Miscellany and Trivia

Anecdote Srinivasa Ramanujan – Tamil Indian mathematician and autodidact (1887 – 1920)

I remember once going to see him when he was lying ill at Putney," the mathematician G. H. Hardy once remarked. "I had ridden in taxicab number 1729, and remarked that the number seemed to me rather a dull one, and that I hoped it was not an unfavorable omen. "'No,' he replied, 'it is a very interesting number; it is the smallest number expressible as the sum of two cubes in two different ways.'"

Anecdote Georg Wilhelm Hegel – German idealist and philosopher (1770 – 1831)

Even on his deathbed Hegel remained abstractly philosophical. "Only one man ever understood me," he remarked, with a pause, "and even he didn't understand me."

Anecdote Warren Austin – American politician and statesman (1877 – 1962)

One day in 1948, Warren Austin, America's Ambassador to the United Nations, urged the warring Arabs and Jews to sit down and settle their differences... "like good Christians."

Anecdote George Harrison – English rock musician, guitarist, singer-songwriter, actor and film producer and lead guitarist of The Beatles (1943 – 2001)

In 1966, George Harrison (the quiet, spiritual Beatle) began to study the teachings of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. One day, the "quiet one" drove from France to Portugal chanting "Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna" for 23 consecutive hours - and claimed to have been transcendentally guided to his destination after foregoing the use of road directions.

Some time later, Harrison found himself passing through a nasty storm aboard a turbulent flight. He promptly pressed his feet into the seat before him and started shouting, "Hare Krishna! Hare Krishna!"

"I know for me," Harrison declared after the plane touched down, "the difference between making it and not making it was chanting the mantra."

Anecdote Sai Baba – Indian Guru, mystic, philanthropist and educator (1926 – 2011)

Swami often asks young boys, "How many brothers do you have?" Boys invariably reply along expected lines by saying two, or three, etc., as is the case. Swami then smiles and softly whispers, "All are your brothers!" After this He asks of another boy, "How many friends do you have?" Taking the cue from the earlier conversation, this second boy would say, "Swami, all are my friends." Swami would again smile, and gently say, "No, all are not your friends; God alone is your friend!"

Anecdote Peter Sellers – British actor (1925 – 1980)

Late one night, following a disappointing day wrestling with a troublesome scene in one of the Pink Panther films, director Blake Edwards was roused by a call from the film's star, Peter Sellers. "I just talked to God!" he exclaimed. "And He told me how to do it!"
The next day, Edwards humored Sellers - and the result was an unmitigated disaster. "Peter," Edwards suggested, "next time you talk to God, tell Him to stay out of show business!"

Anecdote about learning

A university professor went to visit a famous Zen master. While the master quietly served tea, the professor talked about wanting to learn Zen. The master poured the visitor's cup to the brim, and then kept pouring. The professor watched the overflowing cup until he could no longer restrain himself. "It's overfill! No more will go in!" the professor blurted. "You are like this cup," said the master.

Anecdote Lauritz Melchior – Danish and later American opera singer (1890 – 1973)

Gift from Heaven

"When I was a struggling musical student," the famed heroic tenor Lauritz Melchior once recalled, "living in a small pension in Munich, I was sitting in the garden one day, learning the words of a new opera. As I sang the words, 'Come to me, my love, on the wings of light,' there was a flutter, a flash of white, and there sitting at my feet, was a beautiful little creature who had dropped right out of the blue.
"It was Maria Hacker, a diminutive Bavarian actress. Stunting for a movie thriller, she had jumped from an airplane and landed, parachute and all, practically in my arms. And that was She. I thought that she came to me from heaven. I still think so..."
[They were married between 1925 and Hacker's death in 1963.]

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