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Wisdom from the son of Armenia.

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  • Yehrgaht dzahmnehlou hahmar, boghbahdeh ahkuhrahnehr behdk eh ouhnehnahl

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  • Shounuh eerehn gahmkeetz hehrou chee yehrtahl mahrtuh eerehn paghteetz

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  • The cause of anger is explained in the ancient Vedic literature.

    While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person develops attachment for them, and from such attachment lust develops, and from lust anger arises.

    From anger, complete delusion arises, and from delusion bewilderment of memory. When memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost, and when intelligence is lost one falls down again into the material pool. (Bhagavad-gita 2, 62-63)

    Entrapment in the material world begins by not seeing things properly. When we look at an object without acknowledging to whom it may belong, we begin to imagine that we can control and enjoy it. Such thoughts are the root of material desires and subsequent troubles.

    We begin the subtle process of thinking, feeling and willing about the object. We first think about the qualities of the object. Next, we feel how good it would be to own and enjoy the object. Then, we make a decision of will that we must have the object to be happy. The psychological processes of thinking, feeling, and willing are the inspiration for performing action (or work). Becoming convinced that our desires need to be fulfilled is the subtle form of action.

    First, we hear about or observe an object. We acquire knowledge of the object. We, as the knower, undergo the process of thinking, feeling, and willing. Thus there is the knower, the object of knowledge and the knowledge of the object. These are called the impetus to action.

    As our contemplation of the object gets more intense, we evolve from desire to attachment and then lust or the obsessive desire to control and enjoy an object. Once there is strong attachment or excessive desire and attachment (lust), if we are in any way hindered or frustrated in our attempt to control and enjoy the object, we become angry. Anger comes right after frustration.

    Anger after frustration has definite symptoms such as, heavy breathing, tendency to use harsh language, possibility of violence, swelling of the chest and tensing of the muscles and facial expressions such as sharp eye contact, raising of the eyebrows or furrowing of the forehead, rashness of thought, increased heartbeat, and quick conclusions of retaliation, etc.

    From anger delusion develops. The state of delusion occurs when one believes to be true or real something that is false or unreal. The conviction: “I am the controller and I am the enjoyer” is the basis of the delusion. This requires explanation as it is difficult for most people to accept that such a thought is actually delusional.

    The basic concept of property and proprietorship determines the organization of society from the life of an individual to the entire population. For example, in modern day countries there are differences of social organization founded on a basic concept of proprietorship. In a capitalist country, the assumption is that the individual is the proprietor and the majority of laws protect personal property. In a socialist country, the state is the most prominent proprietor and most of the laws protect state ownership. In a monarchy, the king and nobles are the main proprietors. In a communist state, ideally the commune or the working class people collectively are the proprietor. In a dictatorship, the dictator, his family and friends such as his military, industrial, and banking cronies are the proprietors. Every one of these concepts of property ownership and the social institutions that protect such concepts are flawed.

    If I make a mistake at the beginning of solving a mathematical problem, I will most probably get the whole problem wrong. A mistake in the beginning will give me a wrong result in the end. Similarly, if the most fundamental concept on which an entire society is built (the concept of proprietorship) is wrong, then how can we expect the people in that society to be happy and eventually achieve the goal of human life?

    Today, we live in the United States of America. Did this country exist five hundred years ago? The answer is no. Will this country exist five hundred years in the future. The answer is we do not know! We can conclude that the existence of this great country or any country for that matter is temporary. The same can be said about anything we believe that we own. At most, we temporarily own something. Even during the period that we temporarily own something, we do not really own it. We can lose a possession at any time due to a variety of causes. If all the above mentioned concepts of proprietorship are wrong, then what is the right concept of proprietorship?

    Before we answer the question, first let us consider the following. If all the above concepts of proprietorship are wrong, then we must be in a state of delusion if we believe we are the proprietor. I might accept rather easily that I am not the proprietor of the state of Colorado. But, I am hard pressed to accept I am not the proprietor of my body or my bank account. The truth is that I am not really the proprietor of my own body because so many functions of the body are taking place that are completely out of my control. I may reside within the body, but it is functioning in mysterious ways that are beyond my comprehension and conscious determination. I don’t control my heartbeat, the blinking of my eyes, my entire digestive system, and so many other vital processes of the body. I don’t control the aging process and ultimately, I don’t control birth, disease and death. Then how can I pretend that I am the owner of the body when I do not really control its vital functions.

    Through honest self inspection one can understand that any claim to proprietorship is very temporary and always dependent on some superior authority such as the state or anyone with overpowering force, natural laws, and ultimately God. The person who controls nature and its insurmountable laws is the real proprietor of everything by virtue of his overpowering force. We see this force in hurricanes, tidal waves, earthquakes and any massive display of natural force. The strongest army in the world, the US Armed forces, with all its sophisticated weapons could not stop hurricane Katrina from destroying most of a modern American City, New Orleans. Therefore, no one and no nation can claim to be proprietor except the Supreme controller of everything or God Himself.

    At the most, our claims to proprietorship are temporary and always dependent on superior authority and ultimately God. If I believe that I am the absolute owner (or enjoyer) and controller, then I am in a state of delusion.

    From such a state of delusion, our memory becomes confused. We forget who we are, where we are, what the purpose of life is, what are our limits, what are our duties and responsibilities. From this confused memory, we lose our intelligence or our power to discriminate of right from wrong. Then we fall down into a whirlpool of frenzied activity that is ultimately destructive to ourselves and others. Unless we learn to see things correctly as owned and controlled by God, we become prone to developing material desires and acting in selfish and self destructive ways. God has made an arrangement by which He has set aside our minimum needs. However, when we take more than what we need, we become victims of our own greed by which others may be denied their minimum needs. We then become subject to the laws of material nature or the natural correction for our greed.

    Case Study 1:
    An immigrant from India, named Karthik Rajaram, committed a murder suicide of his family on October 7, 2008. The following article appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

    “A Porter Ranch father of three, emotionally distraught over the economy murdered his family and then killed himself last weekend. From the article posted today:

    On Sept. 16, he bought a gun. He wrote two suicide notes and a last will and testament. And then, sometime between Saturday night and Monday morning, he killed his wife, mother-in-law and three sons, and took his own life.

    “This is a perfect American family behind me that has absolutely been destroyed, apparently because of a man who just got stuck in a rabbit hole, if you will, of absolute despair, somehow working his way into believing this to be an acceptable exit,” said LAPD Deputy Chief Michel Moore. “It is critical to step up and recognize we are in some pretty troubled times.”

    In a letter addressed to police, Rajaram blamed his actions on economic hardships. A second letter, labeled “personal and confidential,” was addressed to family friends; the third contained a last will and testament, Moore said.”

    This tragic murder suicide is a classic example of how a person can lose complete control of the their rational sense of self-preservation and commit a horrible murder-suicide of himself and his own family. A friend of Mr. Rajaram wrote an interesting comment: “He is the product of the totality of his upbringing and initial successes in achieving the American Dream - he could not have imagined that he could lose $2 million in a few years, after having earned it over two decades. Having lost the money, his sense of control would have eroded rapidly.”

    Mr. Rajaram was educated in India at the prestigious University IIT and graduated with a a distinguished scholastic record. He attended UCLA and then began a career in stock market brokerage and investment. He became materially successful. But, with the economic downturn and the dramatic down swing of the stock market, he lost everything he had made. He was ruined financially. The frustration, humiliation and anger from such loss made him lose his mental equilibrium. He decided to kill himself and his entire.

    The materialistic education and goals of Mr. Rajaram left him bereft of any spiritual values that could have given him more substantial perspective in life than mere material accumulation. He became obsessively attached to material accumulation. When he lost his wealth, he could not imagine a life bereft of it. By being attached to something temporary causes anxiety and fear. Without spiritual knowledge of the our permanent soul and its eternal relation to God, we become vulnerable like Mr. Rajaram to the unavoidable changes of fortune in material existence. Material frustration leads to anger, delusion, bewilderment of memory, loss of intelligence and finally falling into whirlpool of self-destructive behavior.

    The allurement of the material world is the desire for sense gratification. Such gratification is necessarily selfish, self centered and often passionate. The progression of seeing an object and meditating on it, developing attachment for it from which lust arises. When the lust is frustrated, there is anger. From anger comes delusion. From delusion comes bewilderment of memory; then, loss of intelligence and finally falling down into irresponsible behavior. This progression can happen very quickly. It can occur in a few seconds or develop over an extended period of time.

    The important issue is whether a person has control of their senses and mind. There are four activities that render mind and sense control almost impossible. They are: gambling and philosophical speculation, meat eating, intoxication and illicit sex. These four material activities undermine truthfulness (gambling and speculation), austerity and humility (meat eating), mercifulness (intoxication) and cleanliness (illicit sex). These four principles are the universal principals of spirituality. Undermining these principles by the four material activities of gambling, meat eating, intoxication and illicit sex, a person becomes very prone to being a victim of the slippery slope of imperfect observation to loss of intelligence and destructive behavior. When a person can regulate material activities based on the universal spiritual principles, they become capable of self control. The intelligence exercises its discriminative powers and can project into the future to see the consequences of rash behavior. It acts to avoid the senseless dive into the abyss self destructive behavior and causing harm to others.

    There is an example of a man who is dreaming while asleep. He cries, “Tiger, tiger…It is eating me!” Another person who is awake witnesses the sleeping man’s emotional cries. He smiles and wonders “Where is the tiger?” The dreaming man is crying and moaning, “Tiger, tiger, tiger.” One does not have to be in a state of dreaming to be in illusion. An illusion is accepting something for what it is not due to either imperfect hearing or seeing. If we see water in the desert or mistake a rope for a snake, we may accept that the reflection of the sun on the hot sand is actually water when it is not or the rope is actually a snake when it is not. These are examples of illusions. When we believe that the illusions are really factual, we are in a state of delusion.

    Sometimes politicians claim, “This is my land. This is my country.” Another group of politicians claim the same land and say, “This is my land, my country.” The two sides begin to fight and kill each other. Both sides are in a state of delusion. The land does not belong to either side. It belongs to God. But they are claiming my land, my country. But how long will they live to enjoy their land and country? It is an illusion to accept God’s property as one’s own property.

    Without understanding our real position, we remain perplexed in the midst of the problems of this world which are all caused by false claims. The root cause of the illusion is the material conception of “I” and “Mine” or the false idea that I am the controller and enjoyer.

    Once a king was about to die. He ordered that a coffin be made with two holes. When asked why he said, “I am a most powerful king with untold wealth. But when I die, I want the people to see my hands protruding from the coffin. I want them to see that I left this world empty handed even though I was so wealthy and powerful.” “Dust thou art and dust thou shalt become,” is the Biblical saying. It rings true. Any claim to proprietorship (even of our own body) is a false claim. The only true proprietor is God. If we learn to use everything in the service of God, then we can escape from the chains of illusion and self destructive behavior. Most disputes and wars in this world are based on territorial claims. Individually we attempt to be the controller and enjoyer. This attempt is spread to an entire society or nation. Then one nation desires to control and enjoy another nation. All wars are fought for sense gratification. One nation wants to enjoy their senses in one way and another nation in another way and they fight for domination for their own brand of sense gratification. It is all false and illusory.

    Case Study 2:
    Another interesting example is a story about Hazrat Ali, the famous Muslim prophet who is the saint of the Shia Muslims. Hazrat Ali was fighting in a “holy war.” He knocked down an opposing soldier and was about to kill him with his sword. The soldier spit in Hazrat Ali’s face. The saint put down his sword. The soldier was shocked. He said, “Why don’t you kill me?” Hazrat Ali said, “Before you spit in my face I was going to kill you on behalf of Allah as a righteous act. But when you spit in my face, I became angry at you. I cannot kill you in a state of personal anger based on my own emotional state. Therefore, I have put down my sword.” The soldier was so impressed by the motives of Hazrat Ali that he converted to Islam and became a sincere follower. There is a difference between acting on one’s own personal motives and acting as a servant of God without any personal attachment or self interest. One is saved from the entanglement of reactive work by acting only on the order of God without any personal motive. This story illustrates how important the motive of the action is.

    During a war, a soldier kills an enemy combatant according to the rules of engagement. He is not considered a murderer although he kills. But, after the war, if the same man kills someone of his own accord, he will be prosecuted as a criminal. By acting under the orders of superior authority and following the rules of engagement, one is not responsible for the acts. Acting on one’s own selfish desires, one becomes responsible.

    Unless one sincerely understands the spiritual truth of our eternal relationship with God, we can never become free from the material influence which leads us on like a blind man into a ditch of confused, desperate acts. In truth, material sense enjoyment pales in comparison to the higher taste of spiritual enjoyment in the association of God. Tasting such spiritual pleasure in the presence of God is the beginning of freedom from material conditioning.

    Without control of the senses and mind through regulated devotional service to God, it is impossible to control lust, anger, and greed. By engaging all our human faculties and tendencies in unselfish acts of devotion, one develops the power to control the development of lust which, if unchecked, can easily turn into anger. The easiest and most direct means to control the development of lust and anger is to remember and worship God in the company of genuine believers.The association of genuine helps one understand their eternal relationship of service and love for the Almighty. By dedicating all things in life to the service of God under proper guidance, one can overcome the false attachments and concomitant development of lust that binds one to reckless acts that we will later regret.

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  • sehruh yehv geehrkuh

    There was once a princess who assumed the throne of her father after he became too old to perform his duties. This was before the Christian era. She was young and beautiful. Her father had instilled in her the values of a pious spiritual life based on the ancient spiritual traditions of Armenia, arts and culture, eloquent oratory skills, knowledge of the holy scriptures and especially modesty and humility. Her name became Queen Anushik which means sweetness in Armenian.

    Although Anushik was only 20 years old, she accepted the responsibility of the kingdom with the determination to carry on the legacy of her noble father, King Arevdzak – the rising sun king. The king was a pious man who accepted initiation into the spiritual traditions of ancient pre-Christian Armenia. He was king of the ancient cradle of Armenian civilization just west of Lake Van which is named as Sasun and Mus today. This was about 400 years before the appearance of Christ. During his time there were Greek, Persian, Jewish and Indian spiritual communities along with the Armenians in the area that he ruled. All the subjects of King Arevdzak respected him because of his liberal acceptance of different religious traditions that co-existed peacefully. This liberality was also very effective for maintaining peace with his powerful neighbors who were the Greeks and Persians on both sides of his kingdom. The Armenian king did not try to impose a particular religious system on the people.

    The king and his family visited the many holy shrines in his kingdom that existed in his day. He prayed to the different gods and goddesses to bless his only child Anushik so that she would one day become a mother and give him grandchildren. For Anushik’s education he appointed a pious lady named Arevloiss – sunlight – who he entrusted to teach Anushik the secret knowledge of Tukh Manuk – the little dark boy. The cult of Tukh Manuk was intimate because it revolved around serving the child-god like a mother with devotion and expressions of gentle intimacy. This was especially appealing to women who had the natural propensity for motherly love. There was also the possibility for men to worship Tukh Manuk like a father and express their paternal love for him. King Arevdzak privately practiced the cult of Tukh Manuk by cultivating an intimate paternal relationship with him.

    The royal family practiced their faith in Tukh Manuk in secrecy so as not to disturb the followers of other cults. Outwardly, the king showed respect for all the faiths in his kingdom in order to give an example of tolerance and respect. In the ancient world there was a chaotic assembly of gods and goddesses who seemed to possess certain powers over the resources of nature. Believers would offer libations to the deities in return for favors such as success in their endeavors. They relied on priests to be the intermediaries who supplicated the deities with the esoteric incantations so that the reply would be favorable.

    The king had been enlightened by Arevloiss and other followers of Tukh Manuk to understand the difference between religious practices meant for personal gain and those that were only for serving God with love without any trace of self-motivation. Most people worshipped God as the provider or the father. Thus, they expected God to supply their every need. Tukh Manuk was worshipped as the child God who needed to be cared for tenderly and with dedication. Rather than ask for something in return for their service and offerings, the proxy parents of the child God were only concerned for caring and giving whatever was necessary for the well being of Tukh Manuk. Instead of asking Him to serve them, they served Tukh Manuk as a parent serves and protects his child.

    The history of the worship of Tukh Manuk in ancient Armenia reveals the origins of the Armenian people and their original culture. It is interesting to note that most but not all of the traces and manuscripts of the original Armenian culture were systematically eliminated by the fanaticism of the foreign (Jewish, Greek and Syrian) Christians and their Armenian converts when they were able to influence King Drtad in the 4th century to become a Christian. The subsequent Armenian Christian kings continued the suppression of the ancient, original Armenian culture. The worship of Tukh Manuk became relegated to the common folk without any temples or organized religious ceremonies for fear of being killed or exiled. It has stayed until today as a private belief
    away from the mainstream of Armenian life but yet preserved in the memory of the common folk as legend.

    When Anushik became queen she relied more and more on Arevloiss’ counsel and teaching to tolerate the pressures of administration of the kingdom. She was surrounded by self-motivated ministers and nobles who did not always put the interest of the people before their own vested purposes. As a consequence, her faith in people was waning and she began to be suspicious of everyone who worked with her. When she confided in Arevloiss of her losing faith in the goodness of her advisors, she was surprised by her confidant’s reply. Instead of speaking in terms of political strategy and court intrigue, Arevloiss began to explain the soul’s entanglement in material nature.

    Arevloiss: My child Anushik, all beings come originally from God, our Tukh Manuk. That means we are all originally good. Just as a drop of rain while falling to earth is pure, but when it touches the earth it mixes with the soil. It may become contaminated. It is the same with the soul. We are all eternal individual souls and our origin is the Almighty God. Tukh Manuk has endowed us with limited free will. Therefore, we can either accept or refuse to follow His instructions. He never interferes with the exercise of our limited free will. If we refuse His instructions, we are placed in this material world where we can
    attempt to act like a competitive god by pretending we own and control some part of material nature. As soon as the desire to own and control something for our own pleasure becomes prominent in our mind, we become contaminated by the material nature just as the rain drop touches the earth.

    Anushik: Are you saying that we are all contaminated? Then there is no hope for any of us. We are all doomed to act like animals in the jungle!

    Arevloiss: Not so, my child. Our Tukh Manuk does not abandon His children. He is not a God of wrath, but a merciful God who loves His children so much that when we become gentle, He accepts us and protects us so that we can intimately care for him.

    The secret of life is to follow the instructions of Tukh Manuk as given in the ancient holy book called the Song of God. My Father taught the verses of the holy book to me and I shall teach you the same. This wisdom will help you cross over all the obstacles of this world and prepare you to enter the intimate circle of pure love of Tukh Manuk.

    We must see this world as a temporary prison in which we are given a chance to awaken from our slumber during which lust, greed and anger possess us. We can awaken to our eternal existence as lovers of Tukh Manuk either as a loyal servant, friend, parent or intimate lover. We can choose the flavor of love that we want to share with Tukh Manuk. Such pure love liberates us from the degrading effects of living in this world of illusory pursuits.

    Anushik: Please enlighten me, dear mother. I am still a child that is burdened with the responsibility of an adult. I am not sure how to guide myself in the jungle of cleaver and greedy people.

    Arevloiss: My child, the first lesson is to identify the real enemy of mankind so that you can recognize its deceptive face. What begins as pure love for Tukh Manuk in the spiritual world is transformed to lust in this material world. It is the all-devouring enemy of mankind. A pious woman must have the ability to recognize the motivation of a man who approaches her and claims his love. First of all, he would not approach you directly. Out of respect for our traditional customs he would address your mother and father through his parents to inquire if they would consider him as a suitable candidate to marry you.

    The difference between lust (geerk) and love (sehr) is not difficult to understand. When a person wants to satisfy his or her own senses, it is lust. If a person wants to satisfy the senses of Tukh Manuk, it is love. Try to understand this sublime difference. Becoming the humble servant of Tukh Manuk will save anyone from the degrading effects of lust. The service of Tulk Manuk is so powerful that it can transform lust to pure love. We are forced to stay in this world of misery by becoming attached to enjoying for our personal sense gratification (ahskharahyeen hahjouk). But, when we stop trying to please ourselves selfishly by directing our love and devotion to Tukh Manuk, we transfer our attachment to Him and gradually become free of lust, anger, greed, envy, foolishness and illusion. We are liberated in the present from the degrading influence of this temporary world full of illusory material desires. We are free to express our love for Tukh Manuk and share it with all others in a gentle and affectionate way.

    We are all God’s servants eternally, but we have temporarily forgotten this due to lust for selfish indulgence at the expense of innocent victims. As a woman you will see this more clearly than men.

    There are men who have been so corrupted by lusty desires that they exploit others abusively in their obsessive attempts for self-satisfaction. Such men are lower than animals. Our Tugh Manuk has limited the behavior of animals by the dictation of instinct. They only try to reproduce at regular intervals which for most animals is once or twice a year. Instinct is the command of God. However, God has given man limited free will by which he may obey the word of God or ignore it. Thus, by the exercise of limited free will, man can either be liberated from the cycle of birth and death by following Tugh Manuk’s teachings or stay continually in the cycle of birth and death by not following the them.

    My child, the body of a woman with it curves and softness can bewilder a man so much that he may forget all bounds of decent behavior and act like a crazed animal in heat. Therefore, modesty and chastity of women is most important to safeguard the peace of society. Never flaunt your feminine beauty in public. Always remain humble by remembering that God Almighty is the real sovereign and we are merely His servants. Pride and lust will undo even the most powerful person in this world.

    Anushik: Dear mother, I am truly humbled by your words. Please always advise me so that I never stray from the path of Tugh Manuk. I never want to dishonor my noble family and ancestors by inappropriate behavior.

    Arevloiss: I bless you my child to never forget the legacy of our ancestors who quietly followed the teachings and wisdom of Tugh Manuk. I will come to see you as often as you may desire to answer any questions you may have. A leader is only as good as the advisors he has to help determine the expediency and correctness of the choice he or she must make.

    Anushik had a daily audience to which the public was invited to present topics of concern in her kingdom. One day an old man in his late sixties came before the young Queen and implored her to marry him so that he could satisfy his lustful desires to enjoy her. Her courtiers were aghast by his shameful insistence. They were going to give him a beating and ban him from ever speaking to the Queen again. But, Anushik stopped them. She spoke to the old man in a soft and affectionate voice.

    Anushik: Dear sir, I am flattered by your request for my hand in marriage and your rush to enjoy my body. I will most certainly satisfy your needs for my womanly affection. Please come tomorrow at the same time and we shall join together.

    The old man understood her words to mean she would marry him tomorrow and they would consummate their union. He was so thrilled that he did not ask any questions or make any more demands. He simply walked out with the intention to return the next day for the marriage and nuptials. He spent the day purchasing expensive clothes, jewelry and other gifts for his future wife.

    The next day, he came to the palace in a grand horse drawn carriage decorated for a wedding procession. He was clothed as a groom expecting to get married. He was perfumed and wore elegant clothing. He tried to cosmetically mask his old age as much as he could. His exuberance made him look ridiculous. Yet, he was oblivious of his foolish airs. He was old enough to be Anushik’s grandfather. Yet, he was shameless and blind because of his lust to exploit the Queen’s youthful beauty.

    Anushik had cautioned her courtiers and soldiers to greet the old man respectfully. They were perplexed by her submissiveness. But, they faithfully followed their Queen’s commands. When the old man entered the royal assembly, everyone stood up and honored his presence. He was seated in the center of the hall next to a covered object that was quite large. Aushhik continued her daily business while her suitor waited. After one hour of listening to the deliberation of the Queen and her advisors about the affairs of the kingdom, the old man stood up and approached the Queen. He addressed her,

    My dear Anushik, I cannot wait any longer. Let us proceed to the marriage and our nuptials as you promised yesterday.

    Anushhik smiled and said,

    I said yesterday that we would join together as you wished. I have prepared my royal bed for our union.

    She ordered her courtiers to uncover the large bed in the center of the hall.

    The old man looked perplexed. He said,

    My dear, what is this? I am afraid you are so innocent that you do not understand the procedure. First, we must be married by a priest. Then, we retire into our private quarters for our union. Why have you placed our bed in the middle of this grand hall for everyone to witness. This is most inappropriate.

    Anushik smiled. She said,

    Dear sir, I am simply complying with your desire. You expressed your need to enjoy my youthful body in public yesterday in front of all these persons of my royal court. You were not embarrassed to speak in such a way. Why are you hesitating now to have union with me in the same public place? You saw nothing inappropriate yesterday to make your demand in public. Thus, I don’t see anything inappropriate in satisfying your desire in a public place to be witnessed by the same people that were here yesterday!”

    The old man began to tremble after hearing the shocking words from the Queen’s mouth. How could he attempt to even touch her in public in front of all these powerful me? Everyone was looking at him with threatening disdain. He cowered and slowly walked away crestfallen and defeated by his foolish attempt to violate the Queen’s chastity.

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  • On the outskirts of Dickranagerd was a small Armenian village named Tugh Manouk.In that ancient Armenian village there lived an old woman who had one son. He was married to a shrewish woman who did not like her mother-in-law. The daughter-in-law argued and verbally abused the old woman. Her son did not try to control his wife’s abusive behavior. The situation became unbearable for the old woman who was by nature very gentle and kind. She never spoke a harsh word nor did she answer her daughter-in-law with harsh words. The old woman was incapable of speaking inappropriately. Her demeanor and words were always full of respect and praise.

    The old woman became convinced that for her own welfare it was necessary for her to leave the village and live alone in the forest. Such an adventure was normally unthinkable, but she became so disturbed by the daily abuse that she decided it was better to die in peace than continually tolerate such abuse. One day she simply walked away from the village into the surrounding forests without any plan or idea how she would survive the elements.

    While walking alone in the dense forest she encountered a very beautiful young lady who announced herself as the spirit of Summer. The beautiful lady Summer said, “Dear mother, tell me, do you like me?”

    The old woman was charmed by her graceful and gentle behavior. She said, “Oh, sweet Summer, you are my most favorite season of the year. After the harsh winter weather, you are our savior bringing the warm sunshine during the day and cool fragrant breezes that enliven our senses at night. You make everything blossom and ripen into juicy fruits, vegetables, grains and flowers. You are the queen of seasons and I love you so dearly.”

    Summer was very pleased by the sincere praise of the old woman. She rewarded the humble old woman with golden jewelry worth a fortune in appreciation of her kind words. The old woman was humbled by the kindness of Summer. It seemed that her fortunes were changing.

    She continued her trek in the dense forest. To her surprise she met Spring appearing as a sweet girl with a green dress. Spring asked the old woman if she liked her. “My dear girl,” said the old woman, “you give life to nature and cheer to people. You bring the nourishing rain and the beginning of warmth to awaken nature from her long and cold sleep. Nature is rejuvenated. Her streams and rivers swell and trees and gardens come alive with new growth and flowers. People become cheerful. With Spring comes renewed hopes of affection, singing, dancing and merriment. Poets become inspired. There are picnics and parties. People are relieved of the dreary winter days and welcome you with rejoicing.

    Spring was very pleased by the old woman’s kind words of praise. She gave the humble lady a number of rings with precious jewels that were worth a worthy of a royal princess.

    The old woman was pleasantly surprised by her new found wealth. She continued her walk and came upon Winter dressed in a snow-white dress. She greeted the old woman. Winter asked old woman if she liked her. The old woman thought a moment and said, “My dear Winter, although you bring the cold weather and snow and dark nights, you also bring the moments when our families come closest together in remembering and glorifying of our Lord Jesus Christ. In your darkest days, we celebrate his birth and the hope that he brought to us of salvation from earthly suffering existence. My only solace has been prayer to the Lord. Therefore, I love you because during your time I pray the most for renewal and hope by my Lord’s mercy.”

    Winter was very pleased by the old woman’s words. She rewarded her with many bracelets made of gold and precious jewels. The old woman was amazed at her amazing good fortune but it did not make her a different person. She resolved in her heart to use her wealth to help other persons who were in difficult situations like herself. She felt that her unbearable conditions at home may have been instrumental in her becoming so fortunate. So she reconciled her suffering as a steeping stone to good fortune and thus felt no resentment toward her daughter-in-law. In fact, she wanted to give her one of the rings to show her good will.

    When she reached home, her son was anxiously awaiting news of her. When he saw her he was relieved. The old woman related all the miraculous things that happened to her on her walk in the forest. Now that she was rich everyone gave her respect and attention except her daughter-in-law. The ring that the old woman gave her daughter-in-law enflamed her nastiness even more but she could not show it for fear of angering all of the old woman’s admirers. As she had resolved, the old woman helped many other poor and suffering women and families in her village. She became a favorite of everyone.

    After one week of trying to control her rage, the daughter-in-law decided to walk herself in the forest and convince the three mysterious women her mother-in-law met to take back their gifts from the old woman and give them to her.

    Envy and rage make a person’s mind completely warped and oblivious of
    reality. Such unfortunate persons enter a state of insane delusion that blinds them to understanding the proper perspective of life.

    The daughter-in-law recklessly started on her adventure meant to discredit the old woman and reap the benefits for her own selfish desires. After an hour of walking into the dense forest, she encountered all three beautiful women: Spring, Summer and Winter. The three greeted her and asked what she thought of them. The daughter-in-law began a bitter harangue criticizing them for thoughtlessly rewarding the useless old woman. She belittled her mother-in-law as a lazy and ungrateful person. After she finished her horrible discourse full of disparaging and insulting words, the three ladies quietly disappeared. The daughter-in-law returned home. After a week she contracted a terrible disease that gradually debilitated her to become an invalid. The only person that helped her was her old mother-in-law. After a few years, the daughter-in-law became deathly sick and hopelessly bedridden. Her mother-in-law constantly prayed for her and served her like her own child.

    One day it seemed that she was going to die. She was so frail and her breath week. Suddenly the three ladies of the forest appeared before her and began to speak. “Oh wretched woman, you have insulted us and your faithful mother-in-law. Look at all the sickness and suffering you have brought upon yourself by your envy. What have you to say?”

    The daughter-in-law was genuinely humbled by her suffering. But more than that, she was humbled by the gentle behavior and service of her mother-in-law who was the only person helping her in her misery. She began to cry and begged forgiveness of the three ladies. The three ladies said, “Even at this moment of realization, you still fail to beg forgiveness of your mother-in-law. Why is that? You know that she was the only person to help you. Yet, you have not asked for her forgiveness!”

    The daughter-in-law understanding the depth of her disdain for the mother-in-law because of all the abuse she showered on her, came to her senses. She needed to beg for forgiveness to release her soul from the curse of envy and harsh speech that she directed toward the kind old woman. She looked at the old woman and cried. Her entire frail body trembled with shame. She murmured, “Please forgive me, mother. Please forgive me.”

    The mother-in-law embraced her with a soft kiss of tender motherly love which released the daughter-in-law from her oppressive envy and hatred. Slowly, but surely, the daughter-in-law healed from her deathly sickness and became anew a healthy, but humble person who joined the chorus of people who appreciated the old woman, her mother-in-law.

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  • There was a poor old woman who had an only son. They lived a life of poverty always on the brink of starvation. The son would go early every morning to the forest to collect firewood that he tied into a bundle and carried it back to sell for money to buy bread.

    The mother always advised her son to never hurt or kill anyone either an animal or man. One day this boy witnessed a few village youth had caught a cat that they were torturing for their amusement. The boy said, “Boys, let the cat go free, it’s a sin to torture the poor animal.”

    “So, you are so merciful, give us some money and we’ll let the cat go free,” said the village boys.

    The cat was in a sorry state. It began to bellow in a pleading voice that expressed its misery and fright. The boy’s heart was moved by the cat’s cries. He decided to hand over his day’s earnings to the village boys to free the cat from its misery. The cat followed him back to his mother’s house. That night the boy and his mother fasted because he spent all his day’s earnings to save the cat.

    Everywhere the boy went, the cat followed him as his loyal sidekick. One day, the boy was able to collect extra dry wood in the forest. He sold the wood for almost twice as much as he ordinarily earned. He purchased the fresh goods for the evening dinner and made his way home. He saw a group of village boys beating a dog that they had tied to a post. The more the dog cried out in pain the more the boys ridiculed it and joked. The boy gave the remaining money in his pocket to free the dog from the cruel hands of the village youth. Now the dog joined the boy and his cat for the return to his mother’s house.

    A few days later the boy accompanied by the cat and the dog went to the forest as usual to collect wood for sale. He was able to find a large number of dry wood. On his return to the village he was able to sell much more than other days. He purchased food for the evening and food for the two animals. Before reaching his house, he again saw a group of village youth who had caught a snake and were torturing it. The boy freed the snake by giving his last penny to the cruel youth. Now he had three companions, the cat, dog and the snake.

    The next day the four of them went to the forest. The boy carried the snake in a sack.
    His intention was to free the snake in the forest so that it could slither away into the wild.
    In the deep forest, the boy opened the sack and let the snake go. To his surprise, the snake
    stayed close to the three companions while the boy collected dry wood. At midday, the boy distributed some food to the cat and dog. He felt sorry for the snake who was lingering nearby so he broke a small piece of bread and left it near the reptile. What happened next is truly a miracle beyond any imagination. It was both unbelievable and miraculous. Give glory to God Almighty. The snake shed its skin, but to everyone’s amazement, a beautiful, young man appeared. The boy, the cat and dog could not believe their eyes. The young man began to speak.

    “Please don’t be afraid. I am the son of this country’s king. An evil wizard, who is my father’s enemy, kidnapped me. The wizard pronounced a curse that transformed me into a snake with the following prophesy: ‘You will remain a snake until that day comes when a kind soul will feed you a morsel of bread.’ You freed me from the curse of the wizard. Now I want to repay your kindness with the following promise. As long as I live, I will always be loyal to you and endeavor in every way to help you with all the means at my disposal.” After saying these endearing words, the young prince returned to his grieving father, the king.

    On reaching the king, the prince explained all that had happened and how he was saved by the poor woman’s son. The king immediately summoned the poor mother’s son and embraced him like his own son. He showered the boy with praise.

    “You have delivered my son from his infernal curse. My son is the light of my eyes, my hope for a continued dynasty. Please tell me, whatever you heart desires and it will be given this very moment.”

    “May the king have a long and prosperous life,” said the boy. I really do not need anything for myself. May you always live a healthy life.”

    The king continued to implore the boy to ask for something. Finally, the boy said, “If you insist, please give me the royal ring that you wear.” The poor boy had learned about the king’s magical ring from his son. The king said,

    “May the neck of the person that told you about my ring be severed!” He felt, however, impelled to honor his word. He took the ring off and gave it to the boy. “Give him a wagon of gold and one of silver,” added the king to help the boy and his mother out of their poverty.

    With all the king’s blessings, the old mother and her son were now almost as wealthy as the king. The boy quickly reached manhood and was ready to get married. His mother said, “My dear son, I will go today to ask the hand of the king’s daughter for you to marry. What do you say?”

    “You know what is best for me,” said her son. The mother paid a visitg to the king. She waited for him in his greeting hall. The king welcomed her warmly.

    “What is your wish today, wise lady?”

    “May the king have a long life,” said the old mother. “I have come today to the hand of your daughter for my son. Please satisfy my request.”

    “I’ll do it!” said the king on condition that you satisfy my desire. I want you to promise to build a palace similar to mine and a connecting road lined with two rows of fruit trees and a royal carpet leading from my palace to yours lined with horsemen sitting on perfectly white royally saddled horses.”

    “It will be done. It will be done,” said the old mother. “May your wish be true!”
    The mother returned home and related everything to her son. Her son knew well the power of the royal ring which he had in his possession. He called forth the powers of the ring and immediately two geniis appeared before him. They addressed him, “Oh Lord and Master, tell us should we build or destruct!”

    “Build,” said the old mother’s son, he ordered them to construct a palace according to the king’s wish. During that very night, the geniis finished the grand project. A royal wedding was organized by the king for his daughter and the old mother’s son. The princess was beautiful and graced with humility and a modest, faithful nature. The newly married couple blessed by providence entered their new palace with happy hearts and a bright destiny before them. They praised God everyday in the palace chapel for His bountiful mercy upon them. Their days of joy together in their holy marriage was a blessing of God.

    A few happy years passed. The old mother spoke her last words to her dear son. She
    offered her heartfelt blessings to her son and his wife and died. The son had the last rites performed with solemn reverence and laid his mother to rest.

    The young husband began to engage himself in activities that kept him away from the palace for short periods. His faithful wife remained at home minding the maintenance of the household affairs.

    Then fate took its course. One day a businessman who specialized in selling precious rings paid a visit to the wife. He had heard about the magical powers of the royal ring kept by the young couple. He showed his wares of rings, necklaces and earrings to the princess. She chose three rings in order to choose one for herself. The jewelry salesman remarked,

    “I want to offer you those three rings as a present. “May evil never visit you. Your sweet demeanor is very enlivening. I have a request to make in return. You have a remarkable ring that I have heard can work miracle. I would like to see it so that I may understand its origin.”

    The princess was unsuspecting of any mischief on the part of the salesman. She innocently fetched the miraculous ring to show him. He held the ring and rubbed it to invoke the geniis who appeared before him and said, “Our Lord and Master, should we build or destroy.”

    The evil salesman said, “Take this palace with myself and the princess, to the island that is eight oceans distant from here.”

    Later, when the princess’ husband returned, he did not see the palace nor his wife. His old house mysteriously reappeared instead of the palace. He was left by himself bereft of his deceased mother and his new bride. His mind became obsessed with finding his wife. He searched day and night in every direction to no avail.

    When the dog and the cat heard about the tragedy that befell the husband, they decided to help their benefactor. They started to search every land and ocean far and wide to find and return the miraculous ring. They searched almost every corner of the world until they reached the kingdom of the rats.

    The guardians of the border of the kingdom were so frightened by the dog and cat that they fled in fright and hid themselves. The approach of the cat especially became apparent to all the rats of the kingdom. The king of the rats called a general meeting during which he ordered his palace and surrounding areas fortified in preparation for the inevitable approach of the cat. He sent an urgent note to the king of the turtles to immediately send several thousand turtle soldiers to protect the ocean side of the kingdom from the advance of the cat. Then he sent a letter to the king of the giant lizards asking that he send several thousand of his soldiers. He offered the two kings the promise that if their soldiers were able to stop the marauding cat, the rat kingdom would pay them taxes for ten years.

    While the negotiation between the rat king and the two other kings was still being discussed, the dog arrived at the castle of the rat king. The dog touched his check with his two front feet, offered his respects, bowed his head and said,“May your Excellency, the king of the rats, live long and prosper. I am the messenger of the invincible cat. If you desire that the powerful cat refrain from destroying your entire rat nation, then please command your largest and most powerful rats to take the cat and myself to the different islands of the ocean.”

    The rat king detached eight powerful and brave rats to navigate the ocean for the cat and dog. He accompanied them with his son. The dog sat on the eight powerful rats that swam close to each other and the cat jumped on the dog’s back. The rats proceeded toward the islands of the ocean. They searched each island to no avail until they reached the eighth and last island. They espied the castle from afar.

    The cat began to miaou. It’s hair stood on end and it spoke the following command.

    “Rats, go quickly, enter the palace, find the jewelry salesman and take the ring off his finger. Come back quickly.”

    The darkness blanketed the sky to the ground. It was so profound that a man could not even see his hand in front of his eyes. However, cats and rats have night vision that equals their day vision.

    The rats bored holes in the castle wall and entered. They found the jeweler asleep. They carefully examined him, but they were unable to find the prized ring. The king of the rats, who was very experienced, had a hunch that the jeweler might be sleeping with the ring in his mouth for safe keeping.

    The king said, “It may or may not be, but I think the jeweler is keeping the ring in his mouth while he sleeps. He ordered his son to quietly approach the jeweler. He said, “Stick the tip of your tail in his nose and tickle it.” His son hesitated. The king said, “Are you afraid of a man. The son of a king is never afraid. When I was a young man like you, I purposely tickled the ear of a sleeping man. Don’t be afraid, I am here to protect you.”

    The prince rat carefully inserted his tail into the nostril of the jeweler who gasped slightly and then sneezed forcefully. The sneeze opened his mouth and the precious ring fell to the ground. The rats brought the ring back to the dog and cat and quickly returned them to dry land for their return journey. The cat honored the bravery of the rats and left without causing any harm to them.

    The dog and cat returned to the anxious husband and gave him the valuable ring. He was elated with joy to see the magic ring. He immediately rubbed the ring and the two geniis appeared. They said, “Oh Lord and Master, should we build or destroy?”

    The husband said, “Bring back the palace and establish it here as it was before with my wife. Make sure the jeweler comes with it in chains.. In no time, the palace was brought back by the two geniis and the princess was reunited with her husband. When the jeweler saw the husband glaring at him, he was so frightened that he had a heart attack and died.

    The couple was grateful to the faithful dog and cat for outsmarting the evil jeweler and bringing justice to bear on him.

    The couple achieved their most cherished wishes. May you also fulfill your wishes too.

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  • ahstvahdz dahrd duhvehr eh, hehd ahl tahrmahn

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  • Eemashdoutiounuh ahmehnehn pahrtzuhr keedoutioun neh, ahvehlee gahrehvohr eh
    eemashdoutiounuh kohrdzahtrehl

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  • hahkoustee nohruhuhn eh lahv, uhngehrotch heenuh

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  • eenchkahn kehdnee yehressn eh, yotehn ahnkahm kehdnee dahkehn eh

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  • There was once a six year old boy. One day, while playing, he entered the chicken coop of a neighbor. He saw a chicken lay a new egg, which he picked up and returned home.

    He showed the egg to his mother, who said,

    “We don’t have a chicken that lays eggs, where did you get this egg?”

    “I got it from our neighbor’s chicken coop. No one was there, so I just picked it up and brought it to you,” said the boy.

    Aiyt eench lahv ehss ahrehl, bahlah jan, uhsshahv maiyruh, yeteh gahrogh ehss nohrehn pehr. Aiyt tzoun douhr eentzee, yehss kehz hahmahr tzvadzegh ahnehm oudehss.
    “What a nice thing you have done, my sweet son,” said the mother. “If you are able to bring more, please do. Now give me the egg and I’ll make an omelet for you to eat.”

    The boy ate the omelet. The taste was very pleasing (hahmuh pehrahnuh muhnatz – the taste stayed in his mouth). Whenever he was able to find a chicken coop unattended in the neighborhood, he stole eggs and brought them to his mother.

    “May my dear boy live long,” said the mother. “You keep bringing as much as you can, but be careful you are not caught. Don’t let anyone see you. If you are apprehended , they’ll tie you up and whip you like hell!”

    The boy became an expert thief by the time he reached twelve years old. Not only eggs but the hens along with the eggs were easily stolen by him and delivered to his mother. The villagers were not able to catch the thief. The boy and his mother rejoiced at his daring thefts. The mother was always encouraging her son to be shrewd and careful in his thievery. She continually praised his bringing home bountiful quantities of stolen goods.

    When the boy became sixteen years old, he started to stay away from home all day long. He would come home after midnight with stolen sheep that he slaughtered under the cover of night in a shed so that no one would see or hear.

    His mother never asked him where he was all day or why he came home so late. She knew he was stealing sheep, but why should she bother him by asking?

    The boy became an accomplished horse thief by the time he was 20 years old. The police and the villagers were still unable to catch him.

    Then one day the boy was hotly pursued by the authorities. He left home and hid here and there. He was without home and hearth, a fugitive. On the run, he met a few other thieves like himself who were hiding from the police. He befriended them and they joined together.

    After some time, the group of thieves ran out of money. As per the saying, kahmou pehradzuh kahmeen guh dahneh – what the wind brings, the wind takes away – the thieves finished stealing from a house and a throng of sturdy and brave men confronted them. Teegounk yehn dahlee eehrahr – they put their shoulders together – and began to fight the thieves.

    The thieves ran away but left the boy alone to fare for himself. He was surrounded by the brave group of men determined to catch at least one thief. The boy made a desperate attempt to break away from the group by pointing his knife at one man and lunging forward. The man didn’t move and the boy stabbed him in the heart killing him instantly.

    What else can be said. The boy was arrested and brought before a court of justice and judged according to the law. It wasn’t enough that he had stolen from hundreds of people, now he killed an innocent man simply trying to defend his property. He was judged and sentenced to hang to death.

    The day arrived for his hanging. He was brought to a gallows in a public square and the noose was put around his neck and the hangman awaited the word to open the trap door to let him drop to his death.

    The judge addressed the boy with the following words. “You have the right to ask for a last request before you die. Is there something you want?”

    “My last wish,” said the boy, “I want to see my mother one more time before I die.”

    The judge dispatched a man to fetch the boy’s mother. Soon the mother was brought before her son on the hangman’s platform.

    The boy called out in a loud voice for everyone to hear, “ aiy joghohvourt,” tzaiyn eh dahlees dughahn, “eehrahvounk ounee vohrteen mahvahn ahratch eer mohruh batcheek
    dah.” – “Hey people,” called out the boy, “ a son has the right to give his mother a final kiss before his death.”

    “You have the right, you have the right,” exclaimed the crowd of spectators. The women began to cry and murmur sorrowfully.

    “mohdeek kuhnah, mohdeek kuhnah, aiy ahnpaghd maiyr, vehrcheen ohrtnoutiounut douhr vohrteet, togh vohr kehz bahk dah, mouhrahzuh pohruh chee muhnah.
    Go closer to your son, go closer, give your last blessing to him. Let him kiss you goodbye, don’t let his last wish stay buried in his heart (the Armenian says stomach).

    The mother almost out her mind with grief came close to her son.

    The boy addressed his mother. “Show me your tongue, please show it,” said the boy to his mother. “Show me so I can kiss it. Instead of castigating me, your tongue always encouraged me with praise and abetted me to continue stealing. How unfortunate it was when I was still a little thief who only stole an egg that you praised me and made a delicious omelet for me to eat. I unfortunately thought you loved me by accepting the stolen egg and making it into a tasty breakfast for me. But now with the hangman’s noose around my neck, facing the door of eternal death, I can understand our forefather’s wisdom when they said,

    “Tzuhvee koghuh tzeeou kogh guh tahrnah – He who steals an egg will steal a horse.”

    “It was your tongue that inspired me to become an egg thief and later a horse thief. And now I have murdered an innocent man. Now let me kiss you, dear mother.”

    The boy kissed his mother and fiercely bit off the tip of her tongue and spit it out and stomped on it with his foot. The violence of his foot stomping on the trap door released it to open and he fell to his strangulated death.

    His mother screamed with pain and blood gushed from her mouth. Her heart burst with the pain and sorrow. She fainted and fell through the trap door and died with her son.

    The spectators were aghast at the horrible scene that unfolded before their eyes. They quickly left the scene of the tragedy. “Dehr astduhvahdz, ehss eench dehssank mehr ahchkohv, eench luhssehtzeenk mehr ahgahnchohv. Dehr ahzahdeh dznogheen ehss dehssahk ohrvahneetz – Dear God, what have we witnessed with our eyes, what did we hear with our ears. Dear Lord, deliver all parents from experiencing such a day of heart break!”

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