Miscellany and Trivia

Anecdote Albert Einstein – German born theoretical physicist (1879 – 1955)

While his physical theories and experiments were an impenetrable mystery to his second wife, Elsa, she often expressed a desire to learn. "Couldn't you tell me a little about your work?" she asked one day. "People talk a lot about it, and I appear so stupid when I say I know nothing." Einstein, after a moment's thought, produced a curious solution to her human problem: "If people ask," he advised, "tell them you know all about it, but can't tell them, as it is a great secret!"

Anecdote Jean-Paul Sartre – French existentialist philosopher, playwright, novelist and political activist (1905 – 1980)

Near the end of his life, the famed existentialist philosopher Jean Paul Sartre told Pierre Victor: "I do not feel that I am the product of chance, a speck of dust in the universe, but someone who was expected, prepared, prefigured. In short, a being whom only a Creator could put here; and this idea of a creating hand refers to God."

His fellow existentialist and long-time companion Simone de Beauvoir was not impressed. "How," she asked, "should one explain the senile act of a turncoat?"

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!"




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