Principles of Life

A man came into a shop, intent on buying some cloth. Choosing a suitable piece was no problem, but fixing a price was, for in Eastern countries one usually has to bargain before buying anything. This time, the bargaining was tough. Neither the shopkeeper, nor the customer, was willing to budge from his original price. Finally, after holding out adamantly for half-an-hour, it was the shopkeeper who gave in, coming right down to the customer’s price, thus clinching the deal.

Shri Guru Golwalker, a Hindu fundamentalist leader, had categorically opposed the concept of a uniform civil code. His opposition was based not on religion but on nature. His stand was that a uniform code is not at all practicable on account of its being unnatural. He expresses it thus: “Nature abhors uniformity.”

Gyani Zail Singh was born in Rajkot in Punjab in 1916. His father, a poor carpenter, could not give him a proper education. It was after joining politics that he acquired fame. Rising from the position of minister and chief minister, he ultimately came to hold the highest post in India—that of President. Having begun his life in a humble dwelling, he nevertheless managed to reach New Delhi’s Rashtrapati Bhawan.

Avoidance of friction is one of the most important principles of Islam. Such avoidance means refraining from retaliation on occasions of complaint and dissension.

By temperament, all men and women differ from one another in many ways. Everyone has experienced the disagreeable situations, arising from such differences. In social life, be it inside or outside the home, it is but natural that unpleasantness should occur from time to time. This is unavoidable.

Edmund Hillary, born on July 2, 1919, in Auckland, New Zealand, showed an early interest in mountaineering. He started by climbing mountains in his own country and later, in 1951, attempted along with a team to scale the heights of Mount Everest, a 29,028-foot high peak in Nepal. This attempt was not successful. Then, for the second time in 1953 he again set out to climb it with a British team. His guide in this venture was a Nepali, Tenzing Norgay. Reaching the summit of Mount Everest on May 29, 1953, he became the first person to set foot on the highest point of the globe.

Differences are a part of life. A divergence of views and behaviour arises between people for a variety of reasons. Just as differences occur among unbelievers and apostates similarly differences occur between sincere and pious people. But even if differences cannot be prevented, that is no reason, for any individual to indulge in negative behaviour. It should be borne in mind that despite differences, positive behaviour is both a possibility and a necessity.

The cover story of Time magazine of December 23, 1991, on the collapse of the Soviet Union, includes an interview of Gorbachev, the former President of the USSR, titled, ‘A Man without a Country.’

Readers’ impressions were published in letter form in the issue of January 13, 1992. One reader writes:

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (1870-1924) who was later known to the world by his revolutionary name Lenin was born into a family who tended to be political extremists. To make matters worse, Lenin’s elder brother Alexander made an abortive attempt to kill the Czar and was executed as a result in 1887. Consequently, the whole family had to bear the brunt of persistent persecution by the government.

“I have reached my present position by climbing a ladder and not by coming up to it in a lift.” This observation was made by a tailor who had started with nothing but his own two hands and the will to work, and who had become eminently successful in his line of business. “Making a good coat is not child’s play. The whole process is so complicated that without detailed information as to how to proceed, long experience and a high degree of skill, it is almost impossible to accomplish. It is only after a lifetime of hard work that I have succeeded in running a prosperous shop in the city.”