You don’t learn by talking, my child. You learn by listening!
khossehlov ches sohrvelh zahvagus, luhsehlov guh sohrvess.
The art of focused listening is the best way to learn. A child born anywhere in the world learns to speak the language of his parents simply by listening and repeating. Once he learns to speak, he develops the bad habit of talking all the time. This diminishes the ability to learn unless he is specifically trained to listen and repeat.
On reaching adulthood, other bad habits are developed. The worst one is listening to mundane subjects all the time. Examples of these mundane subjects are sports, politics, economics, rumor and speculation, and all kinds of criticism, blasphemy and the unending litany of sexual innuendo and eroticism. The adult mind becomes a repository of banal facts and memories that divert the mind from the essential purpose of human life: to reconnect with God and our proprietary status of eternal life and happiness.
Another precious gem of wisdom is the Armenian saying
ahrak luhseh, tahntagh khosseh
Be quick to listen, but slow to speak.
Speech is the most important quality of a person. A well-dressed fool cannot be identified unless he speaks, and thereby reveals himself as a fool. The Bhagavad-gita explains the austerity of speech as consisting of speaking words that are truthful, pleasing, beneficial, and not agitating to others. Any statement should be upheld by scriptural evidence especially when conversing on spiritual matters. One should be trained to quote from scriptural authority or paraphrase it to back up what he is saying.
It has become a habit to speculate about a subject. This means one forms a theory or conjecture about a subject without firm evidence. It is easier to speculate than to verify if we have an opinion based on fact. If we are eloquent and persuasive, we may convince a certain number of unwitting listeners to believe what we are saying is actually true. As we convince more people, we arrive at the conclusion that our speculation has been validated. Then we begin to speak with conviction that the speculation is true. This type of myth-building based on speculation has become a regular habit. The most egregious perpetrators of myth-building are the scientists and their cronies, the politicians, businessmen, philosophers and certain religionists. When they are challenged by those who rely on scripture for guidance, they begin to ridicule scripture as fairy tales or mundane speculation lacking any scientific evidence. They relegate scripture to a body of imaginary stories that are man-made histories that purport an anthropomorphic God endowed with supernatural powers.
The Armenian proverb “Be quick to listen, but slow to speak,” which has a Biblical equivalent in the book of James 1.19, beckons us to listen carefully and judge the value of the statements heard and the response we may make before replying. Whatever we say and the manner with which we say it reflects our inner consciousness or the workings of our mind, intelligence and our essential identity (ego) whether real or false.
If we identify ourselves with temporary material objects and beliefs, we have a false ego. This is because every material thing we identify with is temporary and will eventually disappear. From the spiritual point of view, the individual soul is eternal
and it has a relationship with God, the Supreme eternal. The real ego becomes manifest when we develop our eternal relationship with God through practical acts of devotion.
This is the culmination of the quest for self-realization; the understanding that we are the servant and God is the served.
By developing the real ego, we become sober and no longer bewildered by the temporary glitter of material domination and temporary enjoyments. We become convinced that
our attempts to dominate material nature is like children building sand castles on the beach only to see them washed away by the high tide at night. The next day all the beautiful castles are flattened and we are only left with a dream-like memory of them.
Regular association with spiritually elevated souls, who can inspire us to develop the skills by which we can please God, will free us from wasting our time on mundane
The destiny of every human being is to attain pure love of God and share it with all others
There is no substitute for such a glorious fate. It can be achieved by honing our listening skills so that we can effectively learn from masters of spiritual knowledge. If we become good listeners, we can also learn to repeat precisely what we have heard. Repeating the word of God concisely is true eloquence.
It is said in Armenian, shad luhseh, keech khosseh – listen a lot, talk little. This theme is much more elaborately stated in the Vedic literature, namely the Srimad Bhagavatam,
Lord Krishna, the Personality of Godhead, who is the Paramatma [Supersoul] in everyone’s heart and the benefactor of the truthful devotee, cleanses desire for material enjoyment from the heart of the devotee who has developed the urge to hear His messages, which are in themselves virtuous when properly heard and chanted.( SB 1.2.17)
God will immensely help that sincere person who has developed a taste to hear the word of God with ardent attention. After hearing with attention, one who repeats the messages of God correctly becomes very dear to the Lord and is liberated in the present from any more oppression by the illusory material energy. Matter exists, but man’s attempts to dominate and enjoy matter are illusory. The Lord cleanses the desire for material enjoyment from the heart of his sincere servant who has developed the urge to hear His sacred instructions.
The renowned Armenian saint Krikor Narekatsi has written in his Book of Prayers,
“The ways of my life are like the waves of the sea,
my soul tossing in this world upon countless,
riding in the shell of my body
like the ship lost at sea, as the prophet Isaiah1
once said mourning the sudden destruction of
Jerusalem and Samaria by Persian hordes.
Would I then be wrong to use similar sounds and
images to describe the spiritual destruction that crashed upon me?
For as I strode through life free of doubts and cares,
I had no inkling of the peril lying in wait for me
between work and rest.
It arrived like the winter’s blast on a summer’s day,
a turbulent front thrusting me into turmoil.” (Prayer 25)
Narek poetically explains the dilemma of mundane life.
From the moment of birth, we begin a journey of suffering.
We convince our naïve selves that we are happy and happiness is sustainable.
At first, we are carefree and confident we can triumph in this world of competition and greed. We ready ourselves for the contest by learning different material skills and pretend we can overcome all obstacles with hard work, good organizational skills and cunning. Yet, many unforeseen events occur that eventually make us realize we are extremely vulnerable and always subject to an existence without predictability or security.
Thus, Narek eloquently depicts life in this world of unending change as a downward spiral of old age, disease and death hastened by many unexpected acts of fate that we cannot predict or avoid. Then, he reveals the only hope, the saving grace of God. He writes,
“For as Job said, the snares of evil are all around,
from these I cannot escape.7
But by your good will
if the light of compassion should shine,
if the door of your mercy should open,
if the rays of your glory should spread,
if the care of your hand should be revealed,
if the dawning sun of life should break forth,
if the sight of your beautiful morn
should be unveiled,
if the bounty of your sweetness should flow forth,
if the stream from the maker’s side should run,
if the drops of your pure love should shower down,
if the good news of the dawn of your
grace should resound,
if the tree of your gift should blossom,
if the parts of your blessed body are distributed,
if the dashed expectations should be reassembled,
if the silenced sound of your beckoning voice, Lord,
should again be heard,
if your banished peace should return,
then with this blessing
shall the faith of steady hope be forever mine
finding refuge in the Holy Spirit,
who with the Father is worshiped with
the voice of sweetness
and together with you bathed in light too bright for human eyes.8
Grant life, forgiveness and heavenly bliss to me, a sinner,
holding your incorruptible grace, the true token of faith,
as an indestructible legacy.
This we pray in the name of your awe-inspiring,
mighty and holy oneness
and the lordship of your three-fold person
beyond human words and understanding
to you, who are in essence and in existence eternally
exalted, crowned, clothed and
enthroned with sweetness, mercy and benevolence.
Indeed through you, O merciful Lord,
all things, in all ways, for all people, are possible.
To you glory here, now and forever and in the eternity to
come on the great day of revelation.
He opines “the faith of steady hope be forever mine
finding refuge in the Holy Spirit,
who with the Father is worshiped with
the voice of sweetness
and together with you bathed in light too bright for human eyes.”
God the Son, Father and Holy Spirit become his hope and refuge
to cross over the vast morass of material upsets and turmoil. This conclusion of Narek is exactly parallel to the Vedic world view. Only dependence on the good will of God and His protection can save us from the unknown fate that may await us.
Surrender to God’s will can change our destiny since He is the controller of the laws of nature in which not a blade of grass moves without His permission.
Start by the known to understand the unknown
keetdzadzeet mahseen khosheh vohr cheekitdzadzeet hahsguhnahs
A young man (18 years old) who was one week away from starting college listened to a talk I was giving about the existence of God. He asked an impassioned question, “How can you prove that God exists? How can you convince an atheist that there is a real God? How can you convince a man who is an expert of material science that there is a supernatural God?
I asked the young man three questions that I considered important to establish a foundation on which I would base my answer. He answered them all in the affirmative.
“Do you believe that there are phenomenon that exist that you cannot see or hear?”
“Yes, I do. There are radio waves or electromagnetic waves that can transmit information. A human being does not perceive them unless there is a radio antenna which can pick up the radio signals along with a radio tuner or resonator that can tune in to a particular frequency. There are also television waves and many other wavelengths and frequencies that can transmit images along with information.”
“Would you admit that your senses of perception are limited in their ability to receive information?”
“Yes, I know that the senses of a human being have a limitation on their range of perception. My eyes can’t see what is on the other side of a wall. Human ears have a limited range of perception of sounds in the range of 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz.”
“If a tree falls down and kills someone in a foreign country, how can you know that such an event actually happened?”
“If the evening news reports the event, I can know it happened.”
“Can you verify if it happened?”
“Most probably not, I won’t have the time or desire to travel to the foreign country to verify the event.”
“Then the only way you have knowledge of the event is by trusting the authority of the
news organization that reports it.”
“Therefore, we can assume that most of the information that we receive is based on trust in the authority of a person which can be a news anchor or news agency, a university professor, an author, a relative or anyone we accept as a trusted expert.”
When I attended a science class in elementary school, I learned that the sun is 93 million miles from the earth. To this day, I have never verified on my own if the distance from the earth to the sun is truly 93 million miles. In order to pass a science test, I was given a multiple choice question: “How far is the sun from the earth?” The choices were 93 miles, 9,300 miles, 93,000 miles or 93 million miles. I answered 93 million miles. I received an A on my test for the correct answer. Yet, I never verified if the sun is actually 93 million miles or 92.5 million miles or 93.5 million miles away from the earth. I will never know for sure. It is also a fact that scientists may improve their instruments or techniques of measurement and later say that the sun is 98 million miles away.
The question of verification is crucial. “How does one really know that something is true or false. One may receive knowledge from a trusted authority, but how can one verify that it is factual. Sometimes even authorities make mistakes or they may mislead others for their own purposes.
An authority is a person who has knowledge of a subject. There are two main categories of knowledge which are mundane knowledge and transcendental knowledge.
Mundane knowledge of this material world based on human observation, measurement and experimentation is always evolving because of the four fundamental defects of every human observer. The defects are: man makes mistakes; he is easily subject to illusion; he has imperfect or limited senses of perception; he has a cheating propensity. Material knowledge is often seen to be true in a limited frame of reference, but when the frame of reference increases, it is no longer true. Therefore, it is relative to certain conditions. An example is Newton’s three laws of motion that form the basis of classical mechanics.
Transcendental knowledge concerns knowledge of what is beyond this material universe. The eternal spiritual world is beyond the capacity of observation, measurement and experimentation of man’s limited senses. Man cannot even observe and measure the full extent of the material universe, then how can he understand the spiritual world which is beyond the range of normal observation? Therefore, it is necessary to take assistance of the Vedas, which are coming from the highest authority Krishna, the Supreme Lord of the spiritual and material worlds.
The Vedic knowledge is not experimental knowledge arrived at by men with imperfect senses. It is the truth that can be verified by men with imperfect senses by acceptance and practical application in their life. There are three criterions or conditions that are required to be sure that a statement of transcendental fact is true. First, the fact must be stated in the Vedas of which the highest threshold of authority are the Upanisads, the Srimad Bhagavatam, and the Bhagavad-gita. Second, authorized Vaisnava acaryas (saintly teachers) confirm and exemplify the same principles given in the Vedas. The acaryas come in the line of disciplic succession of Brahma, Sri Laxsmi, the four Kumaras and Lord Siva. The four Vaisnava lineages accept that Lord Krishna or Narayana is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Although the four sampradayas affirm the same truth, the lineage of Brahma in which Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared has preserved the most evolved representation of the transcendental reality. Third, the statements and actions of the present teacher or guru is in accordance and confirms the first two. There is a triangle of confirmation with three points that must concur: sastra (Vedic scripture), sadhu (previous saints in disciplic succession) and guru (the present teacher). When these three conditions are confirmed, one can be assured that the transcendental knowledge one receives is true for all time and in all conditions unless there is a caveat that the particular knowledge is limited to certain conditions.
Mundane knowledge is always conditioned by the three modes of material nature and thus is full of imperfections and limitations. Transcendental knowledge is free of any taint by the three modes of material nature.
If we accept transcendental knowledge from the Vedas confirmed by previous acaryas and the present bona fide guru, then we can directly acknowledge that God exists and is real and eternally the Supreme Personality. If someone does not accept the authority of the Vedas, then we can use the method of speaking about the known to understand the unknown.
We begin with the most simple and direct presentation by asking a skeptical person if they believe they are a person. Most people will admit that they are a distinct person. I have, however, met people who deny that they are a person. In those cases, I ask them what they would do if I urinated on them or beat them with a stick. They invariably say, they would resist or protest or protect themselves or fight back. This proves that they are a distinct person because a chair or wall would not protest. Next, I ask, “Are your mother and father persons and their mothers and fathers and so on back in your family lineage.” If they answer yes. I then ask, “Do you think anyone one of your previous relatives was a non-person?” Most of the time, they answer no. Therefore, the original person is God. Once a person admits that they are a distinct individual, it is not difficult to prove the existence of God, the original person or ancestor.
In some cases, people argue that they believe that their original ancestor might have been a monkey or a single celled bacteria, etc. They insist that God is a character out of a fairy tale and that Darwin’s Theory of Evolution explains the origin of all species without any need or reference to God. The following six steps of logical thought will help an atheist accept that there is a superior intelligent being in the universe that is the author of universal laws that govern all movements.
1. Descartes, a French philosopher, eliminated everything in his thoughts of which he could not be sure of its existence. H arrived at the following conclusion after eliminating everything but one: “I think, therefore I am.” Cogito ergo sum which means in French – “Je pense donc Je suis”; English: “I think, therefore I am,”is a philosophical Latin statement proposed by René Descartes. The simple meaning of the phrase is that someone wondering whether or not he exists is, in and of itself, proof that he does exist – at the very least, there must be an “I” who does the thinking. The phrase became a fundamental element of Western philosophy, as it can form a foundation for all knowledge. While other knowledge could be a figment of imagination, deception or mistake, the very act of doubting one’s own existence serves as proof of the reality of one’s own existence, or at least that of one’s thought.
2. I can understand from the above that I exist as a thinker and observer. I observe things and thus there is a difference between the seer and the seen. I see objects. Therefore, there is a difference between the objects I see and myself as the seer. For example, I see my arm. If my arm is detached from my body, I continue to see it. It is obvious that there is a difference between the seer and the seen. Whether my arm is attached to my body or not, I still am the seer and I am different than the object I see.
3. The objects I perceive, the organs I use to perceive and the process of
perception have all been supplied to me. I did not create them, nor do I understand, control or maintain them. Therefore, I am not independent in the process of perception. For example, I use the internet. I did not create the internet, I do not control or own the internet, nor do I understand how the internet works. Yet, I am able to use the internet. My use of the internet depends on many other people and organizations that control it. I am dependent on them to use it. The same applies to my ability to perceive.
4. My power of seeing or perception is limited. Every human being is born with four fundamental defects: we make mistakes, we are subject to illusion, our senses are imperfect and we have a cheating propensity. Thus we are conditioned by our body and the forces of nature that influence our body. We are dependent and limited. We cannot see around corners or through walls or at a great distance. We can’t hear radio waves unless we have a radio. We can’t see television waves unless we have a television. Our senses are limited. Even with powerful instruments to help us extend our perception, our senses are still limited.
5. The seer is fundamentally different than the seen by virtue of the fact that the seer feels dissatisfaction due to the limitations of conditioned material existence. For example, a golfer is about to putt the golf ball into the hole. He carefully putts but the ball misses the hole. He feels dissatisfaction and frustration. The golf ball, however, feels nothing because it does not possess consciousness like the golfer. The consciousness of the golfer expressed by his dissatisfaction at missing the putt indicates that the golfer is different than the golf ball. The golf ball is made of a combination of matter but does not possess consciousness. The golfer is dissatisfied because he has consciousness.
Consciousness is more than a combination of matter. The golfer’s body like the golf ball is made of matter, but there is another dimension in the body of the golfer that is not a product of material combination. That is his consciousness. Feelings of love, attachment, dissatisfaction, etc. indicate that a person has a non-material dimension that perceives and feels experiences in the material body. These conscious feelings can radically alter one’s behavior and expressions.
The fact that consciousness is not a product of material combination is evident at the moment of death. Right before death, a person is still conscious. When the person dies, the body loses consciousness. After death, it becomes evident that consciousness is not merely a combination of matter because the same material body is still present but it is lacking consciousness. If the body and consciousness are both merely a combination of chemicals, then why can’t the doctors revive the body by injecting whatever chemicals are missing? The answer is that consciousness is not a product of material combination. In fact, why don’t scientists carefully measure a body before and right after death to determine what chemicals are missing so that they can inject them into the body of the deceased and revive him? Obviously, they have tried but they cannot succeed in manipulating chemicals to stop death or bring a dead body back to life. Therefore, the golf ball is simply a combination of matter, but the golfer is matter animated by consciousness which is the symptom of an individual non-material soul.
6. Something cannot be animate without an intelligent person behind it. Intelligence gives direction like a higher authority. A living being cannot see or move or eat or do anything without the use of intelligence. Everyone is dependent on their own intelligence or that of a superior being.
For example, a boy purchases a scale model train set. He assembles it at home. He connects the electrical control panel to an electrical outlet and begins to enjoy running the train. The train moves forward or backward and comes to a halt by the will of the boy. The boy did not create the train set. The boy purchased the set that was created and manufactured by other persons who had the superior intelligence to design and manufacture it. The boy simply assembled the train set according to instructions by the manufacturer and then enjoys running it by his will.
There are three things to note: there is matter that can be organized and manipulated, there is the intelligence of an individual living being (the boy in this example), and there is the superior intelligence of the person or persons that conceived and made the train set.
Similarly, there is a superior intelligence that has ordered this world that we live in. Due to the incredible engineering of this world, we are able to function in it and use the many facilities that seem to be automatic. Like the boy and the train set, or the user of the internet, we do not understand how the world works, but we are able to use it or order a small part of it according to our will. There is the law of gravity, the principles of aerodynamics, thermodynamics, the precise movement of planets, tides, etc., that are studied by scientists who then produce different conveyances based on the pre-existing laws and principles that govern the universe. The scientist abstracts the architectural designs and universal laws he sees in nature; then, by using his intelligence he collects the raw materials existing in nature and transforms them to make an airplane, car, or computer. In summary, he studies the amazing ingenuity of the superior intelligent being in the universe and attempts to imitate it on a much smaller scale. It is evident that there is a superior scientist with superior intelligence that has ordered the universe and is maintaining it in a wonderful way. The scientists of this world simply imitate what they observe.
Without intelligence nothing can move. For example, I purchase all the materials for building a house and then store them on an empty lot ready to build it. But, if I follow the Darwinian principles of natural selection, genetic mutation, trial and error and random combination and permutation and hope that my house will be built by chance, it will never happen. Do you think the house will be built on my plot of land like Darwin claims the species evolved or modern followers of him claim the world was created by chance? Unless there are superior intelligent persons to direct the construction of the house and the workers to do it, it will never be built. It certainly cannot be constructed by the building materials themselves or by chance occurrence of events! Matter can only move because of superior intelligence moving and guiding it in a precise way.
We can safely and logically conclude that something cannot be animate without an intelligent person behind it. Therefore, there is a supremely intelligent person behind the entire material creation that is guiding it and his subordinates at every step. Just as there are so many intelligent people in this world guiding and molding matter into many conveyances for their purposes.
Let say I walk into the Microsoft campus and declare that the computer software company began by accident and developed by itself and that no intelligent individual(s) was behind its creation, development and continuation. What do you think the response would be? It is obvious that a psychological evaluation team would be called to determine whether I was a mentally disturbed person making such outrageously false statements. It is obvious if you visit the Microsoft Campus that it was begun, developed and continuously maintained by a group of highly intelligent persons. There is no other explanation for its continued success until today. But Microsoft is insignificant in comparison with the complexity, grandeur, and incredible technology manifest in the universe.
A man is considered crazy to express the thoughts that Microsoft started by accident and is continuing without any intelligent persons ordering and guiding it. Similarly, anyone who claims the universe with its incredible complexity and perfect movements happened by accident and that there is no intelligent superior person behind it, should also be considered crazy.
The earth revolves on its axis about 1200 miles and hour. The earth also revolves around the sun at about 2000 miles per hour. The sun also revolves on a universal orbit at another incredible speed. All these movements are going on in a synchronized manner. The movements are so perfect that we don’t feel any shaking or discomfort. Due to the exactness of these colossal movements we are able to keep time in a precise way. These movements are ordered and maintained with a regularity that seems mysterious. Is this all going on randomly? Obviously not!
As there is intelligence behind the movement of a car, airplane, bicycle, etc. so there is a superior intelligence behind the movement of the sun, moon, earth and all things.
The above logical development of thought can be accepted by any honest thinker.
To understand more specifically about the Supreme intelligent person behind the creation and maintenance of the material world and its innumerable entities, one must take guidance from Vedic authority because it is transcendental knowledge beyond our range of experience with material senses. However, we can speak of the known to understand the unknown.
For example, we can analyze our clothing like a cotton shirt or dress that is printed with multiple colors and designs. One must first start with raw cotton which grows in nature. Humans did not create the cotton plant. We may cultivate and harvest it, but we did not create it. The raw cotton is made into thread and the thread is woven into cloth. The cloth is cut in a specific pattern and stitched. It is dyed either before the stitching or after and may also be printed with multi-colored designs. Not one step in this process is random. Now compare the complexity of the shirt to that of nature. Any sane person can understand that nature could not have been created by a random process. Thus we start by the known to understand the unknown.
The fog disappears when the sun rises
muhshoushuh uhnhahyd guhlah yehrp ahrevuh guh lousahnah
The fog disappears when the sun rises. Similarly, genuine knowledge will dissipate the clouds of ignorance.
Once I owned a soap factory in France. I had purchased and installed a line of soap making machines which included a mixer that could blend 500 pounds of soap pellets. The mixer had two large metal “arms” that turned in a circular motion and moved the pellets uniformly. It had two security safeguards to avoid anyone from being pulled into the mixer. There was an on-off button on a wall near the machine that could turn the machine if a second switch on the machine itself was pressed down. This arrangement was to ensure that the operator of the machine could only get it to work if both his hands were occupied outside the machine.
One of my workers who was a Tamil from Sri Lanka had a son who was visiting him during his summer break from college. The father asked me if I could give his son a temporary job so he could make some spending money. I agreed. I needed a man to load the soap mixer and add essential oils and other additives to the soap pellets before they were loaded into a three roll grinder that uniformly crushed the pellets and broke them down into strips that would be fed into a extruding machine that would turn the strips into compact soap blocks that would then be cut and molded.
I carefully instructed the young college student how to load the soap pellets into the mixer, add the oils and then how to follow all the precautions so as not to have an accident by which he might get injured. After a batch of 500 pounds, he was obliged to clean the inside arms of the machine. I showed and explained how it was imperative for him to have both his hands engaged in turning on the machine to move the inside arms to facilitate the cleaning. I warned him not to put tape or anything else to hold down the on-off button. I had seen other workers do such a foolish thing before which exposed them to a possible horrible accident because taping the wall button down to keep it in the “on” position would free up one hand of the worker to clean the machine and move the “metal arms” by pressing the “on” button on the machine itself. I very emphatically warned the college student not to do such a thing even though it made the task of cleaning the machine more awkward because he had to stop frequently to move the inside arms of the machine by placing both hands on the two on-off buttons.
The college student said he understood. I left him to do his work. About three hours later I heard the most heart-wrenching scream of my life. It came from the soap making area. I ran as fast as I could and when I arrived I saw the college student’s arm hopelessly mangled by the metal arms of the mixer. He did exactly what I told him not to do. He taped the on-off button on the wall down to the “on” position. This freed on of his hands to clean the machine while activating the on-off button on the machine to move the metal arms. He inadvertently got his hand up to his wrist mangled by one of the metal arms of the machine. He was screaming and writhing in pain. He father had already fainted. I tried not to panic. One of the workers had already stopped the machine quick enough so that his arm and body were not drawn into the machine. I carefully extricated his mangled hand from the machine and held the hand and arm to give a semblance that they were still connected. In fact, they were about 90% separated or torn apart. It seemed like his hand was only connected by some skin. We stopped the bleeding and rushed him to my car.
There was no time to call an ambulance. Fortunately, there was a large hospital about ten minutes from the factory. During the ride to the hospital he gained consciousness and looked at his hand and began to cry. He was very scared. He kept crying, “my hand, my hand, what is going to happen.” I reassured him that as soon as we arrive at the hospital, everything would be fine. The doctors will sew the hand back like before. He looked at me and fainted again. I tried my best not to look at his hand although I was holding it in place. I was on the verge of panic myself. My emotions were rushing wild thinking about the liabilities that would result from such an accident as well as the devastated father. I was worried about the future of the student as well.
When we arrived at the hospital, we were rushed into the emergency operating room immediately. There was no formal sign in as the situation was too dire and couldn’t wait. Some nurses strapped the student on a type of operating table and carefully extended his arm and mangled hand on a second table for examination. A group of three doctors entered the room immediately. I was emotionally distraught. The doctors examined the hand and began to make observations. They named different bones, tendons, blood vessels, muscles and discussed the extent of the damage in an objective way. I began to have a glimmer of relief from my emotional disarray because I realized that the doctors were not emotional like myself. They were objective and knowledgeable. They were assessing the damage and discussing their options for operating to save the hand.
I felt some relief. The nurses asked me to leave as the doctors would quickly prepare for an operation to save the student’s hand. As I walked out, I was impressed by the objectivity of the doctors. I realized how important knowledge and training to overcome the incapacity and bewilderment caused by ignorance and lack of know-how. The doctors had studied and trained for many years to be able to objectively looked at the student’s horrendously mangled hand. They dispassionately devised a plan to operate and save the hand from amputation.
The next day, I was briefed by the doctors that the operation lasted nine hours and was a tentative success. They expected that the student would keep his hand and perhaps enjoy up to 70% or more use of the hand for the rest of his life. I was amazed and deeply impressed.
The fog disappears when the sun rises or knowledge will dissipate the clouds of ignorance.
Learning – sorvehl
Of all riches, learning is the greatest
Seek this wealth in earnest, you will be blessed
Such a precious jewel will always shine
Like the treasured metal in the goldmine
sorvehluh haroustanahl eh
Ays kantzuh shnorkov kez gorshsneh
Koharhee bes giankut guh zahrtneh
Vosskee hahnkee nuhman gahrzeh
This is my father’s brother and this is my mother’s brother. I have learned lessons from both of them.
ays hohryeghpaiyr, ays kehree, pohlohrehn tahss ahree
This is my father’s brother and this is my mother’s brother. I have learned lessons from both of them.
The Lion, the wolf and the fox
A lion, wolf and fox became brothers and went off to hunt together. They killed a ram, a sheep and a baby lamb. Before dinner, the lion said to the wolf.
“Divide the spoils of the hunt for us.”
The wolf said.
“Oh Lion king, God has already divided it for us. The ram is yours, the sheep mine and the lamb is for the fox.”
The lion became enraged and gave such a blow to the snout of the wolf that the wolf’s eyes burst out of their sockets.
The wolf was thrown violently down and yelped and cried in agony.
Now the lion addressed the fox..
“Divide the spoils.”
“Oh Lion king, God has already divided it,” said the fox. The ram is your dinner, the sheep your breakfast and the lamb your lunch.”
The lion said.
“Oh wise fox, who taught you to divide the spoils in such an equitable way?”
The fox replied.
“I learned from the eyes of the wolf that were beaten out of their sockets.”
This is a fable by Vartan Ayhkegtzee (1170-1235).
One who asks questions becomes the one who knows
hahrtzoghuh guhlah keedtzoghuh