Miscellany and Trivia

Anecdote Swami Vivekananda – A spiritual genius of commanding intellect and power (1863-1902)

Dec 13 2009

Once at Varanasi, as Swamiji was coming out of the temple of Mother Durga, he was surrounded by a large number of chattering monkeys. They seemed to be threatening him. Swamiji did not want them to catch hold of him, so he started to run away. But the monkeys chased him. An old sannyasin was there, watching those monkeys. He called out to Swamiji, ‘Stop! Face the brutes!’ Swamiji stopped. He turned round and faced the monkeys. At once, they ran away. Many years later, Swamiji said: ‘If you ever feel afraid of anything, always turn round and face it. Never think of running away.’

VEGETARIANISM, an Ethical Diet for Peace and Plenty

R.P. Jain—India

Good health, spirituality, sound ethics, balanced ecology and favorable economics are among the reasons a plant-based diet beats meat-eating today.

This editorial is drawn from a talk given by the author during the Gandhi Peace Panel lectures on October 2, 2008, at the Eastern Connecticut State University, Willimantic, Connecticut, USA.

In India, the land of Ahimsa, or nonviolence, people have traditionally been vegetarian. Hailing from a family of staunch vegetarians, I consider myself fortunate to be living in harmony with the principles of nature. As a Jain follower, I strongly advocate a vegetarian diet, which I find superior not only from a moral stance, but also from the health and culinary points of view. Guests at our home, coming from both vegetarian and nonvegetarian backgrounds, are always overwhelmed with what they describe as the unbelievable taste and richness of our vegetarian cuisine.

Read more: VEGETARIANISM, an Ethical Diet for Peace and Plenty

Anecdote Dalai Lama

Bill Moyers (co-author of Power of Myth) was interviewing the Dalai Lama one day. A mosquito kept buzzing around the room, coming very close to their faces at times. All of a sudden, Smack! The Dalai Lama clapped the mosquito between his hands. Moyers was shocked. He said, “I can’t believe what I just saw! You killed that mosquito!”

“Yes,” the Dalai Lama replied.

“Well, don’t you feel bad for killing a living creature?” asked Moyers.
“No,” said the Dalai Lama, “I gave him two warnings!”

Anecdote Salvador Dali –Surrealistic Spanish Painter (1904–1989)

Dali once took his pet ocelot with him to a New York restaurant and tethered it to a leg of the table while he ordered coffee. A middle-aged lady walked past and looked at the animal in horror. “What’s that?” she cried. “It’s only a cat,” said Dali scathingly. “I’ve painted it over with an op-art design.” The woman, embarrassed by her initial reaction, took a closer look and sighed with relief. “I can see now that’s what it is,” she said. “At first I thought it was a real ocelot.”

Anecdote Robert Browning – British Poet (1812–1889)

Browning’s “Sordello” was published in 1840. It is a simple story about an obscure heir to a dukedom in thirteenth-century Italy. But Browning’s interest in and description of the development of the human soul complicates the tale considerably. Baffled readers resorted to the poet for an explanation. Members of the London Poetry Society asked Browning for an interpretation of a particularly difficult passage. Browning read it once, then twice, then frowned, and shrugged his shoulders. “When I wrote that, God and I knew what it meant, but now God alone knows.”

What Bach Is for Me

Witten by Albert Schweitzer, in 1905, at the age of 30.

“Bach is an affirmation. He reassures me that in art, as in life, truth cannot be ignored or subdued. Art does not need any human promotion; it will realize itself by its own strength when its time has come. We need this faith in order to live. Bach had it. Under poorest material conditions, without getting tired or discouraged, without appealing to the world to take notice of his work, without doing anything to preserve it for the future, his single concern was to create what is true.”

“His works are great and he is as great as his works. They teach us to be still, to be collected.”

Read more: What Bach Is for Me

Anecdote Joy Mills

When addressing a group of theosophists in Europe some years ago:

“The odd thing with most theosophists is, if they were given the choice, that instead of actually entering Nirvana, they’d prefer to only talk about it.”


(Picasso recalls his mother’s ambitions for him.)

“When I was a child, my mother said to me, ‘If you become a soldier, you’ll be a general. If you become a monk, you’ll end up as Pope.’ Instead I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.”

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