Mrs. Bayer stood at her living room window, which opened out onto a busy street. She noticed that a little lath was loose on the window frame and decided to fix it by herself. But doing that would require her getting into a very awkward position for using the hammer. She leaned her left arm onto the window sill and with a rather large hammer in her right hand tried to hit the head of a nail which was an arm’s length away. She had to be careful of the glass, so she did not dare to give the nail one solid blow. But with a few small taps of the hammer she drove it home.
And just at that moment something happened. The hammer slipped out of her hand onto the window frame and down to the footpath far below. With a racing pulse and shock on her face, Mrs. Bayer looked down from a height of three storeys onto the crowd below …. and then heard a dull thud. She raced down the stairs to see whether she could still prevent some nasty accident. She arrived at street level, white as a sheet, and shaking all over. And what did she see? The handle of the hammer had pierced the fabric sun roof over a baby’s pram. The baby’s little hand was playing with the new toy that now dangled just in front of its shining surprised eyes.
The most noteworthy part of the story is the young mother’s version of what had actually happened. She had left the pram outside a store where she wanted to shop. But just before entering the shop, she turned back to the pram and pulled the roof up over it. There was no wind, no rain was falling, and the sun was not shining. To this day that mother does not know why she did that.
Reflection: Even a very casual examination of happenings in our lives would throw up any number of such “whys” for which we have no reasonable answer. They are the result of what I call ‘Providence,’ of which I am a firm believer. Nothing happens by chance.
By Joseph Mattappally on 12-12-2017
A young monk once spent some months in a Belgian monastery where he helped to weave a large tapestry. One day in disappointment he rose from his stool and proclaimed, “I am not doing any more of this work. It does not make sense. The directions I get are meaningless. For instance, I’ve been working with bright yellow thread, when all of a sudden I’m told to tie a knot in it and cut it off.. .. for no apparent reason. What a waste of time!”
Then an older monk took him aside and told him, “My son, you are not looking at the tapestry in the right perspective. You’re working only in one area of it, and you’re always behind it, working from the rear.”
With that he led the young man around to the front of the tapestry, which was hanging in the gigantic studio. The young man lost his breath in admiration. He had helped weave a wonderful picture of the three kings paying their respects to the Baby Jesus. The yellow thread he had been using, was part of the halo around the Christ Child’s head. Suddenly what he thought was useless and a waste of time took on a meaning.
_ Catherine Lower O’Shea
By Joseph Mattappally on 04-12-2017
Animals seem to have a special sensitivity to movements under the earth’s crust. That was shown in a special way on the occasion of a severe earthquake in the Moroccan city of Agadir on 29 February 1960.
The day before the catastrophe several hundred merchants had gathered in this port city at the edge of the desert because on the morrow the monthly market would begin. Each had brought along two or three donkeys laden with wares.
In the late afternoon of that day several of the animals became restless; by evening they could no longer be controlled. They broke away from their hitching posts, they tugged in a kind of panic at their bridles, they brayed in complaining tones. The handlers tried to quiet them, but even brutal beatings did not help. People thought there must be something extraordinary in the area ….. perhaps a great number of poisonous snakes. Finally the drivers had no choice but to move the donkeys to a spot a few kilometers outside the city, where a new night hostelry had recently been built. There peace and quiet returned to the donkeys.
In the early hours of the next morning began a continuous trembling of the earth which laid low every last dwelling in the city of Agadir and killed 12,000 inhabitants. The handlers bowed respectfully toward the donkeys that had saved their lives. Bonner Rundshau
By indian-admin on 02-12-2017
Confucius was on a long journey to another country; he came upon two children seriously arguing between them. Confident of the vast knowledge he has, he asked them to tell him the reason of the quarrel.
“I proved,” said the first boy, “that the sun is near to us at daybreak and far away from us at noon.”
The second boy jumped in saying, “The sun is far away at dawn and nearby at midday.”
“When the sun first appears,” said the first boy, “it is as big as the canopy of a carriage, but at noon it is only the size of a plate or a bowl. Well, isn’t it true that objects far away seem smaller while those nearby seem bigger?”
“When the sun comes out,” pointed out the other boy, “it is very cool, but at midday it is as hot as putting your hand in boiling water. Well, isn’t it true that what is nearer to us is hotter and what is farther off is cooler?”
Confucius was unable to settle the matter for them. The two children laughed at him shouting, “Looks like a learned…but poorer than a beggar.”
The great learned, quite unmoved by these comments, walked on. He taught the world another piece of wisdom through just being silent, when he was very much asked to talk.
The wise, communicates more in silence than with words.
By Joseph Mattappally on 25-11-2017
It is said that a thousand words equal one picture and a thousand pictures equal one live example. Motivating by live examples had been the modes operandi of great visionaries who shone like bright lamps in darkness.
At a time in which positive thinking is replaced by positive attitude and hard work with smart work, right motivation is power.
Here, it is a simple guy from a simple background who has set an elite example of successfully chasing one’s goal.
I don’t know who helped Jothi Ranjan Bagarti (32) from Orissa to reach the impossible, practically for a security guard. IAS had been his goal in life; however, he could not make it in his first attempt ten years back. Even though he seemed to be quite content with his present family life, the fire within was not settled. His intense desire to reach, where he intended, was not extinguished; it kept on kicking from within.
For the last two years, he was working hard to get through all the rigid tests. Do you know what happened? Recently he has resigned from Cognizent Technologies and another fellow will occupy his chair at the gates, for this man is now in Mussoorie for the IAS training.
By Joseph Mattappally on 21-11-2017
Quite recently, the story of a lady who was miraculously saved, passed through my fading memory. The story was about an old
lady who owned a general store and gas station. Even though the gas station was slightly away from the city, she could make a good fortune. Where all its’ previous owners lost, she won. One day, the store staff closed the front doors and left. As usual, she checked and closed the daybook, counted the bills and left the counter. Before leaving the store through the back door, she got into the cooler room – just to see all soft drinks racks are properly filled and have enough stock. It was then that she heard a ‘clink’ sound from behind – the cooler room door got closed. She neither had the key nor the mobile and it was impossible for anyone to open that heavy door from inside. Minutes rolled on and nothing happened. She yelled aloud but nobody heard her. She was sure to die in it and it was then that she saw a man opening the door from outside, and peeping his head into it. She was saved.
You will be surprised to hear why a man came into this store at so critical a time. This is another story. This grocery was
adjacent to a bread shop run by an old Spanish man, to whom she used to give a very special Good morning and a Good night every day. She did not simply wave her hands and go, just as others do. She used to look into his eyes quite affectionately as if a daughter looks at her father and trying to say something and then give a wide smile along with a ‘Hey, how are you?’ Same was her Good night in the evening too. And that day, the old man did not see her even after 15 minutes of her usual leaving time. He looked out. Her car was there and the store was closed. The old man could not resist going into the store to verify what happened. He called her from out side, but nobody answered. He entered the store through the back door and checked all the store….. nobody was there.
He grew curious and decided to check the cooler room too. That was what exactly happened. The old man said, “You are special! It is your special smile that could fetch a good business for you and also save you from death.”
“Thank you Dad,” she said, with the same brand smile on her shivering lips. She continued,
“I knew that just three seconds with anyone could make a difference. No one has ever left this store without my special three seconds. In the first second I will look into my customer’s eyes; in the next second I will tell him that you are dear to me and my business; in the third second I give a very pretty smile of thanks for being into my life.
By Joseph Mattappally on 11-11-2017
Once, a British man asked Swami Vivekananda why he does’t wear proper cloths to look like a gentleman. Swami Vivekananda smiled and replied, “In your culture a tailor makes a gentleman; but in our culture character makes a gentleman.” In core and substance, the Indian sub-continent always differed from the outer world. If the West suggested ‘know thyself’, the East proposed ‘be thyself’. Where India stood for hundred percent responsibilities on all individual manifestations, the West shouted for 50:50. If it is the evenings that are important in the West, it is the mornings that are precious in India. I cannot think of a morning skipped without a silent meditation or some thinking over the mud I need to remove that day. It is in the mornings that we plan our days’ works.
It is said that every morning we have two choices, continue to sleep with our dreams or wake up to chase them. If we choose to rise up and chase our dreams, we will have two more choices; chase our dreams until we reach them or until we are totally exhausted. Those who believe that they deserve those dreams only are likely to keep chasing and reaching them. A few years back, I was listening to a discourse in which the Master said, “Imagination is the most powerful force in the Universe. Much before a huge building is built, the designer brings the probable shape into his imagination and then only he draws the skeleton on paper which passes to structural engineers for construction procedures. Imagination (thought), word, action are the three steps of all manifestations.” If this is the key that opens to chances, mornings are the most important time slot in our days because it is the best time to imagine. It also is the best time to will our dreams into comfortable time frames of creation. As we proceed, it is this clarity that is going to help us access a perfect manifestation. A day without a morning is virtually dead.
By Joseph Mattappally on 20-10-2017
Ramesh was back at the Ashram after a short home visit. He reported before Guruji.
“Tell me son, could you apply any of what you had learned here? Could you learn something new? Could you experience your growth?” Guruji asked all these in a row.
“Well Guruji, back in the village people are suffering due to the ongoing war. No sufficient food……not enough grocery…not enough work also,” replied Ramesh.
“Oh! It is certainly bad news. What happened to them?” Asked the Guruji again.
“The war is continuing. I wish if I also could have joined the army and destroyed the enemies, who attacked us.” Ramesh replied.
After a small pause the Guruji gently spoke with a smile. “My son, this is why a man in the village is considered thrice blessed than a hermit in the forest. The villager always fights with the reality of the day, still holding tight all his spiritual aspirations. Remember that they did not feel for a fight as you did.Here you learned to love everybody…and there….even you interpreted love to be destruction of your enemy. Patriotism is not hating your enemies; it is but loving the mother land with gratitude and compromising with everybody.”
By Joseph Mattappally on 14-10-2017
A few years back there have been reports on four princesses held hostages in the palace of Saudi Arabia. Their mother was divorced without her knowledge. Somehow she escaped and is in Great Britain now. May be because they invited the displeasure of the king that they were held hostages for life. The reports say that they haven’t enough food and cloths. Still, they are called princesses.
I remember to have read the comment of a prisoner on the worst things in prison. 10th was the foul smell, 9th was racial discrimination, 8th was getting fat without exercise, solitary confinement with no books, no blankets, no lights… came 7th; 6th was drugs that were secretly available inside, then came changing economy and prices going through the roof. The fourth was losing everyone loved; third was loneliness; the second was deaths inside the prison. The first was getting out.
Is this world a great prison? According to Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, “In the prison house, if you think a first-class prison is very nice, but after all, it is prison house. Your independence is cut down. So similarly, here in this material world it is simply varieties. We call, This is first class. This is second class. This is third class. Actually, it is all third class…” Another view point is that since our bodies need necessities like food, clothing and shelter, nobody could be free because these are not entities that freely flow into. To get all these things we offer our time and effort. The rich who have all these at call also have worries. They neither are immune against illnesses nor free from worries on losses, where they also put their effort and earnings. Gautam Buddha talked extensively on the bondages that tie each human being here. Most important for any prisoner is getting out. In common life, getting out from where, is a question many do not try to answer. We do not know that we have imprisoned our dear and near on the basis of ideologies and attitudes. Even if we run out, there could be theologies and philosophies to chase us. Sensible humans conclude that freedom is the privilege of only the spirits.
By Joseph Mattappally on 26-09-2017
Philipp Budekin (22), nick named Philipp Lis (Fox), the ring leader of the notorious suicide game, ‘Blue Whale’, was punished recently by a Siberian Court, on charges of inciting young people to suicide. What that stirred my cool consciousness was his point of self-defence. He argued that he is clearing the world from biological wastes; he had a well thought purpose.
What is biological waste according to him? Is it a human being spending his time on Android? Could be. I think the Court also would have agreed to this argument to some extend. Otherwise he would have been imprisoned for all his life or sentenced to be killed, for he is alleged involvement in the death of more than a hundred preys so far, instead of the Russian equivalent of an open Jail which he got now and that too only for just three years.
Are we turning to biological wastes? This is one question which we have to ask ourselves now? If we look back to the favours we claim to be getting from this Android life, it could be something like a full time news updation or an every time entertainment world. It might be making us more social, more knowledgeable and more advanced.
But Budekin says that all these create biological wastes only!
Let us live great, just clearing ourselves from being biological wastes anymore, enslaved to Zuckerbergs and Steve Jobs.
There are many thousands of people who don’t have a Facebook account. They are smarter, no doubt at all! Keeping all these at its own time and place is something which we all can successfully do.