Thursday, July 28, 2011

Two Tales


Harry Truman: Harry Truman, 43rd President of USA [1945-1953], from Missouri, was a different kind of President. He probably made as many important decisions regarding America’s history as any of the other 42 Presidents. However, a measure of his greatness may rest on what he did after he left the White House.
Historians have written that the only true asset when he died was the house he lived in which was in Missouri. When he retired from office in 1952, his income was his only U. S. Army pension. Congress, noting that he was paying for his stamps and personally licking them, granted him an allowance and later a retroactive pension of 25,000 dollars a year.
After President Eisenhower was inaugurated, Harry and Bess drove home to Missouri by themselves. There was no secret service following them.
When offered corporate positions at large salaries, he declined, stating, ‘You don’t want me. You want the office of the President and that does not belong to me. It belongs to the American people and it is not for sale.
Later, when Congress was preparing to award him the Medal of Honour on his 87th birthday, he refused to accept it, writing “I don’t consider that I have done anything which should be the reason for any award, Congressional or otherwise”
Good old Harry Truman was correct when he observed ‘My choices early in life were either to be a piano player in a whorehouse or a politician. And to tell the truth, there is hardly any difference’.

Sir S, Radhakrishnan: Dr.S Radhakrishnan had a maternal uncle by name Narasimham. Surprisingly enough Radhakrishnan, who is esteemed for his erudition and wisdom worldwide, was dull as a child. His father was very much upset by the son’s nature and concerned about his future. Narasimham offered to take the boy to Vellore and to take care of his education.
On reaching Vellore, Narasimham initiated his nephew in the ‘Sri Rama Taraka Mantra”. Constant repetition of the potent Mantra resulted in the blossoming of Radhakrishnan’s intellect and he grew into a brilliant student

Devendranath Tagore and Ishavasya Upanishad: Devendranath Tagore, father of poet Ravindranath Tagore, was feeling deeply distressed and markedly indifferent to the world. He was disenchanted with the world.. A mysterious longing for a greater reality took hold of him.
One day in 1838 he was resting in his fields during lunch time. He noticed a stray piece of paper, fluttering past him due to wind. Out of curiosity, he picked it up and saw some Sanskrit verses on it. It was a page from the Ishavasya Upanishad. He referred it to the well known Vedantic Sanskrit scholar Sri Ram Chandra Vidya Vageesh under whom subsequently Devendra studied the Upanishads. It was a page from the Ishavasya Upanishad. The Pundit translated the first verse of the Upanishad in English: “Our whole universe is permeated by the Spirit. Receive Him by renouncing all desires for worldly pleasures. Take delight in Him alone”.
This caused such a tremendous change in his mind that his depression immediately vanished and he felt transformed. Later Devendranath wrote “When I learned the explanation, nectar from paradise streamed on me”

Ramana Maharshi and the Maharaja of Mysore: The Maharajah of Mysore, Sri
Krishna raja Wodeyar 1V met Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi on 28th Feb 1937. At the time of taking leave of the Maharshi, tears [Ananda Bashpa] flowing from the eyes of the Maharaja, wetted the feet of the Maharshi. He told Bhagavan “They made me a Maharaja and bound me to a throne. For the sin of having born a king, I lost the chance of sitting at your feet and serving you. I do not hope to come again. Only these few minutes are mine. I pray for your grace”. He kneeled once more and departed without a word.
After returning to Mysore, he wrote a long letter in his own hand writing. At the end, he asked where he could get the incense sticks used in the Ashram. He was told that they were Mysore Sandalwood Agarbathis. Maharaja felt that what could not be purchased even in Mysore was the fragrance when they were glowing in the presence of the Bhagavan.

Tamil poet Kamban [of Kamba Ramayana fame]: Kamban was the Poet Laureate of a Chola king. For some reason, the Chola king fell out with him. Kamban left the Chola domain, saying that there were better kings to serve. For example, the then Chera king to whom the Chola king was himself paying tribute would recognize his worth and would even be willing to serve as his paan bearer. The Chola king then retorted ‘Let me see’
Kamban took up the challenge and went to the Chera king who welcomed him. Kamban’s fame grew day by day for his poetic excellence and he continued to stay in the royal court. Finally, the Chera king agreed to come along with Kamban with the Chola king as his servitor and offer him paan. But at the psychological moment when Kamban must have accepted paan from the hands of the Chera king before the eyes of his tributary Chera king, Kamban forbade the Chera from rendering him that very lowly service.
The poet exhibited his nobility and voluntarily welcomed defeat at the moment when he was to be crowned with success. This illustrates Kamban’s human excellence and conquest of the ego and not poetic excellence

Field Marshal K.M.Cariappa : In the 1965 India-Pakistan War, Flight Lt. K.C.Cariappa, son of the First Commander-in-Chief of the Indian army, K.M. Cariappa,
was taken a war prisoner. Pakistan President Field Marshal Ayub Khan sent a personal message to Cariappa Senior, that his son would be released considering their relation as friends while serving the Royal Indian Army.
Cariappa senior replied “Thousands of my sons are fighting in the war. Every India Prisoner of War is my son. Therefore there is no need for any special gesture regarding my son. No exception need be made.

“Oh Cariappa! Thou shouldst be living at this hour. India hath dire need of Thee!”


Article No.574-- Incidents to remember and and recollect
Created: Monday, June 14, 2010 9:24 AM


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