Banyan Tree - Banyan Tree - Oct 2006
by Life Positive
I Weave a Silence
I weave a silence onto my lips.
I weave a silence into my mind.
I weave a silence within my heart.
I close my ears to distractions.
I close my eyes to attractions.
I close my heart to temptations.
Calm me, O Lord, as you stilled the storm.
Still me, O Lord, keep me from harm.
Let all tumult within me cease.
Enfold me, Lord, in your peace.
A Gaelic prayer
May Peace be with You
The word shalom (Hebrew) derives from the root shin-lamedh-mem which means completeness, fulfillment, wellbeing, a concept usually encapsulated by translation in the word peace. Hence usage of shalom in the Hebrew Bible often refers to conditions related to peace: safety, health and prosperity of individuals and nations.
Summed up as peace, it can refer to either peace between two entities, (especially between man and God or possibly between two countries), or to true inner peace, calmness or safety of one individual. It is also used as a greeting to either say hello or farewell, and is found in many other expressions and names. Its equivalent in Arabic is salaam.
By extension, Salaam Aleikum, the Islamic greeting means, "Peace be upon you".
A minister dies and is waiting in line at the Pearly Gates. Ahead of him is a guy who's dressed in sunglasses, a loud shirt, leather jacket, and jeans. Saint Peter addresses this guy, "Who are you, so that I may know whether or not to admit you to the Kingdom of Heaven?"
The guy replies, "I'm Joe Cohen, taxi-driver, of New York City."
Saint Peter consults his list. He smiles and says to the taxi-driver, "Take this silken robe and golden staff and enter the Kingdom of Heaven."
It's the minister's turn. He stands erect and booms out, "I am Joseph Snow, pastor of Saint Mary's for the last 43 years."
Saint Peter consults his list. He says to the minister, "Take this cotton robe and wooden staff and enter the Kingdom of Heaven."
"Just a minute," says the minister. "That man was a taxi-driver and he gets a silken robe and golden staff. How can this be?"
"Up here, we work by results," says Saint Peter. "While you preached, people slept; while he drove, people prayed."
One Man's Virtue
Only Brahmans lived in a certain village, and they were all very pious. In one such family, one night, the youngest daughter-in-law felt the need to go out and pee. It was very dark. So she made water over the embers of the holy fire in the middle of the hut. In the morning, when the family woke up, they found an ingot of pure gold in the embers.
The head of the family, an old and wise Brahman, said at once, "Someone has done something wrong. How else would there be a bar of gold in a Brahman fireplace?" Finally, the youngest daughter-in-law confessed. He warned her not to do it again. Slowly at first, and then more often, bars of gold began to appear in the ritual fires of various Brahman families. Many of them became rich. The village was no longer the same.
But one family continued to be poor. The wife quarreled with her husband every day. "Why don't you let me go at least once in the ritual fireplace?" she pleaded. He answered, "Do you know why this whole Brahman village is still held together? We are holding the whole community together by what we are."
He added, "I'll show you the truth of what I say. Pack up everything and let's move to the next village. You'll see what happens."
Within a week, quarrels arose among the Brahmans. One day, in greed and anger, one family set fire to another. The fires spread, and house after house was burned down till there was nothing left of the village.
When the news reached him, the Brahman who had moved away said to his wife, "You didn't believe me. One's virtue guards not only oneself but everyone around."
Adapted from Folktales from India by A.K. Ramanujan
Inner Voice of vVctory
Nikita Vaid, blind since birth, recently topped the Bachelor of Management Studies (BMS) course, an undergraduate program run by the University of Mumbai. Her victory is all the more meritorious because she was actively discouraged from taking the entrance exam by officials who feared that she would not be up to doing the project/field work.
A student of Mulund College of Commerce, Nikita attributes her success to her "inner voice" which has always stood by her in difficult times. "Since childhood, I did not go to a school for the blind, though I learnt Braille at home. I believed I could also excel."
Her determination made her take the entrance test three years ago. She was unable to attempt questions that accounted for 30 per cent of the marks because they involved visual reasoning. "It was a handicap. But I wagered my future on the other 70 per cent. I managed to get a decent score," she recalls.
This apart, she is a trained Hindustani classical singer and has also won the College Queen title in her second year. She also won the title of Best Student of the college. She topped the exam despite the fact that the statistics paper had to be answered in a tabular form. How did she manage this? "It was my third eye that solved every question," she says. This spiritually gifted girl uses insight instead of sight
What a lesson she is for the rest of us who allow small handicaps and imagined difficulties from making our dreams come true. Nikita proves that handicaps exist in the mind and nowhere else. Hats off to this gutsy and determined youngster and may success pursue her in all she does.
Subject: Niceone - 25 April 2007
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