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Whatever may be said, who ever may say it - to
determine the truth of it, is wisdom - Thirukural
Reflections 2004 : Chinthanaigal
Reflections 2005 Reflections
Reflection by Jayalakshmi Satyendra
Saturday 25 December 2004 Christmas Day
அன்பும் சிவமும் இரண்டென்பர் அறிவிலார்
அன்பேசிவமாவது யாரும் அறிகிலார்
அன்பே சிவமாவது யாரும் அறிந்தபின்
Saturday 18 December 2004
Alvin Toffler, individuals and organisations have long been
obsessed with trying to see the future. The goal is to somehow
get advance warning of "what will be".... (However) the goal is
not to speculate on what might happen but to imagine what you
can actually make happen... You can't be a revolutionary without
a revolutionary point of view... You have to become your own
seer, your own guru, and your own futurist.. A fresh way of
seeing is often more valuable than sheer brainpower..."
Gary Hamel in Leading the Revolution, 2000
Wednesday 1 December 2004
"To know and not to do, is really not to know. To learn and
not to do is not to learn. In other words, to understand
something but not apply it is really not to understand it. It is
only by the doing, the applying, that knowledge and
understanding are internalised. For instance, you could study
tennis as a sport by reading books, and hearing lectures, but
until you've actually played it, you wouldn't know the sport. To
know and not to do is not to know."
in the 8th Habit : From Effectiveness to Greatness
Sunday 21 November 2004
"Yasser Arafat: master tactician, failed strategist...Nations
are born of battle, and the battles that began in 1970 and raged
until the mid-1990s established a principle - there is now, if
there was not before, a nation called Palestine...Mr Arafat..
had established the principle of Palestine, but he had failed to
define what that Palestinian nation meant and what it wanted...
Mr Arafat's tactic was to appear the statesman restraining
uncontrollable radicals. He understood that he needed Western
support to get a state, and he used this role superbly. He
appeared moderate and malleable in English, radical and
intractable in Arabic. This was his dilemma. Mr Arafat led a
nation that had no common understanding of their goal. There
were those who wanted to recover a part of Palestine and be
content. There were those who wanted to recover part of
Palestine and use it as a base of operations to retake the rest.
There were those who would accept no intermediate deal but
wanted to destroy Israel. Mr Arafat's fatal problem was that in
the course of creating the Palestinian nation, he had convinced
all three factions that he stood with them. Like many
politicians, Mr Arafat had made too many deals. He successfully
persuaded the West that he genuinely wanted a compromise and
that he could restrain terrorism. But he also persuaded
Palestinians that any deal was temporary, and others that he
wouldn't accept any deal. By the time of the Oslo accords, he
was so tied up in knots that he could no longer speak for the
nation he created...The Palestinians are left now without
strategy, only tactics..." George Friedman in the Straits
Times, 21 November 2004
Sunday 7 November 2004
" We love the British Empire,
We love it very much,
It gives us peace and happiness,
It gives us clothes and such..."
Manipuri Dancing Girls in India once sang this ditty as they
entertained officers of the British Indian Army. (quoted by Asad
Latif in review of
Forgotten Armies: The Fall Of
British Asia, 1941-1945 by Christopher Bayly and Tim Harper )
Saturday 6 November 2004
“To step aside from aggressive responses to problem-solving
requires using some little-used skills: humility, curiosity, and
a willingness to listen. Humility is a brave act–we have to
admit that we don’t know enough to solve the problem, that
approaches aren’t working and never will. Even our own treasured
answers are insufficient–if everyone bowed to our demands and
did what we asked, the problem still would not be solved... " We
need more information, more insight. This kind of humility is
rare in competitive, embattled organizations and communities,
but it is the door we must walk through to find the place of
true solutions. One wise educator put it this way: ‘Humility is
admitting that I don’t know the whole story. Compassion is
recognizing that you don’t know it either.’ " - Margaret
Wheatley, Author of
*Turning to One Another: Simple Conversations to Restore Hope to the Future
(contributed by Satyendra Chelvendra)
"...Trust grows when people see leaders
translate their personal integrity into organisational fidelity. At the heart of
fidelity lies truth telling and promise keeping. In organisations truth is not, as some
like to think, power. Truth sets us free....Without truth, trust becomes overshadowed and
stunted by the undergrowth of partial lies and outright falsehoods..."
De Pree - Leading Without
Power : Finding Hope in Serving Community
Thursday 28 October 2004
Thursday 21 October 2004
"It has been repeatedly asked, 'Of what possible use can the
republication, translation and editing of books like
Thiruvasagam be?' - and 'Who can be
expected to desire to make themselves acquainted with such works?' ... If the Tamil people
and the English are ever in a degree to understand one another, and to appreciate each
other's thoughts and feelings regarding the highest matters... our English people must
have the means of obtaining some insight into the living system which exercises at the
present day such a marvellous power over the minds of the great majority of the Tamil
people... The sacred mystic poetry of a people reveals their character and aspirations more
truly than even their secular legends and ballads... The attentive consideration of the
system here developed must lead to a sympathetic appreciation of what the hopes, fears,
aspirations of the devoutest Hindu minds in the South are, and have been from time
immemorial..." Reverend G.U.Pope in the preface to his English translation of Thiruvasagam in 1900
Monday 11 October 2004
“As our studies have suggested, the phenomenology of
enjoyment has eight major components. When people reflect on how
it feels when their experience is most positive, they mention at
least one, and often all, of the following. First, the
experience usually occurs when we confront tasks we have a
chance of completing. Second, we must be able to concentrate on
what we are doing. Third and fourth, the concentration is
usually possible because the task undertaken has clear goals and
provides immediate feedback. Fifth, one acts with a deep but
effortless involvement that removes from awareness the worries
and frustrations of everyday life. Sixth, enjoyable experiences
allow people to exercise a sense of control over their actions.
Seventh, concern for the self disappears, yet paradoxically the
sense of self emerges stronger after the flow experience is
over. Finally, the sense of duration of time is altered; hours
pass by in minutes, and minutes can stretch out to seem like
hours. The combination of all these elements causes a deep
enjoyment that is so rewarding people feel that expending a
great deal of energy is worthwhile simply to be able to feel it.
- Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi in
Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience
"How old would you be if you didn't know how old
you were?" -
(contributed by Satyendra Chelvendra)
Thursday 7 October 2004
"...சமாதானத்தை நான் ஆத்மபூர்வமாக விரும்புகின்றேன். எனது மக்கள்
நிம்மதியாக, சமாதானமாக, கௌரவமாக வாழ வேண்டும் என்பதே எனது ஆன்மீக
இலட்சியம். ..விடுதலைப் புலிகள் மக்களிலிருந்து வேறுபட்டவர்கள் அல்ல. விடுதலைப்
ஒரு மக்கள் இயக்கம். மக்கள் தான் புலிகள்.
எமது மக்கள் போற்றப்பட வேண்டியவர்கள். கௌரவிக்கப்பட வேண்டியவர்கள்.
தேசியப் போராட்டத்தில் எமது மக்களின் பங்களிப்பு சாதாரணமானதல்ல.
அவர்களது பங்களிப்பு அளப்பரியது என்றுதான் சொல்வேன். இலைமறை காய்யாக
இருந்து விடுதலைப் போராட்டத்திற்குத் தோள் கொடுத்துவரும் எமது எண்ணற்ற
ஆதரவாளர்களையும் அனுதாபிகளையும் மன உறுதி படைத்த மாமனிதர்கள் என்றுதான்
அரசியல் என்பது மக்கள் மீது ஆட்சியை நடாத்தும் அல்லது அதிகாரம்
செலுத்தும் விவகாரம் அல்ல. அரசியல் என்பது மக்களுக்குச் சேவை புரியும்
பணி. மக்களின் நல்வாழ்வுக்கு ஆற்றுப்படும் தொண்டு.
Pirabakaran on Peace, People & Governance
Wednesday 29 September 2004
"Some quarrellers do not realise that in this world
We must all at some time cease to live
But there are others who do realise,
And they will settle their quarrels."
From the Dhammapada quoted by a Sinhala
teacher from Balapitiya, Sri Lanka
in a tribute to
the memory of S.Nadesan Q.C. on his 10th Death Anniversary
Saturday 11 September 2004
"There are things that we know. And then there are known unknowns. That
is to say there are things that we now know that we don't know. But
there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we do not know we
don't know....that is, the absence of evidence is not evidence of
absence....simply because you do not have evidence that something exists
does not mean that you have evidence that it doesn't exist..."
US Defence Secretary Rumsfeld quoted
by Howard Zinn in 'Iraq is not a Liberated Country but An Occupied Country'
Thursday 9 September 2004
Terrorism 59 years before
- Toge Sankichi: Hibakusha (A-bomb survivor)
- Toge Sankichi was born in Japan in 1921. He started writing poems
at the age of eighteen. He was twenty-four when the
dropped on Hiroshima on 6 August 1945. He died at age thirty-six, a victim of leukemia resulting
from the A-bomb. His first hand experience of the bomb, his passion
for peace and his realistic insight into the event made him the
leading Hiroshima poet in Japan. [ see also
Hiroshima & Nagasaki -
The Atomic Bombings of Japan:
A 50-Year Retrospective]
How could I ever forget that flash of light!
In a moment thirty thousand people ceased to be
The cries of fifty thousand killed
Through yellow smoke whirling into light
Buildings split, bridges collapsed
Crowded trams burnt as they rolled about
Hiroshima, all full of boundless heaps of embers
Soon after, skin dangling like rags
With hands on breasts
Treading upon the spilt brains
Wearing shreds of burnt cloth round their loins
There came numberless lines of the naked
Bodies on the parade ground, scattered like
jumbled stone images
Crowds in piles by the river banks
loaded upon rafts fastened to shore
Turned by and by into corpses
under the scorching sun
in the midst of flame
tossing against the evening sky
Round about the street where mother and
brother were trapped alive under the fallen house
The fire-flood shifted on
On beds of filth along the Armory floor
Heaps, God knew who they were....
Heaps of schoolgirls lying in refuse
with half their skin peeled off, bald
The sun shone, and nothing moved
but the buzzing flies in the metal basins
Reeking with stagnant odor
How can I forget that stillness
Prevailing over the city of three hundred thousand?
Amidst that calm
How can I forget the entreaties
Of the departed wife and child
Through their orbs of eyes
Cutting through our minds and souls?
|At the First-Aid Station
Who weep although you have no ducts for tears
Who cry although you have no lips for words
Who wish to clasp
Although you have no skin to touch
Limbs twitching, oozing blood and foul secretions
Eyes all puffed-up slits of white
Tatters of underwear
Your only clothing now
Yet with no thought of shame
Ah! How fresh and lovely you all were
A flash of time ago
When you were school girls, a flash ago
Who could believe it now?
Out from the murky, quivering flames
Of burning, festering Hiroshima
You step, unrecognizable
even to yourselves
You leap and crawl, one by one
Onto this grassy plot
Wisps of hair on bronze bald heads
Into the dust of agony Why have you had to suffer this?
Why this, the cruelest of inflictions?
Was there some purpose?
You look so monstrous, but could not know
How far removed you are now from mankind
Perhaps you think
Of mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters
Could even they know you now?
Of sleeping and waking, of breakfast and home
Where the flowers in the hedge scattered in a flash
And even the ashes now have gone
Thinking, thinking, you are thinking
Trapped with friends
who ceased to move, one by one
Thinking when once you were a daughter
A daughter of humanity
Thursday 26 August 2004
"...I don't know what I may seem to the world, but as for
myself, I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the
sea-shore and diverting myself in now and then finding a
smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the
great ocean of truth lay all
undiscovered before me..."
Isaac Newton, cited in the
Oxford Dictionary of Quotations (Oxford University Press).
"...The most beautiful and profound emotion emotion we can
experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the source of
all true science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger,
who can no longer wonder and stand
rapt in awe, is as good as dead. To know that what is
impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the
highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, which our dull
faculties can comprehend only in their primitive forms --- this
knowledge, this feeling, is at the center of true religion..."
Albert Einstein, in
The Enlightened Mind, ed. Stephen Mitchell (New York: Harper
Thursday 19 August 2004
"...One of the greatest lessons I've learned in life is that
success is neither the destination nor the journey, but a way of travelling. Destinations
and journeys inevitably involve arrivals and endings. I have always felt the word
for example was misspelled. The word should be retried or maybe, reinspired.
Retired implies tired again or perhaps tired for the final time... Life is not something
to step back from and admire when completed. It is an ongoing process of design, laying
the foundations, forming, erecting, bonding, changing, detailing, refining and
renovating... It is always under construction.. It calls for us to gain hindsight from all
that went before... It calls for us to gain foresight by imagining a better world ahead
for all by passing on our trials, errors, and achievements as lessons in leadership. It
calls for us to live in the present, longing for neither yesterday nor tomorrow, but
rather facing what today offers, boldly, optimistically and flexibly..."
Empires of the
Mind : Lessons to Lead and Succeed in a Knowledge-Based World Paperback (August
Friday 6 August 2004
"Like all people, they (the blacks) have differing personalities, diverse
financial interests, and varied
aspirations. There are Negroes who will never fight for freedom. There are
Negroes who will seek profit for themselves alone from the struggle. There even
are some Negroes who will co-operate with the oppressors. These facts should
distress no one. Every minority, and every people has its share of opportunists,
profiteers, freeloaders and escapists .... No one can pretend that because a
people may be oppressed, every individual member is virtuous and worthy. The
real issue is whether in the great mass the dominant characteristics are
honour and courage" -
Luther King quoted by S.Sivanayagam on The Role of Tamil Expatriates:
"Grandpa, where were you when the Tamil people were fighting for
freedom in Sri Lanka?"
Monday 26 July 2004
“One of the greatest dangers of success is the tendency to
ignore or discount negative information about ourselves or our
business. Real friendship – sharing the self that lies below the
pleasant surface and trusting someone with sensitive information
– becomes impossible. It’s a too common scenario that, as the
achiever rises, old friends are gradually dropped and only
sycophants and bringers of good news are allowed in. As honest
information needed to sustain success becomes scarce, the
leader, who now gets only carefully filtered feedback, is
operating in partial darkness, missing important signals that
should be heeded” - John R. O'Neil - *The Paradox of Success: When Winning at Work Means Losing at Life : A Book
of Renewal for Leaders
Monday 19 July 2004
" Where does the
noble concept of
self-determination stop? In expedience. Purists may yearn
for a single principle to apply across the board. But, says
Brent Scowcroft, George Bush's National Security Adviser,
"consistency here doesn't work." Pragmatism is what rules the
world of power politics,
in which a range of less high-minded considerations determines
who wins and who loses in the statehood lottery. The bad luck of
historical accident is what has left most current claimants out
in the cold. To change that, you need to be in the right
movement at the right time in the right place. The
northern Iraq were just another bunch of bickering agitators
until the U.S. needed them to challenge Saddam Hussein. No one
cared a whit for the Kosovars until Slobodan Milosevic ground
them into the dirt. It obviously helps to be the victim of a
reviled dictator. But Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka: Your moment has
yet to arrive." Johanna McGeary, Time Magazine, 8 March 1999
(see also National Lottery?
by Nadesan Satyendra, 12 March 1999 - "It is true that the historical situation in which a people
find themselves will impact on their struggle for freedom. But, states do not
come into being by 'luck'. Often, that which passes off as 'luck' is the meeting of
opportunity with preparation - and 'bad luck' may be simply a reflection of a failure to
prepare adequately and lead effectively...." )
Friday 9 July 2004
"...If a man asks himself how he ever became interested
in those fields of thought which were destined to occupy the most
important place throughout his life, he will not find it easy to
give a simple answer. Perhaps he was born with an inclination for
certain questions, or perhaps it was the influence of certain
teachers, or of current ideas, or of personal experiences which led
him along the path of his later interests - who knows which of these
factors have determined the course of his life? Indeed, if one
wanted to know precisely the relative weight of all these factors,
nothing short of a detailed historical autobiography could even
attempt to give the answers... Our main
task is to give birth
to ourselves." -
Eric Fromm in Beyond the Chain of
Sunday 4 July 2004
"...The basic questions we encounter when we look deeply into the shadow are
spiritual questions. They concern our place and purpose in the world, the
significance of our lives, and our personal connection to whatever force keeps
the world humming along. Most of us today have moved away from the religious
structures that once supplied answers to these questions, but the questions have
not gone away. Our compulsive busyness, our dread of unstructured time, and our
reluctance to be alone with ourselves are rooted in the uncomfortable sense that
our lives lack meaning, that we are disconnected and alone. But the paradox of
spiritual life, as seekers have learned for centuries, is that by looking deeply
inside ourselves we discover our strong connections with other people, the
physical world, and the spirit that moves it.... 'One is always alone with or
among things and others.' Conversely... the experience of being alone is one of
discovery - of ourselves and the world we inhabit: . . . the self is always
capable of experience and action - that is to say, is never isolated. Loneliness
and solitude, therefore, discover rather than conceal the world, self, others,
and things.' Living a spiritual life could be defined as living so that
our most deeply held values and convictions are congruent with our actions...."
John R. O'Neil - *The Paradox of Success: When Winning at Work Means Losing at Life : A Book
of Renewal for Leaders
19 June 2004
"....Shortly before he retired as CEO of Shell Oil, Phil Carroll reflected on
his personal journey as CEO by saying, “Every process of transformation begins
with your self. It has to start with personal change. The abstraction of
corporate transformation – that’s a result, that’s not a method.” He then talked
about how difficult the journey had been. “I had to do a lot of soul searching
about how I behaved, what I thought was important. Were my personal objectives
and aspirations consistent with what I would try to hope for in the company?”
One of his great discoveries was that “vulnerability is a very important element
in leadership. If you are not willing to make yourself vulnerable, then you
can’t provide good leadership”. Vulnerability can actually increase your
Senge - Author of The Fifth Discipline : The Art and Practice of the Learning
Organization (contributed by Satyendra Chelvendra)
Friday 11 June 2004
“What is real life ?”A little boy has asked this question. Playing games,
eating good food, running, jumping, pushing – that is real life for him. You see
we divide life into the real and the false. Real life is doing something that
you love to do with your whole being so that there is no inner contradiction, no
war between what you are doing and what you think you should do. Life is then a
completely integrated process in which there is tremendous joy. But that can
happen only when you are not psychologically depending on anybody, or any
society when there is complete detachment inwardly, for only then is there a
possibility of really loving what you do. If you are in a state of total
revolution, it does not matter whether you garden, or become a prime minister,
or do something else; you will love what you do, and out of that love there
comes an extraordinary feeling of creativeness." -
Jiddu Krishnamurthi (contributed by Satyendra Chelvendra)
Saturday 5 June 2004
|Moments in Life - Contributed by a Friend from Washington
There are moments in life when you miss someone so much that you
just want to pick them from your dreams and hug them for real!
When the door of happiness closes, another opens; but often times we
look so long at the closed door that we don't see the one, which has
been opened for us.
Don't go for looks; they can deceive. Don’t go for wealth; even that
Go for someone who makes you smile, because it takes only a smile to
make a dark day seem bright. Find the one that makes your heart
Dream what you want to dream; go where you want to go; be what you
want to be, because you have only one life and one chance to do all
the things you want to do.
May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to
make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to
make you happy.
Always put yourself in others’ shoes.
If you feel it hurts you, it probably hurts the other person too.
The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of
everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along
Happiness lies for those who cry, those who are hurt, those who
have searched, and those who tried, for only they can appreciate the
importance of people who have touched our lives.
Love begins with a smile, grows with a kiss
And ends with a tear
The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you
can't go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and
When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was
Live your life so at the end, you're the one who is smiling and
everyone around you is crying.
Don't count the years - count the memories….
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take; but by
the moments that take our breath away!
Monday 10 May 2004
"It doesn't interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.
It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being a live.
It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become
shrivelled and closed from fear and further pain. I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or you own, without moving to hide it or fade or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul; if you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see the beauty, even when it's not pretty, every day and you can source your own life form its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, "Yes!"
It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up, after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what need to be done to feed the children.
It doesn't interest me who you know or how you cam to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.
It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside, when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in empty moments."
to Know You - Oriah Mountain Dreamer in the Invitation
Saturday 21 February 2004
" Make four resolutions about your life.
Purity : Desist from wicked thoughts, bad habits, low activities, that weaken your self respect.
Service : Serve others, for they are the reflections of the same entity of which you are yourself a reflection. No one of you has any authenticity, except with reference to the one original.
Mutuality : Feel always kinship with all creation. See the same current flowing through all the objects in the universe.
Truth : Do not deceive yourself or others by distorting Your experience..."
Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Saturday, 7 February 2004
The power of the mind - Mahatma Gandhi stressed one of the most important aspects of the mind when he stated : “If I believe I cannot do something, it makes me incapable of doing it.
But when I believe I can, I acquire the ability to do it, even if I did not have the ability in the beginning”
Think about it. You have within you the resources to accomplish even those goals which may have been dismissed as unobtainable. Research conducted on the power of the subconscious indicates that physical changes do occur when the body is influenced by the brain. There is no doubt the mind and the body are interrelated, that an individual's state of mind determines physical abilities. This remarkable combination can be released through a positive attitude which leads to success in sports, in business, and in all
areas of life. Henry Ford put it another way when he said: “If you decide you can or can’t do something
you are right” - Carl Mays in a
Strategy for Winning