Here Charitable Individualism is the key!… nothing less.


Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. Jonah ch 1 The Bible

This was the conclusion arrived at by the mariners in the ship that was sailing from Joppa to Tarshish, when it was caught up in a storm. Prophet Jonah was one of the passengers of that ship.

The premise was a deep rooted belief, especially by the Captain of the ship, who instead of steering the ship in times of trouble using his skill, knowledge and resources, had arrived at a ‘belief’ that the turbulence of the seas surrounding his ship was caused by a human being, who was present in the ship when it was caught in the storm.

Based on that belief, the mariners and all the other passengers, including the merchants had arrived at a conclusion that the causal creature (a passenger) had to be firstly identified.

Prior to this, the mariners, as mentioned in the Bible probably included the whole lot of travellers in the ship, had taken action by firstly wailing and supplicating to their gods, hoping probably that they and their merchandise would be saved. When their mere prayers went unanswered and the storm showed no signs of abating, probably at the instance of the “shipmaster”, the merchants and passengers started throwing overboard the merchandise on a belief that the lightening of the ship would save the ship and their lives at least. Quite logical, considering the fact that the ship would float higher and consequently the billows would have to be higher if the ship were to be still drowned by those stormy waves. That marginal reduction of the risk is understandable and reasonably scientific. In my layman’s understanding the plimsoll line would have gone up better and the risk of keeling over considerably reduced.

The observing part of their brains did NOT get the desired result. Their initial action of merely praying but salvaging their merchandise gratuitously being of no avail, decided to throw the merchandise overboard. Even that did not bring down the storm. Following is the relevant excerpt:

“the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep.”

But in all this commotion and finally engulfed with a fear for their own lives, the shipmaster is taking rounds to identify if he could do something which might further lighten the ship and he chances upon a man sleeping peacefully on the sides of the ship. The Captain – as I would like to dignify him, a democratically inclined man- rouses Jonah and chides him thus:

What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.

The Captain is still under the belief that everything humanly possible had been done and PRAYERS probably by each passenger might alter the external turbulence of the storm. There’s no evidence that Jonah followed his instructions. Jonah could NOT ASK GOD. The clearest sign of an unrepented sinner. Cain could not ask God for forgiveness, because the sin of fratricide was hanging round his neck. Cain could only ask God for eliminating the paranoia, the unremitted sin still underlying his consciousness. Such was the case of Judas Iscariot, who could NOT seek repentance for his behaviour as his conscience was still laden with guilt.

Jonah had on the other hand been raised on a belief that sins OUGHT TO BE PUNISHED, come what may. Probably his premise had kept him within the banks of righteousness and but he also prescribed the same exacting standards to the people he preached to. Further, Jonah did not believe that the judgement HAS TO BE LEFT TO GOD- Jonah believed that the consequences of action should follow willy nilly. Secondly, Jonah believed that if he pronounced a consequence to certain behaviour, in consonance with the scriptures, there should no Mercy be applied by God despite repentance by the guilty person. Jonah believed that the punishment SHOULD BE INFLICTED. In fact he says that as a reason to God and how God’s Mercy would interfere in his prophetic credibility.

When Jesus says that one greater than Jonah was here, Jesus was referring to Himself as a sinless person – who in the flesh was not only sinless but also submitting to the will of the Father. That is why, when John & James sought Jesus’ permission to bring down fire from heaven like Elijah, Jesus says at Luke 9:

55 But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.

56 For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.

That spotlessness alone could beget a response like that. Jesus was sinless and He told his disciples to ignore and move on.

Jonah couldn’t have responded like Jesus did, as he was already imbued in that paradigm of sinful action being followed by punishment, he had not entered the dispensation of Grace. That was heralded by Jesus and Jesus alone.

Thus caught up in this paradigm, Jonah submits himself to the dictates of those passengers and provides his name for the purposes of the lot.

We as Christians are not any superior to Jonah, we also submit ourselves to become a party being named in the lot to be drawn. What a pity – and we believe we are better than Jonah. I shudder when people talk disparagingly, especially the preachers, about Jonah. Even when Jesus compares Himself with some of the best like the temple, or Solomon, Jesus names Jonah therein. We need to develop modesty – spiritual modesty. We can’t talk of our ancestors for their shortcomings disparagingly – even in those days when the dispensation of Grace had NOT DESCENDED they had led a life of probity, which probably was more exacting.

So Jonah, being a prophet of the Almighty God, should have volunteered himself to be offloaded in the middle of the sea even before the lot, believing that he was responsible for the storm – he didn’t. He submitted to the game of chance to be named. But when Jonah’s name came out in the draw, he is convinced that he was the offender and requests them to offload him in the middle of the seas.

That takes us back to the proposition if the line of reasoning of the mariners was right. That is whether “Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us.” was right?

I believe that it was wrong because Jonah, a Prophet, if convinced of his own guilt and the consequent divine disapprobation should have volunteered and stepped out to confess his guilt before the mariners, but Jonah did not.

That is when God had to sanctify the outcome of the draw and ensure that Jonah’s name is drawn.

The line of reasoning was wrong – as the outcome under the theory of probability could have gone against anyone else, and if a weak person’s name had turned up, the mariners could have ferreted out his/her guilt and could have been made a SACRIFICIAL LAMB.

That is where God works. God sanctified a wrong question with an appropriate answer. As in the words of Francis Thompson in THE HOUND OF HEAVEN:

From those strong feet that followed, followed after

But with unhurrying chase and unperturbe d pace,

Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,

They beat, and a Voice beat,

More instant than the feet:

All things betray thee who betrayest me.

……

Fear wist not to evade as Love wist to pursue.

…….

To all swift things for swiftness did I sue,

Clung to the whistling mane of every wind,

But whether they swept, smoothly fleet,

The long savannahs of the blue,

Or whether, thunder-driven,

They clanged His chariot thwart a heaven,

Plashy with flying lightnings round the spurn of their feet,

Fear wist not to evade as Love wist to pursue.

Still with unhurrying chase and unperturbed pace

Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,

Came on the following feet, and a Voice above their beat:

Nought shelters thee who wilt not shelter Me.

I sought no more that after which I strayed

In face of Man or Maid.

Jonah had to be pursued and had to be taken to Nineveh, no matter whether the route was wrong, no matter whether the transport was wrong, no matter whether the persons involved were stupid, no matter whether the logic was flawed, or no matter whether the question was wrong – the RIGHT ANSWER ALWAYS TURNS UP. That’s the law ordained by God.


It is a pity that a Ventilator costing probably ₹ 50,000 ($700), invented by one Prof Diwakar Vaish is not promoted by at least procuring those for the rural health centres in the states, which can easily purchase one and in these troubled times of COVID19, and we would not been wanting at least on ventilators. The state health ministers should answer the shortage.

In one of the promotional videos, a Dr in the AIIMS says that there is a 5 year waiting list for patients to be kept on ventilators.

Who is this Prof. Diwakar Vaish, let me paste the screen shots for better impact:

If we do not promote our own inventions, for whatever reason, when will we be the beneficiaries of our own innovations?

Let us assume that there are around 700 districts in India and there are over 2,00,000 Primary Health Centres, Community Health Centres, and Sub Centres. If we as a Nation had placed an order of one ventilator per PHC, we would not be running around.

We have innovators, but their innovations are not scalable. So a big fish which has scalability gobbles up our local innovators. And these innovators also would be happy to monetise the return on investment made over a period of time.

Why shouldn’t we as a nation identify these innovators and purchase from them and be generous so that they stay in INDIA and believe in the scalability of INDIA?

Time to support at least the small time successful innovators who have a product to back their claims.

Look at the prices being quoted in the net. It is shameful that a Ventilator, which should be a handmaiden for meeting the exigencies of human needs, is being sold as a Golden Goose, provided one houses it in a good hospital with a good insurance tie up, so that the Ventilator could be used for milking patients at the rate of ₹ 10,000/- per day.

This invention would hurt many surgical equipment dealers; hospital purchase people; and in quite a lot of cases even the management, as the idiosyncratic billability appears high. All big bucks are made only in the business of healing or killing human lives. (Read- Health & Defence).

It is time we as a nation build up our infrastructure State-wise and not be guided by merely keeping up with the other States by making that the benchmark for our allocation (distance between states) and assessing progress. Each State should build up its infrastructure for its own good. Infrastructure cannot be built overnight. Time we not just allowed innovators to compete, but promote them out of state funds by purchasing their products, which are approved as per international standards organisations.

We as a nation should not be left clueless in these times of unpredictable trouble.


The way a bee’s instincts are tuned to think of a daffodil would certainly be different from the way Wordsworth would see it. Maybe as humans we are likely to conclude that as the bee had reached the flower for its nectar, the bee ‘thinks’ of its purpose and desire as one of utilitarianism. The flower is there; the bee can get nectar from its flower; the bee has the body to reach the flower; and the bee could extract the nectar and take it back to its hive – therefore motivated by the utility of the nectar, the bee reaches the flower.

But does the bee ever feel thankful that the flower provides what it seeks or desires as useful? Or at least does it feel thankful to the person who had raised the flower on that plant which had been raised on the flowerbed?

The flower, on the other hand is it aware of the fact that the bee had entered it for the nectar and nectar only – and not for cross pollination? Or is the flower busy savouring the pollens imported by the bee and lavishing itself in those throes of ecstasy of being pollinated?

Wordsworth of Windermere, is filled with ecstasy and his heart dances with the swaying daffodils in the gentle breeze. Wordsworth is not aware of the millions of bees entering and exiting the daffodils pollinating the flowers, nor aware of the objects of the bee and the hierarchy that it has in the hive of having to satisfy the supposed expectations of a languorous and fecund Queen; nor is Wordsworth aware of his own insignificance to the bee or the flower:

Yet

Wordsworth lets his heart dance with the daffodils. Life in its various dimensions would be and should be and is, in a state of activity and flux, but Wordsworth has to derive his own lasting impressions based on his own little experiences – valuing his own perspective. Otherwise, there would be no daffodils dancing in Wordsworth’s inward eye nor would he have any memories which could unorbit him from those pensive mood.

In the upcoming days of self imposed isolation by all Indians, it is time they dusted their memories and started moistening those desiccated memories and start cheering up their hearts and feel the mirth that certain experiences evoked in jocund Company!

As a homage to the poem, the same is reproduced below for a quick recap:

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

BY WILLIAM WORDSWORTH

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the milky way,

They stretched in never-ending line

Along the margin of a bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:

A poet could not but be gay,

In such a jocund company:

I gazed—and gazed—but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.


God appeared to Jehu and asked, “What do you want?”

Jehu replied I want most of the things except for those that I have.

God thought: Is the boy gonna slip an opportunity that came his way?

God said: I know that. That’s the case with every one, I didn’t mean want in the meaning of ‘lack’, but what do you deeply desire.

Jehu, realised from the tone and solemnity of the reply, that he was conversing with the Almighty and hurriedly said, I want to wear the crown of my master Ahab, with the power of my army.

God asked: For how many years?

Jehu replied: Twenty years of health, prosperity, power and strength with the crown on my head.

God said: You are going to regret for this at the end of your twentieth year.

Jehu said: God, pardon my impudence, but had I asked for 50 years also I would have regretted it as a short time asked, since, if you bless me with all the health, and all that I had asked for, I’d have had all that till the end of that period and I would regret for having asked my maker for such few years. So the regret is going to be the same irrespective of the number of years.

God said, Since you had built the foresight to see the end and to perceive those feelings which dawn only upon reaching there, I grant you not just the twenty sought, but thirty years with the crown of Ahab.

It is after that, that God told Elijah to anoint Jehu as the king of Israel.

It is our personal interactions with God, which get openly rewarded as prophecies in our Lives.

He that hath an eye let him read and perceive.


A verse from Psalm 119:

166: LORD, I have hoped for thy salvation, and done thy commandments.

Is there a difference between ‘done’ thy commandments and ‘followed’ thy commandments?

Yes, the answer is Liberty.

I will explain the reasons for my answer later, but first let us start with the assumption that this Psalm was composed by King David. There are too many I’s in the Psalm, like those Epistles of Paul, leading to an inveterate belief that only a person with a crown could have composed the 119 Psalm.

What alerts one upon reading verse no. 166 is that, if David were the composer of the Psalm, how could he have said the contents of the verse, when we all know that David did commit adultery and probably responsible for the murder – though he surely was responsible for the death – of Uriah, the husband of Bathsheba. To make matters worse, Uriah was not just an underling in the army, he was a commander. Those circumstances being the past, would it have been right for a person who was truly devoted to Jehovah to utter the following verse? I am proceeding on the second assumption that Psalm 119 was composed after David’s illicit relationship with Bathsheba. Probably, had the Psalm been written prior to those events, David could have said that with some conviction, based on the facts made available as history through the Books of Kings and Chronicles of the Old Testament.

Let us read the verse again:

166: LORD, I have hoped for thy salvation, and done thy commandments.

To ‘keep’ or ‘follow’ the commandments is the norm in the usage relating to the laws, rules, regulations etc., but when the verb is ‘do’ or ‘done’ it sounds a little specious.

If I assume that the Psalm had indeed been composed by King David and that he had composed it after the event with Bathsheba, and still eager to believe that David was uttering the truth to his maker, I need to analyse the Mosaic Ten Commandments.

Out of the Ten Commandments , there are only three commandments which are positive commands- which means that the subscriber to that religion has to DO those commands. The three positive commands are:

1. I am the Lord thy God

2. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

3. Honour thy father and thy mother.

The rest of the commandments are all Negative Commands, the effect of which is that, the follower is commanded NOT TO DO those things which are commanded.

Therefore, there are only 3 commandments which are TO BE DONE, so contextually interpreted, David could probably assert before God that he believed that Jehovah is the God; that he kept the Sabbath; and that he had honoured his father and mother.

In essence, David by composing verse no. 166 with an unusual verb, had technically overcome the general sense, by use of the verb DO THE COMMANDMENTS.

David, you’ve kept yourself in the right side by sidestepping the usual verb and have exercised your Liberty beyond the sanctioned bounds, yet have not lied to God, as you know you cannot.

The takeaway for us is that we can read the paeans of others and still can’t understand what they meant.


There are a few things in life, the difficulties of which, without attempting, through aspiration and desire, could never be understood. One of those is the art of conveying an event poignantly in poetic form.

Homer’s epic runs into many books – rather divided into many books- not just a poignant poem, yet in the course of the flow, which is swift and precise in expression, there appear descriptions which suddenly knock us out of our knowledge and plunges us into an experience.

At school, I’m sure we had all read of Cyclops in the “adventures” of Ulysses. The story tells us how Ulysses got trapped inside the cave of Polyphemus, a Cyclop, and how he and his mates made good their exit by scorching the eye of Polyphemus with a stake.

When we read Homer, it is no more a life saving tactic of an adventurer or the payback time for a giant for having mercilessly killed Ulysses’ mates.

The following lines, immediately makes us reach out for our own eyes, a participation in human predicament. Maybe, the scorching is justified, yet when a human being’s eye is scorched with a fiery brand while in a drunken stupor, startles us.

It is that poignancy of human predicament, when brought out in all its gore, which rouses us from mundane knowledge to an experience we would like to spare ourselves from.

Here are the lines from Homer:

“And as when armourers temper in the ford

The keen-edged pole-axe, or the shining sword,

The red-hot metal hisses in the lake,

Thus in his eye-ball hiss’d the plunging stake.”

If one believes that these poetic expressions are flashes in a ocean of words, the poem being an Epic, one is lost. Here is the description of the very act of Ulysses and his mates on the hapless Polyphemus:

“The stake now glow’d beneath the burning bed

(Green as it was) and sparkled fiery red,

Then forth the vengeful instrument I bring;

With beating hearts my fellows form a ring.

Urged my some present god, they swift let fall

The pointed torment on his visual ball.

Myself above them from a rising ground

Guide the sharp stake, and twirl it round and round.

As when a shipwright stands his workmen o’er,

Who ply the wimble, some huge beam to bore;

Urged on all hands, it nimbly spins about,

The grain deep-piercing till it scoops it out:

In his broad eye he whirls the fiery wood;

From the pierced pupil spouts the boiling blood;

Singed are his brows; the scorching lids grow black;

The jelly bubbles, and the fibres crack.”

Excerpt From

The Odyssey

Homer

https://books.apple.com/in/book/the-odyssey/id395540967

Is the scene not redolent of what happened to Samson, the Judge of Israel? Look at the verse where Samson’s plight at the hands of the Philistines is expressed:

Judges 16:

21 But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house.

Prose, gives knowledge to the reader. If one were to let one’s imagination on every information, there might be possibilities whereby one wouldn’t be able to reconcile the threads of facts with the fabric of the full narration. That’s where an Epic Poet like Homer with his craft, imagination and ethics blends it with balance.

The scene of Ulysses preparing and punching the only eye of Polyphemus may momentarily elicit sympathy, but when one had read the preceding stanzas where Polyphemus had brutally killed four of Ulysses’ mates, it gratifies the reader on two counts that the action taken by Ulysses was essential – as there was no other way; and secondly, the innocent guests were killed for no necessity of Polyphemus and those innocent wayfarers, who had strayed as uninvited guests into his cave, were without justification brutally killed and consumed.

Epics may be tedious, but if one gets involved in the poetic content, the imagery would be elevating and eye opening.

We, the Paris.


The apple of discord

Is the choice we all

Make in handing over.

Power, Wisdom & Beauty

One of the three

Is to be the choice.

The most visible is Beauty-

Seen & could be relished.

The next visible in its expression

Is Power.

The least visible is Wisdom.

Like Paris, one can blow away

One’s kingdom or even like Menelaus, lose it.

Juno’s gift has high procurement value.

Power can translate.

But the least appealing is

Wisdom, but durable.

Gives Life, longevity,

Experience, loyal friends,

Circes, Sirens’ indelible music,

With a Penelope

Hoping spouse’ safe arrival

At Ithaca, keeping the suitors

At bay with mild flirting

To feed her mind, but

Keep her body chaste;

An Argos to identify &

Get back to ruling his people.

Wisdom aids in vicissitudes

Seldom expected or hoped.

Power and Beauty,

The subsets of Wisdom,

Reside outside oneself

Whereas Wisdom

Is the superhuman chip

Embedded in ones own

Consciousness

Giving Divine capabilities.

One could still misuse

It like Solomon and

Tax his subjects

To finance his expensive Helens

And leave Rehoboams with

Disgruntled populace.

Wisdom, to be wisely used

Is more important than Wisdom Itself.

Such is the case of the other two too.

Yet, Wisdom gives something

Which the other two can’t give:

Humility.

Humility is the greatest

Disguise against the

Outrageous tides of Time.

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