Sunday, October 31, 2004

Missing Halloweeners

This year hardly anyone showed up for trick & treating. It was a nice warm October day, so I went this morning to add to the stock of candy we have. Should have known better. Now the question is how to avoid eating all that candy ourselves.

Name of this blog

Physicist Jacques Distler has a blog, titled Musings, which I visit regularly. However, I had a column, with the same title, Musings sometime ago, (thanks to Rajan Parrikar!) on the South Asian Women's Forum. So I don't think I need back away from this name.

In any case, the readers of this blog if any are likely very different from those of Distler's blog.

Types of fools

The Yahoo egroup, Indian Civilization, used to be a place to learn more about Indian culture. Nowadays, the discourse is about real and imagined enemies of Indian culture, and I visit it less and less often.

In the good old days, one member had posted an interesting commentary on Bhagavad Gita Verse 15:19. He remarked that the verse can be rendered as

One who knows Me wisely thus as
the Most Exalted Person (Purusha), not left out in anything,
any concept, or any being, and worships me with all his
heart, all his soul, and all his might and all of
everything, he receives me unmitigatedly.

and notes "Here the Lord has choosen to describe wisdom not as wisdom but being not a fool! He does not say, "Know Me in your wisdom" but, "Know me by being not a fool".

Presumably it is easier to recognize the fool than the wise man.

Anyway, the above was followed by a classification of the subtle kinds of fools; the student of the Gita should already be able to recognize the grosser kinds of fools. These were

  • The Close-Minded Fool (mu_daha - the word used in the verse) : One who closes the doors to new experience. One such makes a rule and restricts oneself to that rule as being the best.
  • The Stale Fool (makku) : One who clings to old stuff.
  • The Organized Fool (matti) : Mata is an organization - a monastery, a church a political party. One who clings blindly to an organization is such a fool.
  • The Folded Fool (madayan) : Here I quote, rather than paraphrase : "This fellow is limited by his/her vision. Even though the full sheet is available to him or her, he/she folds the sheet and says that he would work only with the folded sheet. The famous poet SubraManya Bharathiya_r refers to this kind of foolishness in a song: "Ma_dhar Thammai Izivu Ceyyum Madamaiyaik Kozuththuvo_m: We will ignite and set fire to the folded foolishness by which we put down women". Putting down women and not treating them as equals is precisely folding the sheet into half and working with the folded sheet. It is the best example that I know of a folded fool."
  • The Walled Fool (mutta_l) : This is the frog-in-the-well kind of fool, who thinks that the world consists of what is bounded by his four walls.

    One reason that the classification of fools amuses me is that one gets to see examples of all the types in this political season.
  • Sri Ganesh