For You, Daddy!

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

A Few Good Men

Filed under: Giving,Personal Beliefs — by For you, Daddy! @ 4:30 am
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Over the past year or so, I have attended talks by a few people who were in town for various reasons. I am going to highlight the three who wowed me the most.


First, I will list their names and the topics they spoke on.


1. The Dalai Lama
Ethics for the New Millennium


2. Justice Albie Sachs
Light on a Hill


3. Dr.Karan Singh
The Relevance of Vedanta* in Today’s Context

*A brief explanation further down.


Each one of these speakers impressed me, and I learned a little something from all of them. Also, each of these speakers had experienced personal hardships, either in their childhood or later in life. Despite covering various subjects, I found a common theme among all three in their talks:


– All human beings are equal. There should be no divisions of any sort in the human race.


– Each one of us has the power to make changes in the world. The changes don’t have to effect large sections of society because it is not the amount of change that’s important. It is making that first small change that is most crucial. The rest will follow.


– Materialism does not bring happiness.


Each of the three spoke well and each was humble about his accomplishments and his stature in society today.


Having heard him speak several times earlier on TV and YouTube, and being a bit of a fan myself, I had expected good oratory from The Dalai Lama. I went in not expecting anything in particular from either Justice Albie Sachs or Dr.Karan Singh. In fact, I had not heard of either of them until a few days before I went to hear each speak.


And boy, did these boys blow me away! They were soft spoken and those sort, coincidentally (or not), are my kind of guys. 🙂



1. The Dalai Lama
Ethics for the New Millennium


This image is from


I chose this picture deliberately because it captures that mischievous twinkle in his eye as he is about to slam dunk a purposely playful response.


As I said earlier, I had heard The Dalai Lama speak a few times before, but this was the first time I saw him speak live; 6 rows away from me.


I am not going to tell you who The Dalai Lama is and what he is all about because he is a bit of a rock star. What I will share is that I found him to be quick witted, humourous (although he admitted to having a bit of a temper), shorter than I had imagined and not pudgy at all, as I had imagined. In fact, he struck me as lean; muscular even. He needs to fire his stylist for draping him in those shapeless tents swaddling robes. 😉



2. Justice Albie Sachs

Light on a Hill


This image is from


A South African Constitutional judge, a Human Rights activist and the former dean of Harvard Law School.


Justice Sachs, 77, was a victim of a targeted bomb blast in Mozambique in 1988. He lost his right arm and right eye in that attack, so he is slightly bent in posture, but his peaceful aura stands tall.


Shortly after he recovered from that gruesome attack, Justice Sachs asked to meet the man who deliberately planted the bomb in his car. He wanted to tell him that he was not angry with him, that he did not hate him.


When they met in the prison where the man was incarcerated, Justice Sachs told him that he forgave the man for his heinous* deed.  

*My opinion; not the word Justice Sachs used. In fact, when recounting this experience, he abstained from all judgmental words.


What left the deepest impression on me was this.


At the very start of their conversation, Justice Sachs apologised to the perpetrator for using his left arm (instead of the traditional right arm) to shake hands with him! Wow.


How blissful he must be to be rid of the burden of revenge and resentment that we typically tend to harbour!


In my next post, I will share my experience of the power of forgiveness.



3. Dr.Karan Singh

The Relevance of Vedanta* in Today’s Context


*This is the simplest explanation of Vedanta that I found on Wiki:

“A group of philosophical traditions concerned with self-realisation by which one understands the ultimate nature of reality.”


Still confused? So am I.


This image is from


A former member of the Indian parliament and a champion of interfaith dialogue.


Dr.Karan Singh, 81, was my absolute favourite! 🙂


He was born a prince in Jammu and Kashmir. When he was old enough to understand his privileged position, he consciously discarded his royal title, thereby ending the royal lineage in Jammu and Kashmir. He lived like a commoner, chose to be an educator and worked towards dispelling barriers to allow those at the very broad bottom of the Indian pyramid have a chance at a better life.


As if all this weren’t fantastic enough, he is the most wonderful orator I have heard in recent memory. Frail and mild to the eye; but strong in the convinction of his beliefs and practices. He had me in a trance as his rich language flowed from the very first sentence, and he whisked me away for the rest of the all-too-short-a-time that he waxed eloquently.


You know how some lucky winners, celebrities or contestants (usually) are asked which idol of theirs they would like to have dinner with? I don’t fall into any of those categories, but if I were handed such a momentous opportunity, my answer, without a moment of hesitation, would be Dr.Karan Singh!


I’d actually make a special request – I would ask it not to be a dinner meet.


Because by God, even to an avid gastronome such as myself, food would be inconsequential when I have his eloquence to drool over! Sigh.


Thank you,  The Book of Terrible  and mj monaghan  for commenting on my last post.

Thank you, The Book of Terrible, for liking my last post.


P.S.: Cheerful Monk adds a footnote to every post acknowledging those who comment on her previous post. She also links the commenters’ names back to their own blogs.

 I like both these practices of acknowledging the time and effort made to comment, and the free advertising! So I’m doing what I do well – being a copycat! 


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