Harry Terhanian.com

Wisdom from the son of Armenia.

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  • tzehrkut goudahss oknoutioun, tevut guh bahhahnchen

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  • mahrtoun mohrukuh guhrahgvetzahv, uhnbedknehruh yehgahn tzerkerneen daktzounehl

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  • “Dasuh mahderus mohm uhree, noren koh chi muhnahts”

    I burned my ten fingers as candles, and still he was not satisfied.

    This saying expresses the exasperation felt by a person who is not able to please another.

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  • tuhkahlohv guhrahgroum eh, bohtchohv ahckuhn eh hahnoum

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  • harssdoutiounuh teezehl eh, yeghpayroutiounuh moratzehl eh

    This proverb conveys the meaning: as one accumulates more wealth, he gradually distances himself from brotherly relationships. In other words, wealth may corrupt one’s ability to maintain brotherly relationships that entail mutual respect and equal treatment.

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  • Moruh manadzuh dzahkherh eh, ahrakilleen khar nederh eh

    The stork (ahrakill), a fabled bird which supposedly brought a baby to expectant mothers, is used here as a symbol of motherhood. The unworthy son sells his mother’s belongings and throws stones at her as if she has committed some fault.

    This proverb expresses the outrageous behavior of an unworthy son or daughter who betrays his or her own family.

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  • shounuh orhass kah (vehrcheen sounchuh hahsnee) ghertah muzzgeet baduhn eever guh sheereh

    I personally experienced the sense of this proverb. I once met a Hindu man that was known as a guru and teacher. He had a small following of students. He taught them yoga and philosophy.

    He was married to a much younger and attractive American woman. The guru was in his late seventies and she was in her late thirties.We became friends and began to meet each other and talk about yoga and philosophy. On one occasion the subject of Indian gurus and their divinity came up. I made a statement that America is famous because its car industry comes out every year with many new models of cars and India is famous for having a new and different incarnation of God everyday. He didn’t like my statement and expressed his disapproval of it.

    We went on to another subject. He mentioned that he had read the Bhagavad-gita translated and with the commentary of Gandhi. I was familiar with Gandhi’s commentary. I said, “Gandhi claims in his commentary that the main subject of Bhagavad-gita is nonviolence. This is absurd as the Bhagavad-gita is a conversation between Lord Krishna and Arjuna. Krishna convinces Arjuna that he should fight under the order of the Lord and without any personal goal or hesitation. He should fight to please the Lord and protect the principles and integrity of dharma or the righeous path of God’s will.”

    “Gandhi’s claim that Bhagavad-gita is a treatise on nonviolence was nonsense and unfounded. He simply took this great work of spiritual instruction and crassly gave his own interpretation to serve his political purpose.”

    I said Gandhi did not have to use the Bhagavad-gita to expound his own philosophy. But he inappropriately misinterpreted Bhagavad-gita to serve his own political purpose and the end result was a mess. He caused the massacre and misery of many thousands of Hindus who were expelled from the western territories of India which later became known as Pakistan He taught nonviolence and he was ironically violently assassinated.

    My friend remained silent and then quickly excused himself and stopped talking to me.

    Five years later a lady with a large hat that mostly covered her face followed me down a public street. I noticed her but did not pay too much attention. She was definitely following me. Finally, I turned around and looked at her. She lifted the hat somewhat. I could not recognize her. She spoke in a soft and weak voice. She introduced herself as the wife of the guru with which I discussed Gandhi. She has bad news for me. Her husband had died and she felt very devastated and sad. I expressed my condolences.

    She then narrated how her husband’s health deteriorated due to his diabetes and gradually he became blind. The blindness really angered him and he became sullen and resentful that God had given him so much misery. He lost confidence in himself and blamed God for his inability to enjoy his life with his young wife. She said he began to curse God and reject the Bhagavad-gita and the traditional teachings and practices that he taught to his student for so many years. She saw this horrible transformation in him.

    Finally, her husband’s sister came from India and took her brother back to India to die with the family without asking the wife to accompany them. She was heartbroken and I felt she could tell me because I would understand her pain. I tried to comfort her all the while my mind was trying to comprehend what she told me.

    This is a true story that illustrates perfectly the above proverb. Gandhi also claimed to be a follower of Vedic dharma, but on several occasions he made contrdictory statements that proved his understanding and following were very superficial. He once said that he did not believe that Krishna or Rama existed as historical persons. Yet, he used the Bhagavad-gita, Krishna’s dialogue with Arjuna, to promote his own philosophy of nonviolence. On the last day of his life, it is reported that he was very disgusted with the deterioration of India’s political and social events so quickly after the departure of the British. Many people were killed and India was split apart and there was massive, social unrest. The political leaders were all selfishly plotting for their own benefit and the great goals that Gandhi had espoused were becoming just parlor subjects and not political reality. He was even warned about going to the political rally that he was scheduled to attend that day. There was information that there could be an assassination attempt. Yet, he went anyway and was assassinated.

    My yogi friend who died blaspheming God and the Hindu scriptures demonstrates the fault in superficial following of religion without having deep understanding and commitment to the teaching. The Biblical Job was rudely tested by the will of God and he somehow resisted turning against God in his hours of trial and misery. My guru friend and Gandhi failed where Job, Jesus, John the Baptist and many others have succeeded. They were not dismayed or disoriented by death and failure because of their unflinching faith in God.

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  • Kirgus nuhstadzeh morukus guh petdhe

    This is the example of a trusted person or a loved one who takes advantage of our confidence to undermine us. The biblical story of Samsun and Delilah shows how lust blinds a person. Samsun falls in love with Delilah who is approached by the rulers of the Philistines, a tribe that threatens to dominate the Jews. Delilah is asked to lure Samsun into revealing the secret of his great strength so that the Philistines can take him prisoner. Delilah uses her womanly guile and importunes Samsun that if you love me then you must confide in me the secret of your strength. Three times Samsun misleads her with false information and three times she betrays him to the Philistines who secretly wait to subdue him.

    Delilah acting on false information from Samsun, tries to tie him up and every time Samsun breaks the fetters before the Philistines attempt to subdue him. Finally Samsun reveals the true secret of his strength. He tells her, “If my head is shaved, my strength will leave me, and I will become as weak as any other man.”

    Delilah again summons the Philistines, who remain hidden while she soothes Samsun to sleep. A man shaves off the seven braids of Samsun’s hair as he sleeps on the lap of Delilah. She awakens him and the Philistines take him prisoner because without his hair, his superhuman power is lost. The Philistines gauge out his eyes and make him their slave.

    Why did Samsun reveal the true secret of his strength when he tested Delilah three times and each time she tried to betray him? Such is the frailty of love (or more justly lust) that blinds a person to imminent treachery. “Seruh goueereh -Love is blind.” A lustful love blinds a person to treachery and deception and makes him vulnerable.

    “Keytch sereh vor keytch tzavis, keytch housah vor keytch khapvis - Love little so that you suffer little, hope little that you are deceived little.”

    There was an old cat who pretended to be a yogi. The cat meditated standing on one foot and repeating the syllable OM. The cat yogi attracted the attention of many mice who were amazed to see such a pious cat. They fearfully approached the meditating cat and asked “Are you a cat?” The guileful cat replied, “I was formerly a cat, but now I am a yogi saint. I spend all my time in meditating and repeating the syllable OM for purification. I am a pure vegetarian and eat very little grass and water.”

    The mice were impressed. They never saw a saintly cat. They asked, “You don’t want to eat us any of us?” The cat said, “Not at all. You are now my brothers. Please chant OM with me and receive my benediction.”

    The king of the mice declared the cat a genuine saint and advised his subjects to see the cat daily to receive his benediction. Everyday the mice came to see the saintly cat and marveled at his austerity and purity. At the end of each day, one or two mice would remain in the holy company of the cat. The treacherous cat would pounce on the poor mice and eat them. As time went on the cat became fat and the number of mice diminished noticeably.

    The king of the mice became suspicious of the cat’s deceit. He warned all the mice that he was suspicious of the cat saint. He carefully examined the stool of the cat and noticed hairs, whiskers and bones in it. He noticed the cat was getting fat instead on being gaunt as a real yogi. He concluded that the cat was a fake and forbade his subjects from approaching him.

    We should be careful about revealing secrets to acquaintances who have not been tested for their loyalty. We should also understand that lusty relationships (and material love in general) makes us vulnerable to the whims of our lover. Everything that shines is not gold.

    There is wise Armenian saying, “Arach portzeh ansuh, hedo dour kantzuh - first test the person before you reward him (or give your treasure).”

    There is another story about Ahab and Wahab who were the co-wives of a Muslim. One wife was younger and the other older than the husband. When he was alone with the younger wife, she would pull out his white whiskers so he would look younger; and when he was with his older wife, she would pull out his black whiskers so that he would look older. After some time he told his friends, “Between Ahab and Wahab, I have lost my beard.”

    Those persons closest to us can potentially cause the most harm. We should always be trusting, but vigilant. The Prophet Mohammed has said, “Our own men have more harm to us than our enemies ever imagined.”