Tamils - a Trans State Nation..

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Whatever may be said, who ever may say it - to
determine the truth of it, is wisdom - Thirukural

Reflections 2001 : Chinthanaigal

Reflection by Jayalakshmi Satyendra

Saturday 30 June 2001

"...When you feel trapped you ask yourself, 'Does this issue have mainly to do with me?' Then change your behaviour. 'Does it primarily have to do with the other people who are nonetheless inside my circle of influence?' Then change your methods of influence. 'Does it have to do with people and things that are only in my circle of concern?' Then you can change your attitude towards it. There is always something you can do. If you accept what is imposed on you without question, without creating a proactive response will that take you where you want to go? Will it help you be what you want to be? Will it help you do what you want to do? If not, don�t do it. There is another way...� (Stephen Covey)

Saturday 23 June 2001

�...Real life is doing something which you love to do with your whole being so that there is no inner contradiction, no war between what you are doing and what you think you should do. Life is then a completely integrated process in which there is tremendous joy. But that can happen only when you are not psychologically depending on anybody, or any society, when there is complete detachment inwardly, for only then there is a possibility of really loving what you do. If you are in a state of total revolution, it does not matter whether you garden, or become a prime minister, or do something else; you will love what you do, and out of that love there comes an extra ordinary feeling of creativeness.�  (J. Krishnamurthi in �Think on These Things�)

Saturday16 June 2001

"...Courage is perhaps, the most important attribute of all...After Stalin�s death, Krushchev addressed the Supreme Soviet and denounced his predecessor�s horrific crimes against the Soviet people. Many in the audience were stunned � the scale of Stalin�s evil was mind-boggling. Finally, from the back of the hall, a voice rang out: �Comrade Krushchev you were there. You were with Stalin. Why didn�t you stop him?� Momentarily flustered, Krushchev�s eyes raked the assembly. �Who said that� he demanded. �Who said that?� he roared again. Those around the impertinent questioner sank lower in their seats. No voice was raised. No hand went up. After a terrible silence, Krushchev said, �Now you know why.� The questioner that day was no more willing to stand up to Krushchev than Krushchev had been willing to stand up to Stalin. The point was made... � (*Gary Hamel in �Leading the Revolution�)

Saturday 9 June 2001

"...The Ceylon Tamil League was brought into existence by  political necessity (in 1922) but politics is not its raison-detre. It has far higher aims in view, namely to keep alive and propagate these precious ideals throughout Ceylon, Southern India and the Tamil Colonies, to promote the union and solidarity of  Tamilakam, the Tamil Land.  We should keep alive and propagate these ideals throughout Ceylon and promote the union and solidarity of what we have been proud to call Tamil Eelam. We desire to preserve our individuality as a people, make ourselves worthy of our inheritance...We are not enamoured of that cosmopolitanism which would make of us neither fish, fowl, nor red herring. That does not mean that we are to be selfish and work only for the interests of the Tamil Community. Who have done more for the welfare of all Ceylon than the Tamil? Who has fought more vigorously for the welfare of the Sinhalese in the "Dark days of 1915" when our Sinhalese brethren were in distress and helpless ? Who came to their rescue but the Tamils?  That statue which was to be the grateful memorial of the help rendered, may (as proposed in some quarters) be flung into the sea. But the Tamils are not going to abandon the proud duty and privilege of service to all our brothers of every race and creed . But we do object strongly to being bullied or terrorised, we object to being the underdogs of anybody. We mean to make ourselves strong and also to work for the common good..." (Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam at the formation of the Ceylon Tamil League, 1922)

Saturday 2 June 2001

"...Profound insights come out of a cocktail of unexpected problems, novel experiences, random conversations, and newly discovered facts. The goal is to mix this cocktail again and again. Indeed the goal is to be the mixer � to encompass within yourself and your team all the elements that combine to produce bursts of deeply creative insights. Not only is this an individual imperative, it is an organisational imperative. No single individual can encompass all that is changing in the world. Your cocktail shaker is just so big...� (*Gary Hamel in �Leading the Revolution�)

Saturday 26 May 2001

"...I conceive of a legitimate purpose in my heart, and set out to accomplish it. I make this purpose the centralising point of my thoughts. It may take the form of a spiritual ideal, or it may be a worldly object according to my nature at the time being; but whichever it is, I steadily focus my thought-forces upon the object which I set before me. I make this purpose my supreme duty, and devote myself to its attainment, not allowing my thoughts to wander away into ephemeral fancies, longings and imaginings. This is the royal road to self-control and true concentration of thought. Even if I fail again and again to accomplish my purpose (as I necessarily must until weakness is overcome), the strength of character gained is the measure of my true success, and this forms a new starting point for future power and triumph...� (*James Allen, author of �As You Think�)

"...We need hardly say that from the traditional point of view there could hardly be found a stronger condemnation of the present social order than in the fact that the man at work is no longer doing what he likes best, but rather what he must, and in the general belief that a man can only be really happy when he 'gets away' and is at play... 

...Our hankering for a state of leisure or leisure state is the proof of the fact that most of us are working at a task to which we could never have been called by anyone but a salesman, certainly not by God or by our own natures.  Traditional craftsmen whom I have known in the East cannot be dragged away from their work, and will work overtime to their own pecuniary loss. We have gone so far as to divorce work from culture, and to think of culture as something to be acquired in hours of leisure; but there can be only a hothouse and unreal culture where work itself is not its means; if culture does not show itself in all we make, we are not cultured..." (Ananda K.Coomaraswamy  in *Christian and Oriental Philosophy of Art

  Saturday 19 May 2001

�The techniques and skills that really make a difference in human interaction are the ones that almost naturally flow from a truly independent character. So the place to begin building any relationship is inside ourselves, inside our circle of influence, our own character. As we become independent � proactive, centered in correct principles, values driven and able to organize and execute around the priorities in our life with integrity � we can then choose to become interdependent � capable of building rich, enduring, highly productive relationships with  other people....� (Stephen R. Covey)

Thursday 10 May 2001 - third anniversary of launch of tamilnation.org

"...Look to this day .... In it lies all the realities and verities of existence, the bliss of growth, the splendour of action, the glory of power. For yesterday is but a dream and tomorrow is only a vision. But today, well lived, makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope. There is only one courage, and that is the courage to let go of the past, not to collect it, not to accumulate it, not to cling to it. We all cling to the past, and because we cling to the past we become unavailable to the present..." - Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh.

"...If I try to be like him or like what he says, who will be like me ?.." Jewish proverb

- quotes contributed by a friend from Bengal, residing in Melbourne, Australia

Saturday 5 May 2001

"...Most of the people in this world have no faith in spiritual values. To them the human mind is all in all, and this leads them to a variety of reflections and speculations. Some of them call themselves sceptics, others agnostics and yet others pride themselves on being pure materialists. The truth is veiled by our own ignorance. We do not carry our search after it far enough. Having exercised our intellect up to a certain limit we feel there is no hope for further discovery or investigation. This attitude of the mind is the result of the study of Western systems of philosophy which, from the Eastern point of view, is barren, and leads us nowhere, beyond speculations and guesses at truth....

Almost all the ancient thinkers, saints and sages have pointed out an unfailing practical path by pursuing which, one may free oneself of all doubts and uncertainties and realize the meaning and purpose of life. Their method of approach to truth is fairly scientific. They do not dogmatize nor play upon the credulity of our faith. They simply point out a path and lay down certain definite conditions for attaining it. The final success on this path depends entirely on the aspirant's own effort and self-investigation...From our point of view there are two kinds of rational faith in the reality of spiritual life.

1. An indirect faith which we have from the experiences and verdicts of such dauntless seekers after truth as had the courage, endurance and iron will to struggle through the thorny path of self-realization and whose words, according to their antecedent and personal integrity, have to be trusted.

2.. Faith drawn from direct experience - a thing which no one can possibly doubt or deny.

Mouni Sadhu�s book serves as a precious evidence of indirect faith which we have closely and correctly to investigate and ascertain for ourselves..." (Dr.M.Hafiz Syed, in the Preface to Mouni Sadhu's In Days of Great Peace, 1953)

Saturday 28 April 2001

�With a single-pointed mind, if an individual can entertain any single resolute determination and act consistently towards its success, achievement must certainly result. But invariably, man, victimised by his ego, entertains hundreds of desires, often mutually contradictory, and therefore, comes to play upon these fields with an impoverished and exhausted mental strength. This is psychologically, what we call �self cancellation of thoughts�. When this comes to plague the mental zone, it exhausts all the potentialities of man and loots away all his chances of success.�- Swami Chinmayananda

�There is a vital difference between efficiency and effectiveness. You may be driving down the highway, enjoying great travelling weather, and getting terrific mileage. You may be very efficient. But if you are headed south down the California Coast on Highway 101 and your destination is New York City � some three thousand miles to the east � you�re not being effective.� - Stephen Covey

Saturday 21 April 2001

"Is there something I feel I could do to make a difference? Think about it. It may require letting go - of illusory paradigms, rationalising, wants, urgency addiction� even your comfort zone. But, deep inside, in all honesty of heart, do you feel there is something you could do, some contribution you could make, some legacy you could leave that would impact your family.. your community, your society in a positive way? If there is, we encourage you to act on it. As Gandhi said, �We must become the change we seek in the world�. Wherever you are, in terms of becoming principle centered, we encourage you to start exercising the attributes of your heart. Make a promise and keep it. Set a goal and achieve it. There is peace in it. As Emerson said: �Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles�."(Stephen Covey, Roger & Rebecca Merill from �First Things First�)

Saturday 14 April 2001

"..Anything truly revolutionary is created by a few who see what is true and are willing to live according to that truth; but to discover what is true demands freedom from tradition, which means freedom from all fears..." (Jiddu Krishnamurthi

Saturday 7 April 2001

"...the secret of happiness is simple: find out what you  truly love to do and then direct all your energy towards doing it. If you study the happiest, healthiest, most satisfied people of our world, you will see that each and every one of them has found their passion in life, and then spent their days pursuing it. Once you are concentrating your mind power and energy on a pursuit that you love, abundance flows into your life, and all your desires are fulfilled with ease and grace..... your passion must in some way, improve or serve the lives of others.  Victor Frankl said it more elegantly than I ever could when he wrote: 'Success, like happiness, cannot be pursued. It must ensue. And it only does so as the unintended side effect of one's personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself'... The purpose of life is to have a life's purpose..." - * Robin S. Sharma in The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari : A Fable About Fulfilling Your Dreams and Reaching Your Destiny, 1999

Saturday 31 March 2001

"...Everyone is born blind and everybody has the capacity not to be blind. Everybody is born blind because at birth we are bound to be unconscious, unaware. It is only through life and its experiences, good and bad, painful and blissful, that one slowly slowly wakes up. It is only through a rich life - and by rich I mean a lived life. One who has been in the thick of life one day becomes capable of opening his eyes. In that very moment one passes through a radical transformation. Then life is never the same again..." - Osho

"...We are constantly being astonished at the amazing discoveries in the field of violence. But I maintain that far more undreamt-of and seemingly impossible discoveries will be made in the field of nonviolence..." - Mahatma Gandhi

Saturday 24 March 2001

"To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the World tells you, you ought to prefer, is to keep your soul alive"- R L Stevenson

"Maybe being oneself is always an acquired taste"- Patricial Hampe

"Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it"- Buddha

Saturday 17 March 2001

" If the rhetoric flowing from (and through) the United Nations, transnational corporations, regional alliances, or Western governments seems to imply that we exist in a state of peaceful multi polarity, it is only because we cannot hear the voices that have been marginalized by those very institutions. A New World (Dis)order is evident everywhere in the language of contemporary conflict: displacement, insecurity, oppression, starvation, terrorism, warfare, and genocide. The creeping nature of these crises, manifest in the continual flight of populations around the globe, is proof of the state�s inability to secure order. The "state" half of the "nation-state" no longer dominates international relations. The state certainly has a role to play, but a less and less exclusive one as tensions arise within states instead of between them... " (Kevin Kuswa in Finding the Kurds a Way: Kurdistan and the discourse of the nation-state)

"..No one finds it easy to live uncomplainingly and fearlessly with the thesis that human reality is constantly being made and unmade, and that anything like a stable essence is constantly under threat.."  (Edward W. Said, author of  The End of The Peace Process: Oslo and After)

Saturday 10 March 2001

"... Gandhi's secretary, Mahadev Desai, began to read aloud the second chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, one of the most memorable pieces of mystical poetry anywhere in the world. The last eighteen verses of this chapter, Gandhi wrote, have 'been inscribed on the tablet of my heart.' They offer a practical, inspiring portrait of the man or woman who is rich in spiritual wisdom:

They are forever free who renounce all selfish desires 
And break away from the ego-cage of I, me, and mine
  To be united with the Lord of Love. 
This is the supreme state. 
Attain thou this 
And pass from death to immortality.

As I watched, Gandhiji's eyes closed in concentration. His absorption in the verses was so complete that you could almost see the words filling his small frame. Suddenly I understood the answer to the question I had come with. Here was the source of all his wealth - his power, his love, his wisdom, his tireless service. He had turned his back on his little 'I, ' his ego; now he lived in all.

In every one of us there is this source of power - unsuspected for the most part, seldom harnessed. When we are pushed and pulled by petty urges, the Gita would say, we are not living to our fullest. We are not using even a small part of the tremendous wealth we have within. Trying to grab things for ourselves closes the door on this vast treasury and locks it tight. Only when we give to the rest of life does it begin to open.

To come and go from this treasury freely, we have to remove every trace of selfish desire from our hearts. Here many good people lose interest. "Give up my desires No, thanks! My desires are all I've got. Without them, life wouldn't be worth living." They are right. Desire is power, and without the immense power of desire no one can make any progress in the direction of real happiness. What has to go is not desire but selfish desire.

In a sense, this is a matter of spiritual engineering. We have to redirect our desires so that their power runs in selfless channels - in other words, to turn purely personal passions into a universal passion for the welfare of all. This is a terribly difficult transformation. But the encouraging part is that when people with strong selfish motives are able to transform their desires, they become dynamos of selfless service. Those with a lot of physical passion, for example, can find a spiritual passion to match.

Look at the lives of the world's foremost spiritual figures. It is not necessarily the man or woman who has always led a respectable life, the person who is satisfied with little, who finds spiritual fulfillment. Often those with a remarkable capacity for causing trouble go far when they get control over their desires . These are people who cannot be satisfied by the usual pleasures, so they resort to raising difficulties all over the place. When at last they are ready to transform their passions, they still have enough vital capital to take them a long, long way..." (Eknath Easwaran in Climbing the Blue Mountain - A Guide for the Spiritual Journey, Penguin Books, 1992)


Saturday 3 March 2001

"When I visited South Africa in May of 1991, ...I visited the ANC's headquarters in downtown Johannesburg; a scant few weeks earlier the organization had been considered as terrorist, and no legitimacy at all attached to it. I was stunned by the complete reversal. Speaking to Walter Sisulu, who had been exiled for almost thirty years and was second only to Mandela in authority and prestige, I asked him how the transformation had been possible. What exactly did the ANC do to turn defeat into victory?

 "You must remember," he said, "that during the eighties we were beaten in South Africa; the organization was wrecked by the police, our bases in neighboring countries were routinely attacked by the South African army, our leaders were in jail or in exile or killed. We then realized that our only hope was to concentrate on the international arena, and there to de-legitimize apartheid. We organized in every major Western city; we initiated committees, we prodded the media, we held meetings and demonstrations, not once or twice, but thousands of times. We organized university campuses, and churches, and labor unions, and businesspeople, and professional groups." 

He paused for a moment and then said something that I shall never forget as long as I live: "Every victory that we registered in London, or Glasgow, or Iowa City, or Toulouse, or Berlin, or Stockholm gave the people at home a sense of hope, and renewed their determination not to give up the struggle. In time we morally isolated the South African regime and its policy of apartheid so that even though militarily we could not do much to hurt them, in the end they came to us, asking for negotiations. We never changed or retreated from our basic program, our central demand: one person, one vote."  - *Edward W.Said in 'The End of The Peace Process:Oslo and After', April 2000

(Quote contributed by Suppiah Mahalingam from Canada)

Saturday, 24 February 2001

"...Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them..."- Emerson

"...Our lives begin and end the day we become silent about things that matter..."- Martin Luther King

Saturday, 17 February 2001

"...It is open to a war resister to judge between the combatants and wish success to the one who has justice on his side. By so judging he is more likely to bring peace between the two rather than remaining a mere spectator..." -Mahatma Gandhi 

"..The hottest place in hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict." - Martin Luther King

Saturday, 10 February 2001

"... The nature of the grievance matters... The nature of the organisation putting forth the grievance matters as well. Intelligence is important ... to understand how the organisation works and how its decision making process can be affected... So called 'get tough' measures against terrorist groups can have unintended consequences. Trying to 'decapitate' a movement may radicalise the whole movement... create mythologies of martyrdom, or feed paranoia and secretiveness (which makes the movements even harder to penetrate for reasons of either understanding motivations or foiling actions)... In the event that organisations are primarily motivated by a desire for recognition, how should policy makers respond? Should the government recognise the organisations and eliminate their motivation for terrorism? Since terrorist actions most often are considered newsworthy events by media organisations, it is beyond governments' control whether the actions gain attention or not. Governments can play an effective role, however, in influencing how terrorist events are portrayed to the public, and thus influence (but not control) how the public interprets those events........" United States Institute for Peace - Special Report by Jon B.Altman, Martha Crenshaw, Teresita Schaffer and Paul Wilkinson, May 1999 on How Terrorism Ends

".. Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history. We will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, will spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation.... We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth."  President Abraham Lincoln in his 1862 Annual Message, Quoted in the book, " The Healing of America" by Marianne Williamson, Simon & Schuster,1997 (Quote contributed by Suppiah Mahalingam from Canada)

Saturday, 3 February 2001

"...We must never forget, that under modern conditions of life, science and technology, all war has become greatly brutalized and that no one who joins in it, even in self-defense, can escape becoming also in a measure brutalized. Modern war cannot be limited in its destructive method and the inevitable debasement of all participants... A fair scrutiny of the last two World Wars makes clear the steady intensification in the inhumanity of the weapons and methods employed by both, the aggressors and the victors. In order to defeat Japanese aggression, we were forced, ... to employ a technique of unrestricted submarine warfare, not unlike that which 25 years ago was the proximate cause of our entry into World War I. In the use of strategic air power the Allies took the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians in Germany and in Japan . . . we as well as our enemies have contributed to the proof that the central moral problem is war and not its methods..." Harry L.Stimson, US Secretary of State 1929-1933, 'The Nurenberg Trial: Landmark in Law', Foreign Affairs, 1947

Saturday, 27 January 2001

"... Within the same cultural tradition, a number of political and religious symbols of greater or lesser importance exist, and some of these have more continuity and have greater relevance as representing cultural boundaries. It is not necessary for these symbols to be interrelated as a systemic whole. It is true that these symbols often fuse each other's meanings and are transformed to convey a collective or synthetic meaning; but the fusion, transformation and synthesis occur in their use to conceptualise identity. We can say that the symbols of cultural boundaries are like books in a library: an individual may organize his knowledge through a selective reading of books.

To the question, "What is your group identity?" a Tamil may answer by identifying his jati title or jati name, his language, occupation, religious or political affiliation Depending on the context and who the questioner is, the answers would vary.

.....language is not the sole emblem of collective identity among the Tamils. The Tamils are divided into several jati groups, each group having distinctive ritual status and political power. The emblems which denote or identify ritual status and political power are jati name and jati title, respectively...

An individual has a coherent system of self and group identity but what this system does is to enable the individual to employ and deploy multiple identities in his lifetime and in different experiential contexts. In other words, there is no set pattern of identities that remain static. The individual knows what "appropriate" identity to dramatize, and knows how to respond to the dramatisation of the "appropriate" identity by others..." Jacob Pandian in Caste, Nationalism, and Ethnicity : an interpretation of Tamil cultural history and social order

Saturday, 20 January 2001

"...Numerical weakness comes from having to prepare against possible attacks; numerical strength, from compelling our adversary to make these preparations against us.... Thus we may know that there are five essentials for victory: (1) He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight. (2) He will win who knows how to handle both superior and inferior forces. (3) He will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks. (4) He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared. (5) He will win who has military capacity and is not interfered with by the sovereign. Hence the saying: If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle..." ( from Sun Tsu on the Art of War)

Saturday, 13 January 2001

"...Tibet Online aims to counteract the disadvantages Tibetans face in their struggle against the vast resources of the Chinese government, while providing new employment opportunities to help bring Tibetan exiles into the modern world on their own terms. We level the playing field by leveraging the Internet's ability to harness international grassroots support for Tibet's survival, while at the same time helping Tibetans involved in these efforts pick up highly valuable skills..." (from Tibet Online - see also The Fourth World, Nations without a State)

"He who concentrates on any one thing with singleness of purpose, will ultimately acquire the capacity to do everything...." Mahatma Gandhi

Saturday, 6 January 2001

"...A hundred years ago, paradox meant error to the scientific mind. But exploring such phenomena as the nature of light, electromagnetism; quantum mechanics and relativity theory, physical science has matured over the past century, to the point where it is increasingly recognized that at a certain level, reality is paradoxical... Mystics have spoken to us through the ages in terms of paradox. Is it possible that we are beginning to see a meeting ground between science and religion? When we are able to say that "a human is both mortal and eternal at the same time" and "light is both a wave and a particle at the same time", we have begun to speak the same language. Is it possible that the path of spiritual growth that proceeds from religious superstition to scientific scepticism may indeed ultimately lead us to a genuine religious reality..." - M.Scott Peck in the *Road Less Travelled

Continued Reflections 2000.........



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