness. As consciousness evolves, one’s perception becomes aware of the personal presence of God in all things. This universal vision endows one with perpetual feelings of love and humility in the presence of the beautiful Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus, one is liberated from the oppression of matter, limited material vision and superficial relationships based on the body rather than the soul. In such an elevated state of consciousness, one dedicates all activities and thoughts to serving God without any selfish motive.

    Sharing such universal vision with others by helping them gently and lovingly to rise up to such heights of consciousness is the real endeavor for the educator. The challenge for the educator is to find the ways and means to help others attain such transcendental vision. The step-by-step development of consciousness is described in the Bhagavad-gita, chapter 13 verses 8 to 12. Learning to see the presence of God within everything engenders the culture of respect and defeats prejudice and hatred based on bodily differences.

    Everything material and spiritual has a divine nature because it emanates from and is pervaded by God. Such a celebration of the sacred in even the most mundane thing makes life a constant discovery of God’s omnipresence. Instead of seeing unending differences, one begins to see the intimate connectivity of all things due to the presence of God within and without of everything. This is the difference between a positive or negative outlook on life; the difference between prejudice or acceptance. Prejudice comes from thinking superficial differences of body, color, language, etc., are irreversible or genetically predetermined. Acceptance evolves from seeing the common origin and interwoven relationships of all things to God beyond the limitations of the material body.

    There are primary and secondary qualities in nature. “Primary qualities are properties objects have that are independent of any observer, such as solidity, extension, motion, number and figure. These characteristics convey facts. They exist in the thing itself, can be determined with certainty, and do not rely on subjective judgments. For example, if a ball is round, no one can reasonably argue that it is a triangle. Secondary qualities are properties that produce sensations in observers, such as color, taste, smell, and sound. They can be described as the effect things have on certain people. Knowledge that comes from secondary qualities does not provide objective facts about things. Primary qualities are measurable aspects of physical reality. Secondary qualities are subjective.” (sourced from Wikipedia)

    The above is the conventional point of view about primary and secondary qualities. Although the primary qualities are measurable, they are constantly changing due to the volatile nature of matter.

    Thus, the most we can say about the measurable reality is that it’s reality is tenuous and dependent on our imperfect senses and instruments of measure. Like the secondary qualities, the primary qualities simply produce sensations in the observer because without senses and instruments of measurements that extend the range of perception of the senses it would be impossible to perceive the primary qualities. The primary qualities seem to have more permanence than the secondary qualities but such a belief is illusory because the nature of matter is continually changing.

    Some material objects change quickly and others change over a very long period of time. According to the Vedic knowledge and experience, matter goes through two phases: manifest and non-manifest. Matter is considered eternal like the soul, but it can manifest and then non-manifest. In the non-manifest stage, it is still existing although it cannot be perceived with the senses or instruments of the senses, This is because the time factor and the modes of material nature (goodness, passion and ignorance) come to an absolute stop or stillness and therefore, matter stops moving and interacting. Therefore, it cannot be perceived. It remains in an absolute inertial state.

    At most, the primary qualities are temporary and fluctuating and will disappear completely at some point of time. According to the Vedas, both the primary and secondary qualities of a material object are merely sensations perceived by the mind. The primary qualities seem to be more lasting or consistent for a certain time, but they will also alter or disappear because the form of an object is impermanent.

    Matter or material energy is permanent, but the objects that are formed are all impermanent. Some seem to last longer than others and thus one may claim they have primary qualities. These qualities are not inherent in the object itself but, like the secondary qualities, are no more than perceived impressions. The classical example is the human body. In the Bhagavad-gita 2.13 it says, “As the embodied soul continuously passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. A sober person is not bewildered by such a change.” Throughout our life from childhood to old age we observe that our body is changing. The changes can be in height, weight and many other measurable aspects. Yet, we as the observer remain the same although the body we inhabit changes significantly.

    Both the primary and secondary qualities of the body are fluctuating in time. One can say that the body one had at two years old is dead and gone when the person reaches twenty years old. But, the observer is not dead. The observer of the changes who inhabits the body remains the same throughout all the changes.

    Can the observer be measured and quantified as the primary quality of the person? The answer is yes. The observer’s awareness can be measured in terms of degrees of consciousness. Just as a person can take an IQ test or a teenager takes an SAT test, so a person can be administered a consciousness test to determine the degree they are conscious of reality. The different bodies of the observer during life have appeared and died, yet the observer remains to witness them from childhood, youth, maturity, middle age and old age.

    The degrees of consciousness are detailed in the Bhagavad-gita based on the influence by the three modes of material nature. (See Bhagavad-gita ch. 14) One can have consciousness influenced by ignorance, passion or goodness and a myriad number of intermediary combination of those three. For example, one may have consciousness that is 30 % ignorance, 50% passion and 20% goodness. The percentages can vary infinitely.

    It is also said, “The working senses are superior to dull matter; mind is higher than the senses; intelligence is still higher than the mind; and he (the soul) is even higher than the intelligence.” (Bg 3.42) From this verse, we can understand that a gradual evolution of consciousness is possible by which one can attain the spiritual level of pure goodness without any influence of ignorance and passion or mundane goodness.
    All three states are influenced by selfish desires. But pure goodness on the spiritual platform has no taint of selfish desires. The only concern on the spiritual plane is pure love of God and sharing that love with all others.

    Everything that is living has consciousness including plants and animals. According to the Vedas, all living beings and creatures have consciousness. According to the Vedas, there are 8 million four hundred thousand different species of living beings in the entire universe. In the Padma Purana, it is said, “There are 900,000 species of aquatics, 2,000,000 trees and plants, 1,100,000 germs, insects and reptiles, 1,000,000 birds, 3,000,000 mammals and 400,000 human species. Each of the eight million four hundred thousand species has a particular consciousness that is a mixture of goodness, passion and ignorance. It is only in the human form of life that there can be a dramatic evolution of consciousness that may rise to the pure spiritual leval where there is no longer any influence of the modes of nature. In all the lower forms or species than the human, the development of consciousness is limited by the type of body. The soul entrapped in the lower forms of species must patiently wait to rise to the human form before it can have the possibility to evolve consciousness above all material influence and attain eternal liberation from matter.

    Consciousness is measurable.

    Dr. Jagadishchandra Bose, an Indian scientist found that all plants have deeply embedded neural strands within their vascular bundles. While vascular bundles serve as agents of fluid transfer throughout the plant, the microscopic strands which Dr. Bose located demonstrate activity when adjacent plant parts are stimulated. Dr. Bose found that these strands exhibited negative electrical impulses when the plant was in any way disturbed or stimulated. He further found that such neural connections extended throughout the plant anatomy, effectively interlinking roots, stems, branches, leaves, and flowers. This great discovery explains responses which occur within the plant.

    One can similarly measure the consciousness of a living person before they die and right after they die. One can measure the consciousness of a child as compared to an adult. One can measure the consciousness of a person at different periods of their life from childhood to adulthood. The measurements concern the reception of sense perception and conceptualization of those sense objects by the person. Thus, there are different states of conscious awareness of a person that can be measured and evaluated by predetermined standards.

    There are two obstacles that cloud our pure consciousness and keep our eternal soul in the impermanent material world. They are the desire to exploit material nature with the subsequent attachment to matter such as our body, family, nation, ethnicity, and material possessions, etc., and the attempt to escape from the material world and its stringent laws through cultivating speculative knowledge and mechanical techniques. These two obstacles obstruct our ability to perceive correctly.

    Our perception is very limited. When we look at an object we see very little of it. For example, when you look at a person, you see only the surface of the body. You don’t see the veins, arteries, capillaries, bones, muscles, tendons, intestines, stool, urine, mucus, bile , etc. We don’t see or hear the working and thoughts of the mind and intelligence. There is so much we don’t perceive. Similarly, when we observe nature, we see only a tiny part of it without perception of all the intricate and subtle arrangements operating as we observe it.

    If our very limited power of perception is further clouded by the desire to control and exploit nature, then we exclude even more objectivity in perceiving what we are able to see. Thus, we are virtually in the dark during the entire duration of our life unless we are instructed how to optimize our powers of perception.

    Optimizing our powers of perception to the point that we actually perceive the personal presence of God in all things and everywhere is the goal of education. With such perception, we perceive the most fundamental primary quality of life, the soul and its relationship to the Supreme Soul and the correct use of the material energy which is meant to be used in the service of God. The real purpose of human life is achieved by such understanding and perception.

    Such perception is impossible as long as we are influenced by the material modes of passion and ignorance. The action of the modes of nature puts us into a sort of hypnotic state of mind in which we lose sight of reality and accept false perceptions as real. To understand how this happens we need to begin by understanding the evolution of life on earth.

    When scientists explain evolution they purport that life evolved from inorganic chemicals. The Vedas explain that matter evolved from consciousness or the spiritual soul. The background of all creation is the spiritual, eternal reality which is God and His expansions of infinite individual souls and infinite spiritual and material energies.

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  • Lav ehshem lav uhlam

    This proverb expresses the power of positive thinking. Our words have meaning. If we lie, we will perhaps cause lies to happen as a quirk of fate.

    There was a man who was able to build up a great amount of wealth. He kept his wealth as gold and jewels in a private place in his house. His living style was very frugal so that it was difficult to understand that he had wealth. One day a saint came to his house to beg alms. On being asked, the rich misery became impatient with the saint.

    He said, “I would like to give you something, but I have no money.”

    The all seeing saint said, “What about all the wealth you have hidden in your house?”

    The miser became worried, but maintained that he only had rubbish and other unwanted worthless things in his house. He lied because he had no intention of giving any alms to the saint.

    When the saint heard his words he said, “So be it.” He left dissatisfied.

    The miser went to his secret cache to see his wealth as he was accustomed to do since this was his only real joy in life. When he uncovered the cache of wealth, he saw only rubbish and unwanted worthless things instead of his money. He realized he made a big mistake by lying to the saint who left saying, “So be it.”

    By his own words and the power of the saint’s confirmation, his wealth was made worthless.

    We should always speak and wish good things for ourselves and others. We should do this by seeing the cheerful side of life rather than the dark side and always being thankful for our blessings. If we are blessed with wealth, we should use it generously to do good to our family and society. Above all, never lie to saintly people for it brings ruin to one’s life.

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  • (Psychopompe (from the Greek word (psychopompos), literally meaning the “guide of souls”) are creatures, spirits, angels, or deities in many religions whose responsibility is to escort newly deceased souls to the afterlife. Their role is not to judge the deceased, but simply provide safe passage)

    Long, long ago before we were in this world, a mother and father had a son who was the object of their love. They could never bear to be separated from their lovely son.

    The years went by and the boy reached adulthood and his parents began to age. The parents decided to send their son to a foreign country for education and to learn about other cultures. The parents were wealthy. They wanted their son to become an apprentice of a businessman so that he could one day manage their wealth and sustain himself after marriage.

    The parents made an agreement with traveling merchants, who agreed to educate their son while he traveled with their caravan. The merchants went from town to town and beyond to foreign countries selling their wares and purchasing new merchandise. It would be an ideal experience for the son to learn business dealings firsthand.

    The merchants went far and wide with their new apprentice. The caravan arrived at a lonely, vast prairie where the merchants stopped for the night. The apprentice was given the duty to stay awake all night to guard the caravan while the others slept. The youth made rounds of the caravan and each time ventured farther away. He took the opportunity to familiarize himself with the prairie. There were many flowers and tall grasses. His continual walking made him thirsty. He looked for a source of pure water. At the foot of a hill that was covered with flowers, he found a spring. Fortunately, the night was lighted by the full moon. He bent over the spring and satisfied his thirst with the sweet water. When he stood up, he saw hoary vision of an old man standing near him. The youth was somewhat frightened by the sudden appearance of the old man. He questioned him.

    “Old man, who are you? What are you doing here in this desolate place so late at night?”

    “It is none of your business! You satisfied your thirst, so get on your way.”
    The youth was intrigued by the old man. He pressed him to find out who he was. Seeing the youth’s determination to question him, the old man answered his queries.

    “You want to know who am I? I am the Archangel Gabriel, the conductor of souls that die!”

    Hearing that the old man was “the conductor of dead soul,” frightened the youth. He became pale.

    Yet, the youth was frightened and curious at the same time. He hesitated leaving, then decided to continue questioning the old man.

    “Old man, if you are really the conductor of dead souls, tell me please, how do you take the soul of a dying man?”

    The old man replied, “Your question is a very grave and serious one. Since you ask sincerely, I cannot refuse an answer. You go to the nearest village. There is a deathly sick man whose soul I must take. Go and see him and you will witness how I take the soul of a dying man.”

    With the answer to his question, the youth became determined to witness the imminent death of the sick man. The youth returned to guard the caravan. Early the next. morning,
    The merchants decided to set up their wares in the next village. The youth did not tell them about his strange encounter with the old man. He was pleased that the merchants decided to stop in the next village.

    That evening after the sale of wares, the youth ventured toward to house of the deathly sick man. As he neared the house, he could hear the soft crying of the women. He asked permission to enter the bedroom where the man was dying. When the youth entered the bedroom, he was shocked to see the angel of death holding the head of the dying man as if in a deadly struggle. Suddenly the sick man’s face became limp and he breathed his last. The Archangel Gabriel looked at the youth and said, “Are you satisfied?”

    The youth was frightened by what he saw. He exited the bedroom and waited outside for St. Gabriel. Soon the hoary saint appeared and said, “My son, did you see how I extracted the soul of the dying man?”

    “Yes, I witnessed it. However, I have another serious question to ask you. But please, do not refuse to answer me. Oh, good-hearted saint, please tell me the day and the hour of my death.”

    “If I tell you, my dear boy, you will despair and regret you ever dared ask me such a question!”

    The youth, however, pleaded that the saint tell him the eventful day of his death. Seeing the youth’s determination to know is hour of death, Saint Gabriel repeated again that such a revelation would cause the youth great mental pain and anguish. The young man continued to insist he wanted to know.

    “So be it,” said Saint Gabriel. “I will take your soul on your wedding night when you and your bride retire.”

    Hearing this news, the youth felt devastated.

    After traveling for five years with the caravan of merchants, the youth learned well the art of business and finance. He became homesick for his parents. Determined to see them again, he left the caravan and ventured home.

    His return caused great joy for his parents. They prayed out loud, “Glory to God, our only child is again with us safe and sound. He has matured into a educated young man. Now, our duty is to find him a suitable wife.”

    When the young man heard his parents wish, he felt discouraged inwardly. He regretted returning home. But, he could not disappoint his parents who fervently wanted him to marry and have children to continue their family name for future generations.

    He requested his parents to give him a few days to think about their wish for him. He wrestled with the thought in his mind and finally came to a conclusion that he could accept. He thought, “I am the son of wealthy parents. If I marry the daughter of wealthy parents like mine, after my death, she will most probably remarry. My parents will not have anyone to pass their wealth to when they die. However, if I marry the daughter of a poor family, after my death, such a girl will not dare get remarried for fear that she will
    not inherit my parent’s wealth. Thus, the poor girl will inherit all the wealth of my parents and I will have done a noble, charitable act by marrying her.”

    After a few days, the young man told his parents that he would comply with their wish for him to get married. He insisted on one condition. He would only consent to marry the daughter of a poor family.

    The parents agreed to their son’s wish. They found several respectable intermediaries to ask families of their acquaintance if they had a marriageable daughter. The father made his own inquiries in a neighboring town. He was informed that there was a very modest family with seven daughters. The parents were honest and faithful Christians and their daughters were all obedient. He was introduced to the family. When the mother and daughters saw such a rich and prominent man enter their meager home, they hid behind a curtain and the father of the girls felt somewhat self-conscious about his poor appearance and was tongue-tied. The rich father excused himself and went to the town’s bazaar and purchased clothes for all the family members. He had the clothes delivered by the merchant with a note that he would return the next day.

    When he knocked at the door of the poor family, he was greeted greated by the parents and the shy daughters. After some polite discussion, the rich father revealed his purpose of seeking a suitable marriageable girl for his son.

    The poor mother was shocked. She said, “My dear lord, is it possible that such a wealthy and respectable man as you seeks to marry his son to a daughter of such a lowly family as ours. Do you really want to connect your noble family with ours? I sincerely think you should not entertain such an unconventional idea.”

    The rich father gently persisted and finally the poor mother consented to let one of her daughters marry the rich man’s son.

    The rich father returned home and arranged for carpenters and other home improvement professionals make significant improvements to the home of the poor family. He engaged an interior decorator to refurbish the entire house with amenities such as tapestries, rugs and new furniture. The poor family’s dwelling was soon trans formed into a small but opulent home.

    The poor family was also given ample funds to maintain themselves and also participate in making the arrangements for their daughter’s dowry and marriage. The wedding day arrived and everyone was excited to witness the marriage of the rich young man to the daughter of the modest family. After the marriage, there was a procession of the two families and their relatives that accompanied the newly weds to their new home. The musicians played the flutes and zourna along with the davul and tambourines. The people danced with joy and the newly weds were showered with flower petals and rice as they rode horse drawn buggy.

    Finally, the newly weds were in their new house and all the guests said goodbye and left except the young man’s parents. The new bride retired to her nuptial bedroom. But the young man looked sad and worried. His parents were perplexed by his sad demeanor. He fervently held his parent’s hands and kissed them gently thanking them for their years of sacrifice and love. They were somewhat taken aback by his emotion. Little did they understand that he was saying farewell to them for eternity.

    The young man’s parents left thinking how their son was so moved to express such powerful words of love for them. At first they were shocked by what seemed to be a profound sadness on his part. Then they realized that their boy was expressing profound love and respect for them. They too were moved to tears by his words. The young man waited for a while on the steps of his house as his parents walked away.

    When he turned to enter the house, there was the archangel Gabriel waiting for him in the living room house. Saint Gabriel and the young groom were alone.

    Saint Gabriel was holding two lit candles with two ornate red roses. The saint spoke softly to the young man.

    “Very well done, my son. You have acted wisely and generously by marrying the poor girl and helping her family out of poverty for the rest of their lives. I will spare you the horror of death on your nuptial night. I bless you to live a long life because your gracious example of sacrifice to help the poor and underprivileged will serve as an example to inspire the youth of your generation. I pray that other young men and women learn the merits of such noble behavior that you have voluntarily exemplified.”

    Thus, the noble young man was spared death by his acts of charity for the poor and respect and love for his parents. May the reader also achieve the benediction of God and fruition of his or her most cherished desires.

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  • vorkan mart aradatzehr ullah, aynkan abakahn pari gullah

    There was a poor Armenian priest with a young daughter. His wife had died during childbirth.The priest would go see the king everyday during his public audience. The priest would repeat a phrase he learned when he was a young boy.

    “Dear King, may you live long, ‘the more a man is generous, the better his future will be.’”

    The king would give him a silver coin for his good counsel. The priest
    would use the silver coin to maintain his small church and feed his daughter.

    One day, the king thought, “Why am I giving the priest a silver coin everyday for repeating the same sentence. Why does he say the same thing everyday? Is he mocking me as if I am not generous?”

    When the priest came for the audience, the king asked, “Why do you repeat the same phrase every time you see me? Are you making fun of me?”

    The priest said, “No Sire.”

    “Today, I will give you nothing. When you explain why you repeat the same thing everyday, I will reward you. If not, I will punish you severely,” said the king.

    The priest returned home in despair. The phrase he repeated everyday to the king was by habit. His father had taught him and he repeated it because it had a good message and encouraged people to be generous. He was not sure if such an explanation would satisfy the king.

    His young daughter approached the priest. “Father, why are you looking so worried? Has something happened?”

    “I am not sure you can help,” said the priest. “You are so young and innocent. The king will kill me unless I explain why I repeat the phrase
    ‘The more a man is generous, the better his future will be,’ everyday when I see him.”

    The daughter asked the priest to send a note to the king asking him to visit the church and speak to his young daughter. She would explain why the priest repeated the same proverb every day to the king.

    The next day the king came to see the young girl. She told him she could explain the meaning, but it was more important that he hear it from a saintly young hermit who lived in the same cave where Narekgatzi lived centuries before on the bank of Lake Van.

    The king found the young hermit and asked him why the priest always repeated the same phrase. The saintly hermit began to shed tears. He advised the king to hear the meaning from a leper woman who lived in a cave near the Sourp Garabed monastery on the outskirts of Mush.

    The king found the leper woman and asked her why the priest always repeated the same phrase to him.

    She began to speak in a solemn tone. “Listen, great king, may you live long. In your former life, you were a very generous man who gave most of the profit from his business to to the poor and needy. You and you saintly wife, whose heart was pure, were satisfied to live a modest life so that you could do good to others. You had an only son who was always obedient to you. He was married to a woman who was greedy. Soon after you died, your wife also died and, by a quirk of fate you son died after a few years. The greedy wife of your son inherited the business and wealth. She was not interested in giving in charity. She used the wealth in a selfish and self-serving way.”

    “Your wife is now the daughter of the priest. Your son is the hermit. And I am your son’s wife. Look what has happened to me for being greedy and unkind to the poor! I am suffering terribly because I did not use my hands to give to the poor. They are now shriveled and stumps of suffering. It was necessary that you hear this explanation from me.”

    The king returned to his palace and became more determined than ever to share his good fortune and wealth with the needy and do good for all his kingdom’s subjects.

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  • mahrtgoutioun gahzmahgehrbuhvahdz yehv ousheem tzehvohv chahroutiahn dzotzuh gehrtah

    This statement was coined by Patanjali, one of the greatest philosophers of yoga practice in India. He compiled 195 sutras (called the Yoga Sutras) or concise aphorisms that serve as a system for living a moral life and gradually elevating one’s consciousness to realize and see the presence of God within oneself. Patanjali inspired his students to meditate intensely until they actually see God situated in their heart. His purpose was to lead mankind to serve God eternally once they realize that the truth of God’s presence in their heart was the supreme truth that they are seeking.

    Patanjali understood that without introspection about the nature of reality, promoted by strict self-control and gradual practice of meditation, mankind would condemn itself by progressive acts of evil and subsequent moral degradation. Thus he coined this profound proverb, “Mankind is embracing evil in an intelligent and organized way.”

    He developed his yoga system to overcome the degrading forces of
    evil and self destruction.

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  • I have four wives. One has a bad disposition, one has bad teeth, one’s leg is shorter than the other, one doesn’t know how to cook, and none of them have given birth to a son, therefore I am looking for another wife.
    chohrss geen ounehm, ahratcheenuh vad puhnoutioun ounee, yehrgrrohtuh ahdahmnehr puhdatz ehn, yehroteen mehg dzounguh mouissehn gahrj eh, chohrotuh jahss ehpehl chee kidehr. votch megehl dughah yehrehkhah chee pehrahv. tahrtzyalh geen guh puhnduhrehm

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  • Once a student asked his teacher, “Who am I? I want to know the truth.”

    The teacher pointed to the student’s hand and asked, “Whose hand is this?”

    The student was surprised. He answered, “It is I mine!”

    The teacher pointed to his head and asked, “Whose head it this?”

    The student said, “Of course, it is mine!”

    After pointing to many parts of the body of the student and receiving the same answer, the teacher said, “Every part of the body I pointed to, you claim to be yours, but I ask you now, “Where are you?”

    The student was perplexed. He realized that whatever part of his body the teacher pointed to, whether inside or outside the body, he would be obliged to answer , “It belongs to me.” Therefore, he could not say that he is the body. Just as he could not say that he is the house or the car or the clothes. He realized he may own many things, but he can still be different than those things.

    All the things that the student claimed to be his could be lost or taken away from him or become obscured to his mind due to sleep or unconsciousness. Still, he would continue to exist. He pondered the thought that even in an unconscious state like a coma he could continue to exist. He began to wonder that death may only be a state of unconsciousness. So even if his body dies, he may continue to exist, but without consciousness.

    He spoke to the teacher. “I understand now that I am not this body.
    Whether I am awake, sleeping or in a coma, I continue to exist. But what happens if I die? Is death like a coma or deep sleep? Or do I cease to exist when my body dies? Do I exist separate from my body?
    The student was perplexed.

    The teacher asked, “How many times have you changed your body in your life?”

    The student was surprised by the question. He said, “I have always had the same body.”

    The teacher replied, “The truth is you have changed your body many times in your life. Think about it.” You were in your mother’s womb as a fetus. Your were pushed out by contractions as a baby. You grew into a little boy, an adolescent, a man. You will continue perhaps to become middle aged, then old age and finally death. At every stage of your growth and aging you changed your body, but you remain the same person who witnesses the changes.”

    “Your body is a collection of atoms, molecules, chemicals, etc., which appear, and disappear, but you have remained the observer of all the changes of your body. Obviously, you are different than your body. Where is the body you had in the womb of your mother, Where is the body you had as a baby, as a boy, as an adolescent. All those bodies have died long ago, but you are still alive and continuing to observe the changes because you have not died. Death will be the final change of your body in this life because, as a material thing, it will be worn out and not able to function properly anymore. But you will continue to exist and, if you are not self-realized, you will receive a new material body that will again go through the same cycle as your previous body: namely, birth, old age, disease and death.”

    “The following information is necessary to understand this cycle of birth and death. Beside a gross body made of earth water, fire, air and space, you also have a subtle body made of mind, intelligence and ego. You can experience this when you sleep. Your gross body sleeps, but you may continue to dream in your mind and experience so many things that seem just as real as when you are awake.”

    “The subtle body does not die when your gross body dies. It is very durable and functions as the vehicle that carries your eternal soul from one gross material body to another.”

    “The eternal soul is covered by two bodies, one gross and the other subtle. We can understand what the gross body is, but the subtle body needs some clarification. The subtle body is different than the soul. The subtle body is made of mind, intelligence and false ego.
    The mind is considered the sixth sense because it receives information from the other five sense, which are the eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin. The mind stores the information received from the five senses like the memory of a computer. The intelligence is the faculty to discern or differentiate the information of the senses into good and bad, amusing, painful, etc. It refers to the power to analyze things in their proper perspective. The proper use of intelligence is to understand what is spirit and what is matter. Such discernment by intelligence results in spiritual knowledge or knowing the distinction between matter and spirit. Mundane knowledge that one may obtain in the university pertains only to matter.”

    “Above the intelligence is the false ego, which is defined as the impression that “I am a product of material nature.” This false belief is validated by mundane education which teaches the theory of chemical evolution. This theory states that living entities arose from a collection of chemical substances through a progressive series of chemical reactions. This theory began to gain acceptance after the German scientist, Friedrich Wöhler, successfully synthesized for the first time an organic compound (urea) from inorganic reactants. He is quoted as saying, ‘I cannot, so to say, hold my chemical water and must tell you that I can make urea without thereby needing to have kidneys, or anyhow, an animal, be it human or dog.’ The chemical evolution theory developed after Wöhler because he demonstrated that an organic chemical can be produced starting with inorganic chemicals. Nearly two hundreds years later, no scientists has been able to produce a living being from chemicals even though scientists can make many organic chemicals.”

    “The existence of a false ego implies that there is a real ego. The real ego is identifying oneself with the eternal soul and not with the temporary material body. When one understands that my soul is the eternal servant of God, one has purified consciousness and acts with real ego that directs the purified intelligence and mind to use the body and all material things uniquely in the service of God.”

    “The ego is the self identity called “I am.”

    “False ego identifies oneself as ‘I am the controller and enjoyer of all I survey. I am a product of matter.’ The two psychic divisions of this material consciousness or false ego are ‘I am the creator, and I am the enjoyer.’”

    “The real ego is manifested when one has purified consciousness. ‘I am not the creator or enjoyer,’ is realized knowledge. ‘My real position is to be a cooperator with the original creator and enjoyer, God. I am part and parcel of God, just as a part of the body cooperates with the body, or the part of a machine cooperates with the whole machine. The Supreme Lord is the enjoyer and creator, and I, as a subordinate, am meant to cooperate to satisfy the Lord. Such cooperation is in my best interest.’”

    “As long as one is not free of the false ego, the intelligence functions in the wrong concept that matter is all in all and manipulation or control of matter for temporary pleasures is the goal of life. This illusory concept contaminates the world view of the living entity. One can spend their whole life attempting to control and enjoy the temporary matter for sense enjoyment.”

    “One develops strong attachments to temporary material things and relationships. Such strong attachments engender feelings of love and hate, happiness and sadness and many more dual feelings that further entangle and confuse the person.”

    “Such entanglement is a result of the false ego and the reactions one experiences due to the laws of material nature or karma. These reactions are experienced as sickness, pain, mental disturbance, anxiety, stress, nervousness, disabilities, legal problems, poverty, natural disasters, political, economic, social problems, etc.
    All of the above are unnecessary, but they are experienced as long as one is under the influence of the false ego.”

    “Some false teachers put forward the theory that the ego must be destroyed or eliminated to achieve spiritual emancipation. This is also a false concept because the soul is eternal and the real ego cannot be destroyed. The false ego can be purified, but real ego cannot be destroyed.”

    “Therefore, the subtle body made of mind, intelligence and false ego will continue to carry the eternal soul from one temporary gross body to another until the false ego, intelligence and mind are purified. When the subtle body is purified, it functions as the vehicle to liberate the soul from material entanglement. Using the mind, intelligence, the senses and the body in the service of God will liberate a person from the cycle of birth and death. By remembering God at the moment of death will free the soul to return to the spiritual world in its spiritual form as the eternal servant of God.”

    The student was thrilled by the teacher’s explanation. He needed time to assimilate all the information. He realized he wanted to ask more questions to the teacher to understand how to specifically purify the false ego. He already understood that theoretical knowledge is practically useless without practical experience that leads to realized knowledge.

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  • aghkahdee khuhnahmk chee duhvoghuh uhndahneek ou ohjagh guh gohrsinchouneh (one who refuses to give charity to the poor will lose family and hearth)

    The Rich man and his poor neighbor

    There were neighbors, one rich and the other poor, who lived in a village. The poor neighbor hardly made ends meet. Whenever the rich man’s wife cooked fresh bread in her outdoor clay and brick oven, the poor man would send his wife to ask for a loaf. This was the custom in the village.

    One day the wife of the poor man came to ask for a new loaf of freshly baked bread. By providence, the wife of the rich man was in a bad mood. She spoke harshly to the poor man’s wife. “What are you here for? My husband works day and night, sometimes he doesn’t even sleep. But your husband sleeps with his head propped up on a soft pillow.
    Why doesn’t he get a job and work like my husband!”

    The poor man’s wife returned home. She repeated everything the rich man’s wife told her. The poor man was very hurt by the nasty remarks his wife repeated. He tried to find some way to end his day to day subsistence by becoming wealthy enough to maintain his family comfortably. He asked his wife, “Tell me please, do we have any bread in the house?” “There is one loaf left,” she said. “Please bring now,” he said.

    She gave him the bread. He divided it into five pieces, one for his wife, one for each of his three children and one for himself. Hr informed his wife that he was leaving for a short time to find some wealth to maintain the family. He asked her to be patient and pray that he would return quickly.

    It was still the early afternoon. He walked briskly toward the forest hoping to find some miracle. After walking a long distance, it became night and the darkness in the forest made him feel very uncomfortable. He found an old windmill on the bank of a river that was in ruins. He entered and looked for a room that may shelter him for the night. He went up into the windmill tower and laid down to sleep. He could hardly sleep due to the sounds of the deep forest. He noticed that a fox entered the hall of the windmill followed by a wolf and then a bear. He began to curse his fate. They would certainly sense his presence and perhaps kill him.

    The fox raised his snout and sniffed the air. He said, “I can smell a man somewhere in this windmill. I know the scent of those wretched humans.”

    “You smell a human! What kind of nonsense is that! What man would be in this broken down mill? This a forsaken place not fit even for us,” said the wolf and the bear.

    They began to talk amongst themselves. The bear said, “Brother fox, what did you do today?”

    “While prowling the forest, I came upon two pump chickens in the forest. I tried my best to kill them, but they ran like scared chickens and made a lot of chicken noise. The chicken farmer came running with his shotgun and started to shoot. It scared the heck out of me and I ran as fast as I could to get away. I went to my hideout near a big tree. I have a pot of gold hidden there buried at the base of the tree. When I am not feeling good, I roll on the grass above the pot. It makes me feel better,” said the fox.

    “And you, brother wolf, what did you do today?” asked the fox.

    “I thought it was my lucky day when I came upon a flock of fat sheep,” said the wolf.
    I was ready to devour them one by one, but the sheep dog wouldn’t let me get near. You know, men are not really intelligent. They don’t realize how valuable the brain of a sheep dog is. It is a real panacea for ailments. For example, the daughter of the emperor of Stamboul is afflicted with leprosy. If I go to see the king and claim I can heal her, he will surely let me try as he is hopelessly desperate. I will fill seven big pots with water and bring them to a boil and maintain it until all seven pots are almost empty. Then I will empty the water remaining in all seven pots into one and place the brain of a sheep dog in it. Next, I will bathe the king’s daughter in the medicinal water. She will get cured of her dreadful disease and the king will give me whatever I desire.”

    The fox and the wolf look at the bear and ask, “What did you do today, brother bear?”

    “I was in the forest looking for a morsel to eat. I encountered a calf that had lost its way in the forest. I easily killed it. I carried the calf to my cave and ate its tasty flesh. After the meal, I slept with my belly button up on my huge pot with seven handles filled with gold coins.”

    At dawn, the three wild animals left the windmill. The man felt great relief seeing the carnivorous beast leave. He praised Jesus and Mary for his good fortune. “I have nothing to fear now,” he said. He set out to get his fortune. He saw the fox rolling on the wet grass at the base of a big tree. He made loud menacing noises and scared the fox, who ran away. He dug up the pot of gold and emptied its precious coins in his sack.

    The poor man began to gloat about his good fortune. He decided to take a chance and go to Stamboul. On the way, he encountered a shepherd and his flock.

    “Pray tell me brother shepherd, how much will you sell your sheep dog?” asked the poor man.

    “Ten gold coin and not any less,” said the shepherd.

    “So be it,” said the poor man. He handed ten gold coins to the shepherd and took the dog. After walking a considerable distance, the poor man killed the dog and took out its brain. He placed the brain in his sheep skin pouch and continued his journey.

    He continued his journey walking forty days from the interior of Anatolia to Stamboul.
    It was not an easy journey, but he prevailed and finally reached the capital of the empire. Walking through the streets, he cried out, “I am a healer, a healer. I have come to heal the emperor’s daughter!”

    The news of the poor man’s claim to heal the leprous girl was communicated to the emperor. He ordered his guards to bring the healer to him. When the healer arrived, the emperor asked him, “What kind of medicine do you have? Can you heal my daughter?”

    “May the emperor live long.” said the healer. “I can heal her by the mercy of God if only you listen to what I ask of you.”

    “Ok, do what you know is necessary,” said the emperor.

    The healer asked and received seven boilers. He had a stove built with heavy stones and had the boilers placed on the stones. He had the workers build a powerful fire under the boilers. The water boiler harder and harder until the volume was reduced to almost nil.
    The healer emptied the remaining water into one boiler. He opened his sheep skin pouch and took out the sheep dog’s brain and placed it in the boiler with the water. He continued to boil the water with the brain until the brain seemed to dissolve in the water like a broth. The volume of the water was reduced to half and the broth became thick.

    He asked the king to bring his daughter. After the water was cool enough, he had the teen bath with the thick broth three times. After the bath, she went to sleep. The next day, she was miraculously healed of leprosy. Her skin appeared like the soft skin of a new born baby.

    The emperor was overwhelmed with appreciation for the healer. This was truly a miracle that unraveled before his eyes. He summoned all the important men in his royal city to a banquet to honor the healer. When everyone was present in the royal dining hall, the king began to address the healer.

    “Tell me now, my dear man, what will you like to receive from me as a reward for saving my daughter’s life?” said the emperor.

    “May the king live a long and prosperous life,” said the healer. “I don’t want anything. Please order one hundred of your soldiers with five cannons and ten chariots to accompany me back to my home village.”

    “So be it,” said the king. The healer was thrilled by the king’s generosity. He thanked him over and over again. Accompanied by the soldiers, the healer left for his native land.
    He led the soldiers into the forest because he was looking for the bear. As soon as he found the cave of the bear, he ordered the soldiers to bomb it with the cannons. There were many explosions that caused the bear to hurl and panic. It fled into the forest to escape the terrible explosions.

    The healer entered the cave and found the huge pot full of gold with seven handles where the bear slept previously. With great haste, he packed the gold into bags and placed them on the chariots. He proceeded with his guards as quickly as possible toward his village.
    His wife and family were overjoyed to greet him and discover his new found wealth.
    Everyday the healer/poor man glorified God for blessing him with such good fortune. Now he was peaceful and happy with his wife and children.

    The rich neighbor noticed that the poor man’s wife no longer came begging for bread. He thought to himself, “Well now, what has become of my brother, the poor neighbor? I have heard so many rumors about him. What is all this about? The whole village is murmuring that the poor man has become rich. Everyone is treating him with respect. How did he do it? They are saying he went to sleep one night in the abandoned windmill that is in ruins. Somehow the next day he became rich.”

    After thinking like this, the rich man did some investigation to verify of the rumors were true. He also spoke to his wife, “I can’t stand it that the poor idiot became fabulously rich. It is eating away at my pride that such a lazy fool could be so successful. Maybe I should sleep overnight in the broken down windmill. What do you think?”

    “You’re right. Do it right away tonight! Do let them do it again. They might become richer than us. I couldn’t stand it if they did. Go tonight and bring back more gold than them,” said the envious wife.

    The husband listened to his wife and went off to reach the windmill by nightfall. Just as the sun set, he entered the abandoned windmill. He went upstairs and settled in to sleep the night. Around midnight, he heard sounds in the entrance of the windmill. He saw three wild animals: a fox, wolf and a bear. They were having a conversation. The fox said, “I can smell the odor of a man. This time I am sure some man is here in the windmill.”

    “What odor of a man,” said the bear. What would a man being doing in the forsaken place? It is not possible.”

    The fox began to look around as he said, “The both of you stay here while I walk look upstairs. We made the mistake last night. Obviously someone was here who later robbed us all.”

    As the fox made the rounds, he came upon the frightened rich man hiding upstairs. He alerted the others that a man was among them in the windmill. The bear and the wolf cried out, “Bring him here. Bring him here. He is the one that robbed us clean. Bring him here so we can rip him apart!”

    The fox chimed back, “His kidneys are for me.”

    The three carnivorous animals tore the rich man’s body apart and devoured him. They left the windmill satiated with blood and flesh.

    After a long absence of the rich man, his wife began to search for him. She asked friends and relatives to find him. They looked everywhere to no avail. The wife told them about the windmill and how her husband went there to find wealth like their neighbor. The searchers found several dried human bones and remains in the abandoned windmill. They returned the remains for burial. It was truly a sad day. The rich man’s family wailed in grief.

    It is said, “One who ignores to give charity and help to the poor will lose his family and home.”

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  • sahdkadz hahvee vurrah vohdkut tuhnehs neh guh bohrah

    This proverb is used when someone is normally quiet and reserved until someone brings up a topic that that touches a nerve.

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  • sahruh sahreen chee hahsnee, paiytz mahrtuh mahrtoun guh hahsnee

    This proverb cautions that we should not mistreat a person thinking that there will never be any consequences in the future.

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