Credit: Cartoon Collections

“Only a mind purified by meditation is without stored karma”

Rishi Patanjali (2nd to 4th century bce), author of the Yoga Sutras

People don’t realise that to be free means to be firmly attached to a system, that discipline is the road to a higher freedom. Chandrashekarendra Saraswati (1894-1994), 68th Jagadguru of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham


We become wiser by adversity; prosperity destroys our appreciation of the right. Seneca (4 bce-65 ce), Stoic philosopher


In me alone originates the All, in me the All is established, in me all things come to rest. I am that Brahman without a second! Kaivalya Upanishad 19


You create your future by your thoughts now; if you think nobly, you will be noble in conduct. If you think basely, no environment will make you different. Thus, thoughts and actions are interdependent. Be vigilant and allow only good thoughts in your mental field. Swami Sivananda Saraswati (1887-1963)


Joys and sorrows are time born and cannot last. Therefore, do not be perturbed by them. The greater the difficulties and obstructions, the more intense will be your endeavor to cling to His feet and the more will your prayer increase from within. Anandamayi Ma (1896-1982), God-intoxicated yogini and mystic Bengali saint


It is impossible to begin to learn that which one thinks one already knows. Epictetus (c..55-c.135 ce), Stoic philosopher


A student went to his meditation teacher and said, “My meditation is horrible! I feel so distracted, or my legs ache, or I’m constantly falling asleep. It’s just horrible!” “It will pass,” the teacher said matter-of-factly. A week later, the student came back to his teacher. “My meditation is wonderful! I feel so aware, so peaceful, so alive! It’s just wonderful!” “It will pass,” the teacher replied matter-of-factly.


The most important lesson that man can learn from life, is not that there is pain in this world, but that it is possible for him to transmute it into joy. Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)


If you damage the character of another, you damage your own. Yoruba Proverb


Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself. Rumi (1207-1273), Sufi mystic


We learn little from victory, much from defeat. Japanese Proverb


Be not afraid of anything. You will do marvelous work. It is fearlessness that brings heaven even in a moment. Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902)


It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve; and bad things are very easy to get. Confucius (551-479 bce), Chinese philosopher


Speak only if it improves upon the silence. Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)


Bondage and Liberation are of the mind alone. Sri Ramakrishna (1836-1886)


Every step is on the path. Lao Tzu (4th or 6th century bce), author of the Tao Te Ching


Perfect health, sincerity, honesty, straightforwardness, courage, disinterestedness, unselfishness, patience, endurance, perseverance, peace, calm, self control are all things that are taught infinitely better by example than by beautiful speeches. Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950)


We’re not trying for perfection, we’re trying for improvement. Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, publisher of Hinduism Today


It is a great power to be able to look beyond ourselves and see others as they really are, how they really think and how they really feel. When we are wrapped up in our own individual ego, this is hard to do. We surmise that those we know are exactly like us, and we find fault with them when they are not. Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001), founder of Hinduism Today


BASICS

Sixty-Four Arts

A young couple practices the classical arts of poetry writing and playing the vina. Credit: A. MANIVELU

THE SIXTY-FOUR ARTS ARE A CLASSICAL curriculum of sacred sciences, studies, arts and skills listed in various Hindu shastras. Their most well-known appearance is in the Kama Sutra, which (apart from its main focus on arts related to lovemaking) lists 64 bahyakalās, or practical arts, as required study for cultured persons. They are: 1) singing, 2) instrumental music, 3) dancing, 4) painting, 5) forehead adornments, 6) making decorative floral and grain designs on the floor, 7) home and temple flower arranging, 8) personal grooming, 9) mosaic tiling, 10) bedroom arrangements, 11) creating music with water, 12) splashing and squirting with water, 13) secret mantras, 14) making flower garlands, 15) head adornments, 16) dressing, 17) costume design, 18) perfumery, 19) jewelry making, 20) magic and illusions, 21) ointments for charm and virility, 22) manual dexterity, 23) cooking, eating and drinking, 24) beverage and dessert preparation, 25) making and mending garments, 26) embroidery, 27) playing vina and drum, 28) riddles and rhymes, 29) poetry games, 30) tongue twisters and difficult recitation, 31) literary recitation, 32) drama and storytelling, 33) verse composition games, 34) furniture caning, 35) erotic devices and knowledge of sexual arts, 36) crafting wooden furniture, 37) architecture and house construction, 38) knowing precious stones and metals, 39) metalworking, 40) gems and mining, 41) gardening and horticulture, 42) games of wager involving animals, 43) training parrots and mynas to speak, 44) hairdressing, 45) coding messages, 46) speaking in code, 47) foreign languages and dialects, 48) making flower carriages, 49) spells, charms and omens, 50) making simple mechanical devices, 51) memory training, 52) reciting verses from hearing, 53) decoding messages, 54) the meanings of words, 55) dictionary studies, 56) prosody and rhetoric, 57) impersonation, 58) artful dressing, 59) games of dice, 60) board games with dice, 61) making dolls and toys for children, 62) personal etiquette and animal training, 63) knowledge of dharmic warfare and victory, and 64) physical culture.