Monday, October 13, 2014

THE DEVIL AND A DONKEY


                             The Book of Genesis in the Holy Bible depicts the story of the ‘Great Flood’ by which God wiped out the wicked people from the earth. He was pleased with Noah and so He decided to save him and his family from the flood.  God ordered him to build an ark, a large wooden boat with ample rooms to accommodate and maintain representatives of every species of terrestrial animals and birds. Noah worked with his wife, his three sons- Shem, Ham and Japheth and their wives and constructed the huge ark. Then, following the directions of God, Noah and his sons brought pairs of all animals near the ark and marched them into the ark.
                             In a humorous legend, which is entirely fictitious, a stubborn donkey refused to enter the ark. Noah and his sons had to drag the adamant animal into the ark, overcoming his stupid resistance. In one version of the legend, Ham, a son of Noah furiously shouted to the donkey, “Oh, you devil, come into the ark” while pulling him with all his might.   
                            The Devil, who was awaiting an invitation to enter the ark accepted these impulsive words as an invitation and readily entered the ark. Though the story is entirely fictitious, the Bible states that Ham later came under the influence of the Devil and was tempted to treat his father Noah with disrespect. This evil act led to a historic curse. Noah cursed Ham that his descendants would become the slaves of his brothers’ descendants.
                            Harsh words, uttered impulsively can have disastrous consequences. Unkind words may cause deep wounds in the minds of those who hear them but wisely spoken words can heal.
                            Let us learn to be quick to listen, but slow to speak and slow to become angry. Let us be kind and tender-hearted to one another, and forgive one another.                         ……………………………………………………………………
© By: Prof. Dr. Babu Philip, Darsana Academy, Kottayam-686001, Kerala, India ( Former Professor, Cochin University of Science & Technology, Fine Arts Avenue, Kochi-682016, Kerala, India), Prof. Mrs. Rajamma Babu, Former Professor, St. Dominic's College, Kanjirappally,  Leo. S. John, St. Antony's Public School, Anakkal, Kanjirappally and Neil John, Maniparambil, Ooriyakunnath, Kunnumbhagom, Kanjirappally, Kottayam-686507, Kerala, India.
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Friday, August 29, 2014

A DEADLY BED


                    Procrustes was a villainous character in Greek mythology. Procrustes (Polypemon/ Procoptas/ Damastes) was the son of Poseidon.
                   He had a house by the side of the road between Athens and Eleusis. He used to invite passengers to spend a night in his house. They were attracted by his hospitality and warm welcome. He offered pleasant food and a night’s rest in his special magical bed, which, he said, was capable of exactly matching the length of anyone who would lie down on it.
                   Procrustes would compel the guest to lie on the iron bed. Then he would tie him to the bed and start his cruel treatment. If the guest was shorter than the bed, he would stretch the body of the guest on a rack using a hammer till his length exactly matched that of the bed, causing great agony and final death. If the guest was longer than the bed, Procrustes would chop off the legs of the guest to achieve a perfect fit; but he would certainly bleed to death. In either case the victim was sure to die.
                   Some legends suggest that he had two different beds of different lengths which he used so that no guest would ever fit a bed exactly and escape from a painful death.
                   Finally the Greek hero Theseus defeated Procrustes and fatally adjusted his length to suit his own bed. Thus Procrustes died as a victim of his own technique, thus ending his reign of terror.
                   Any attempt to establish universal uniformity is disastrous. Every person has a unique personality and individuality. It is impossible to judge everyone using the same strict standards. Harmony in variety and unity in diversity should be appreciated.
                   The phrase ‘Procrustean bed’ is a metaphor to describe an arbitrary or unnatural standard for a set of conditions to which everyone is forced to conform. One who finds fault with everyone except himself and tries to punish others shares the distorted vision and life style of Procrustes.  When we point one finger at another person, three other fingers on the same hand point towards us. Often we fail to notice our own imperfections when we watch the sins of others. When we are harsh in judging others, we become unable to receive mercy and compassion from others and from God.
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© By: Prof. Dr. Babu Philip, Darsana Academy, Kottayam-686001, Kerala, India ( Former Professor, Cochin University of Science & Technology, Fine Arts Avenue, Kochi-682016, Kerala, India), Prof. Mrs. Rajamma Babu, Former Professor, St. Dominic's College, Kanjirappally,  Leo. S. John, St. Antony's Public School, Anakkal, Kanjirappally and Neil John, Maniparambil, Ooriyakunnath, Kunnumbhagom, Kanjirappally, Kottayam-686507, Kerala, India.
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This is Story No. 218 in this site. Please click ‘Older Posts’ at the bottom of a page to read previous stories and click 'Newer Posts' at the bottom of a page to read newer stories in this site. Please click on a word in the 'Story Themes' to read stories on that theme. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

THE DOG AT THE DOOR


                         John Baillie (1886-1960) was a renowned Scottish theologian. He wrote several popular books in theology. He once narrated the story of a seriously sick patient who was rushed to a hospital. The doctor examined him in detail and from the facial expression of the doctor he could infer that he was nearing his end. He asked the doctor in fear, “Now, what can I do?”
                        The doctor heard the sounds of knocking and scratching on the closed door of the room. “Who is there?” asked the doctor. The patient replied, “He is my pet dog, doctor. He knows that I am here. He makes these sounds in an attempt to reach me.” The doctor was enlightened by this incident. He advised the dying patient, “That is exactly what you too should do. Our ultimate goal in life is to reach our heavenly master. Prepare for that inevitable journey.
                        The impatient dog teaches us a great lesson. Our attitude during old age and illness should not be of depression or worry. We must realise that we are moving forward to meet our master who will greet us in heaven. In this journey, we cannot carry with us any earthly possession except our virtues.
                        Man’s way leads to a hopeless end while God’s way leads to an endless hope. 
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© By: Prof. Dr. Babu Philip, Darsana Academy, Kottayam-686001, Kerala, India ( Former Professor, Cochin University of Science & Technology, Fine Arts Avenue, Kochi-682016, Kerala, India), Prof. Mrs. Rajamma Babu, Former Professor, St. Dominic's College, Kanjirappally,  Leo. S. John, St. Antony's Public School, Anakkal, Kanjirappally and Neil John, Maniparambil, Ooriyakunnath, Kunnumbhagom, Kanjirappally, Kottayam-686507, Kerala, India.
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This is Story No. 217 in this site. Please click ‘Older Posts’ at the bottom of a page to read previous stories and click 'Newer Posts' at the bottom of a page to read newer stories in this site. Please click on a word in the 'Story Themes' to read stories on that theme. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

THE BEAUTY OF MATERNITY


                        An old widow had an only son. She was very poor and lived in a little hut in a remote village. She brought him up with great difficulty, suffering constant poverty and frequent starvation. When he grew up, he joined the emperor’s army. He was very honest and dutiful and strictly followed his mother’s instructions throughout his life.
                         One day, he happened to witness a serious crime committed by some of his colleagues. They devised a plan to trap him as they were afraid that he would reveal the secret to the emperor. They falsely accused him of a crime of utmost gravity and provided false witnesses against him. The innocent soldier was arrested, tried and sentenced to death.
                         The sad news reached his mother. She was shocked. She was sure that her son was innocent. There was very little time left before the execution of her beloved son. There was no one to help them. So she ran as fast as she could to the emperor’s distant palace to plead for mercy. She forgot her illness and old age and did not care to have food or water on the way. She was completely exhausted and broken-hearted when she reached the emperor and fell on his feet. Gasping for breath due to extreme exhaustion, she begged for mercy using broken words. Then she collapsed and breathed her last.
                       Greatly moved by her affection and sacrifice, the emperor ordered that the execution of the soldier be suspended. He ordered a fresh and detailed probe about the allegations against the youth. He deputed a team of just and honest officers to re-investigate the case. They could establish the innocence of the soldier and collect evidences against the men behind the conspiracy to fabricate the false accusation against him. The emperor acquitted the soldier and released him from the prison.  His enemies were arrested and imprisoned. The soldier rushed to the spot where his loving mother was buried. He burst into tears and fell prostrate on the burial ground.
                       It is said that God could not be everywhere and so He created mothers. Jesus taught, “My commandment is this: love one another, just as I love you. The greatest love a person can have for his friends is to give his life for them.” …………………………………………………………………
© By: Prof. Dr. Babu Philip, Darsana Academy, Kottayam-686001, Kerala, India ( Former Professor, Cochin University of Science & Technology, Fine Arts Avenue, Kochi-682016, Kerala, India), Prof. Mrs. Rajamma Babu, Former Professor, St. Dominic's College, Kanjirappally,  Leo. S. John, St. Antony's Public School, Anakkal, Kanjirappally and Neil John, Maniparambil, Ooriyakunnath, Kunnumbhagom, Kanjirappally, Kottayam-686507, Kerala, India.
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This is Story No. 216 in this site. Please click ‘Older Posts’ at the bottom of a page to read previous stories and click 'Newer Posts' at the bottom of a page to read newer stories in this site. Please click on a word in the 'Story Themes' to read stories on that theme.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

A TALE OF TWO MONKEYS


                     A wild fire broke out in a dense forest. Heaps of dry leaves easily caught fire and the strong winds quickly spread the fire.  The frightened animals and birds fled for their lives. Two monkeys were left behind in the burning forest. One was blind and the other was lame. They cried for help but their friends and relatives deserted them.
                     They heard each other. The lame monkey saw the helpless blind monkey and came near him as fast as he could. He told the blind one, “Friend, there is only one way to escape from this raging fire. You can move fast and I can see well. Let us move together.” The blind monkey readily agreed and stooped down. The lame monkey climbed on the back of the blind monkey, who moved, following the directions of the lame monkey. They could move fast through a narrow area where the blazing fire had not yet reached. They reached a safe spot at a great distance from the roaring fire. They embraced and thanked each other. They promised to stay together as real friends for the rest of their lives. Their friends were sorry for abandoning them during the dangerous moments and begged their pardon. They became friends again.
                   “A friend in need is a friend indeed.”
                    Jesus taught, “My commandment is this: love one another, just as I love you. The greatest love a person can have for his friends is to give his life for them.”
                    St. John reminds us, “My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action”                                   
                    The Holy Bible teaches us, “Friends always show their love. What are brothers for if not to share trouble? …………………………………………………………………………..
© By: Prof. Dr. Babu Philip, Darsana Academy, Kottayam-686001, Kerala, India ( Former Professor, Cochin University of Science & Technology, Fine Arts Avenue, Kochi-682016, Kerala, India), Prof. Mrs. Rajamma Babu, Former Professor, St. Dominic's College, Kanjirappally,  Leo. S. John, St. Antony's Public School, Anakkal, Kanjirappally and Neil John, Maniparambil, Ooriyakunnath, Kunnumbhagom, Kanjirappally, Kottayam-686507, Kerala, India.
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This is Story No. 215 in this site. Please click ‘Older Posts’ at the bottom of a page to read previous stories and click 'Newer Posts' at the bottom of a page to read newer stories in this site. Please click on a word in the 'Story Themes' to read stories on that theme.