Principles of Life

At a Doordarshan panel discussion on ‘The Scientific Temper’, (New Delhi, June 2, 1998, — including, besides myself, a central Minister, a social activist, a professor, an English journalist and a lady educationist), I quoted Pandit Nehru as having said as early as 1947, that what his country required more than anything else was just that—the scientific temper. I further made the point that we need to know exactly what is meant by this expression. Broadly interpreted, it means having a realistic attitude.

Having a mission in life is the greatest spur to achievement. Within a few days of landing in Bombay, in November 1922, a young Spanish priest by the name of Fr. Henry Heras found himself in the presence of the St. Xavier’s College, Bombay. He met the principal of the college. The young priest was a historian, and had a degree in Spanish history. “Which branch would you like to teach?” the principal asked him. “Indian History,” Fr. Heras replied. “What do you know about Indian history? the principal asked him. Fr.

An international technological exhibition was held in New Delhi in 1961, in which a large number of countries participated. The American pavilion became the centre of people's attention, drawing the crowds away from other pavilions because it had an air motorcar on display.

The visitors, (myself included) gathered on a field to watch the spectacle, The driver first drove it on the ground like an ordinary car, then raised it: about 4 feet above the ground, circled the field several times, then brought it down on to the ground again.

A man set on making money, chooses a lucrative profession and devotes all his time and energies to it. If his efforts yield financial reward, well and good. If not, he is upset about his choice of profession. If he is after fame and prestige, he looks for a career which holds the promise of publicity. He thrives on popularity and esteem. If these things elude him, he feels as if all is lost. If a man is thirsty for power, his overriding ambition is to rule others. He longs to have people under him and to control their fortunes.

A sage once said that the desire to preach should have the same compulsive quality about it as the desire to satisfy any other normal human urge. Preaching is not like playing a record; nor should it be aimed at eliciting applause from an appreciative audience. Preaching is an externalisation of inner conviction. It is communication to others of a discovered reality to be a living witness to a truth long hidden from people’s eyes. This does not mean just putting a few words together; it is an extremely difficult task.

The basis of unity is humility. If everyone puts others before himself, then the question of friction does not arise, for disunity stems from everyone putting himself first and wishing that he and his utterances should be given supremacy, no matter what the circumstances. If no one considered himself superior, what would there be to quarrel about?

In 1827 A.D., the Mediterranean island of Sicily became part of the growing Islamic empire. For nearly three hundred years it remained under Islamic rule. Then, in 1090, it was reconquered by the Normans.

He had reached old age and was still unmarried. When asked his reason for remaining a bachelor, he said that he had always been looking for a perfect spouse. “But in all this time, did you not find one?” he was asked. “Once I did,” he replied, “but unfortunately she was looking for a perfect spouse too, and I did not come up to the required standard.”

It is hard to believe that any animal could be more dangerous or terrifying than the man-eating tiger. But it is not the tiger or the bear which is the most dangerous enemy of man. In truth, the most dangerous of our enemies are the bacteria which are so tiny that they remain invisible to the naked eye. Small they may be, but these bacteria breed at such a furious rate that, given favourable conditions, one of their number can reproduce itself 10,000 times over within a mere matter of ten hours.