Timeless Advice on Writing: The Collected Wisdom of Great Writers – Brain Pickings

via Timeless Advice on Writing: The Collected Wisdom of Great Writers – Brain Pickings

 

Hemingway, Didion, Baldwin, Fitzgerald, Sontag, Vonnegut, Bradbury, Morrison, Orwell, and other literary icons.

By popular demand, I’ve put together a periodically updated reading list of all the famous advice on writing presented here over the years, featuring words of wisdom from such masters of the craft as Kurt VonnegutSusan SontagHenry MillerStephen KingF. Scott FitzgeraldSusan OrleanErnest HemingwayZadie Smith, and more.

Please enjoy.

  1. Jennifer Egan on Writing, the Trap of Approval, and the Most Important Discipline for Aspiring Writers
    “You can only write regularly if you’re willing to write badly… Accept bad writing as a way of priming the pump, a warm-up exercise that allows you to write well.”
  2. The Effortless Effort of Creativity: Jane Hirshfield on Storytelling, the Art of Concentration, and Difficulty as a Consecrating Force of Creative Attention
    “In the wholeheartedness of concentration, world and self begin to cohere. With that state comes an enlarging: of what may be known, what may be felt, what may be done.”
  3. Ted Hughes on How to Be a Writer: A Letter of Advice to His 18-Year-Old Daughter
    “The first sign of disintegration — in a writer — is that the writing loses the unique stamp of his/her character, & loses its inner light.”
  4. Colette on Writing, the Blissful Obsessive-Compulsiveness of Creative Work, and Withstanding Naysayers
    “A lack of money, if it be relative, and a lack of comfort can be endured if one is sustained by pride. But not the need to be astounded.”
  5. Auden on Writing, Originality, Self-Criticism, and How to Be a Good Reader
    “It would only be necessary for a writer to secure universal popularity if imagination and intelligence were equally distributed among all men.”
  6. Stephen King: Writing and the Art of “Creative Sleep”:
    “In both writing and sleeping, we learn to be physically still at the same time we are encouraging our minds to unlock from the humdrum rational thinking of our daytime lives.”
  7. Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing
    “If it sounds like writing … rewrite it.”
  8. Michael Lewis: Writing, Money, and the Necessary Self-Delusion of Creativity
    “When you’re trying to create a career as a writer, a little delusional thinking goes a long way.”
  9. Annie Dillard on Writing
    “At its best, the sensation of writing is that of any unmerited grace. It is handed to you, but only if you look for it. You search, you break your heart, your back, your brain, and then — and only then — it is handed to you.”
  10. Susan Sontag on Writing
    “There is a great deal that either has to be given up or be taken away from you if you are going to succeed in writing a body of work.”
  11. Ray Bradbury: How List-Making Can Boost Your Creativity
    How to feel your way toward something honest, hidden under the trapdoor on the top of your skull.
  12. Anne Lamott: Writing and Why Perfectionism Kills Creativity
    “Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life.”
  13. Italo Calvino on Writing: Insights from 40+ Years of His Letters
    “To write well about the elegant world you have to know it and experience it to the depths of your being… what matters is not whether you love it or hate it, but only to be quite clear about your position regarding it.”
  14. Ernest Hemingway : Writing, Knowledge, and the Danger of Ego
    “All bad writers are in love with the epic.”
  15. David Foster Wallace: Writing, Death, and Redemption
    “You don’t have to think very hard to realize that our dread of both relationships and loneliness … has to do with angst about death, the recognition that I’m going to die, and die very much alone, and the rest of the world is going to go merrily on without me.”
  16. Isabel Allende: Writing Brings Order to the Chaos of Life
    “Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too.”
  17. Stephen King: The Adverb Is Not Your Friend
    “I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs, and I will shout it from the rooftops.”
  18. Malcolm Cowley: The Four Stages of Writing
    “The germ of a story is a new and simple element introduced into an existing situation or mood.”
  19. Henry Miller’s 11 Commandments of Writing
    “Work on one thing at a time until finished.”
  20. Advice on Writing: Collected Wisdom from Modernity’s Greatest Writers
    “Finish each day before you begin the next, and interpose a solid wall of sleep between the two. This you cannot do without temperance.”
  21. Kurt Vonnegut: 8 Rules for a Great Story
    “Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.”
  22. Susan Orlean on Writing
    “You have to simply love writing, and you have to remind yourself often that you love it.”
  23. Zadie Smith: 10 Rules of Writing
    “Tell the truth through whichever veil comes to hand — but tell it. Resign yourself to the lifelong sadness that comes from never ­being satisfied.”
  24. John Steinbeck: 6 Tips on Writing, and a Disclaimer
    “Abandon the idea that you are ever going to finish.”
  25. F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Secret of Great Writing (1938)
    “Nothing any good isn’t hard.”
  26. E. B. White: Egoism and the Art of the Essay
    “Only a person who is congenially self-centered has the effrontery and the stamina to write essays”
  27. E. B. White: Why Brevity Is Not the Gold Standard for Style
    “Writing is not an exercise in excision, it’s a journey into sound.”
  28. Ray Bradbury: Creative Purpose in the Face of Rejection
    “The blizzard doesn’t last forever; it just seems so.”
  29. Mary Karr: The Magnetism and Madness of the Written Word
    “Be willing to be a child and be the Lilliputian in the world of Gulliver.”
  30. Kurt Vonnegut: How to Write With Style and the 8 Keys to the Power of the Written Word (1985)
    “The most damning revelation you can make about yourself is that you do not know what is interesting and what is not.”
  31. Ann Patchett: What Now?
    “Coming back is the thing that enables you to see how all the dots in your life are connected.”
  32. Mary Gordon: The Joy of Notebooks and Writing by Hand as a Creative Catalyst
    “However thoroughly we lose ourselves in the vortex of our invention, we inhabit a corporeal world.”
  33. H. P. Lovecraft: Advice to Aspiring Writers (1920)
    “A page of Addison or of Irving will teach more of style than a whole manual of rules, whilst a story of Poe’s will impress upon the mind a more vivid notion of powerful and correct description and narration than will ten dry chapters of a bulky textbook.”
  34. Henry Miller: Reflections on Writing
    “Understanding is not a piercing of the mystery, but an acceptance of it, a living blissfully with it, in it, through and by it.”
  35. Margaret Atwood: 10 Rules of Writing
    “­Do back exercises. Pain is distracting.”
  36. David Foster Wallace: The Nature of the Fun and Why Writers Write
    “Fiction becomes a weird way to countenance yourself and to tell the truth instead of being a way to escape yourself or present yourself in a way you figure you will be maximally likable.”
  37. Joy Williams: Why Writers Write
    “A writer loves the dark, loves it, but is always fumbling around in the light.”
  38. Joan Didion: Ego, Grammar, and the Impetus to Write
    “Had I been blessed with even limited access to my own mind there would have been no reason to write.”
  39. David Ogilvy: 10 No-Bullshit Tips on Writing
    “Never write more than two pages on any subject.”
  40. George Orwell: The Four Motives for Writing (1946)
    “Sheer egoism… Writers share this characteristic with scientists, artists, politicians, lawyers, soldiers, successful businessmen — in short, with the whole top crust of humanity.”
  41. Ezra Pound: A Few Don’ts for Those Beginning to Write Verse (1913)
    “Consider the way of the scientists rather than the way of an advertising agent for a new soap.”
  42. Ray Bradbury: Storytelling and Human Nature (1963)
    “Man has always been half-monster, half-dreamer.”
  43. Joseph Conrad: Writing and the Role of the Artist (1897)
    “Art is long and life is short, and success is very far off.”
  44. Helen Dunmore: 9 Rules of Writing
    “A problem with a piece of writing often clarifies itself if you go for a long walk.”
  45. E. B. White: The Role and Responsibility of the Writer (1969)
    “Writers do not merely reflect and interpret life, they inform and shape life.”
  46. Jack Kerouac: 30 Beliefs and Techniques for Prose and Life
    “No fear or shame in the dignity of yr experience, language & knowledge.”
  47. Raymond Chandler on Writing
    “The test of a writer is whether you want to read him again years after he should by the rules be dated.”
  48. Walter Benjamin: The Writer’s Technique in Thirteen Theses
    “The more circumspectly you delay writing down an idea, the more maturely developed it will be on surrendering itself.”
  49. 28-Year-Old Susan Sontag on the Four People a Great Writer Must Be
    “A great writer has all 4 — but you can still be a good writer with only 1 and 2.”
  50. 10 Tips on Writing from Joyce Carol Oates
    “Don’t try to anticipate an ideal reader — or any reader. He/she might exist — but is reading someone else.”
  51. Neil Gaiman: 8 Rules of Writing
    “Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving.”
  52. Anaïs Nin: Why Emotional Excess is Essential to Writing and Creativity
    “Something is always born of excess: great art was born of great terrors, great loneliness, great inhibitions, instabilities, and it always balances them.”
  53. Neil Gaiman’s Advice to Aspiring Writers
    “You have to finish things — that’s what you learn from, you learn by finishing things.”
  54. Jorge Luis Borges on Writing: Wisdom from His Most Candid Interviews
    “A writer’s work is the product of laziness.”
  55. Herbert Spencer: The Philosophy of Style, the Economy of Attention, and the Ideal Writer (1852)
    “To have a specific style is to be poor in speech.”
  56. Charles Bukowski on Writing and His Insane Daily Routine
    “Writing is like going to bed with a beautiful woman and afterwards she gets up, goes to her purse and gives me a handful of money.”
  57. Samuel Johnson on Writing and Creative Doggedness
    “Composition is for the most part an effort of slow diligence and steady perseverance, to which the mind is dragged by necessity or resolution, and from which the attention is every moment starting to more delightful amusements.”
  58. Edgar Allan Poe: The Joy of Marginalia and What Handwriting Reveals about Character
    “In the marginalia … we talk only to ourselves; we therefore talk freshly — boldly — originally — with abandonment — without conceit.”
  59. Kurt Vonnegut: The Writer’s Responsibility, the Limitations of the Brain, and Why the Universe Exists: A Rare 1974 WNYC Interview
    “We have such a young culture that there is an opportunity to contribute wonderful new myths to it, which will be accepted.”
  60. Ernest Hemingway on Not Writing for Free and How to Run a First-Rate Publication
    Find the best writers, pay them to write, and avoid typos at all costs.
  61. How to Be a Writer: Ernest Hemingway’s Advice to Aspiring Authors
    “As a writer you should not judge. You should understand.”
  62. Eudora Welty: The Poetics of Place and Writing as an Explorer’s Map of the Unknown
    “No art ever came out of not risking your neck.”
  63. Alice Munro’s Nobel Prize Interview: Writing, Women, and the Rewards of Storytelling
    “I want my stories to move people … to feel some kind of reward from the writing.”
  64. Samuel Delany: Good Writing vs. Talented Writing
    “Talented writing makes things happen in the reader’s mind — vividly, forcefully — that good writing, which stops with clarity and logic, doesn’t.”
  65. William Faulkner: Writing, the Purpose of Art, Working in a Brothel, and the Meaning of Life
    “The only environment the artist needs is whatever peace, whatever solitude, and whatever pleasure he can get at not too high a cost.”
  66. Anaïs Nin: Writing, the Future of the Novel, and How Keeping a Diary Enhances Creativity: Wisdom from a Rare 1947 Chapbook
    “It is in the movements of emotional crisis that human beings reveal themselves most accurately.”
  67. John Updike: Writing and Death
    “Each day, we wake slightly altered, and the person we were yesterday is dead. So why, one could say, be afraid of death, when death comes all the time?”
  68. Charles Bukowski Debunks the “Tortured Genius” Myth of Creativity
    “unless it comes unasked out of your heart and your mind and your mouth and your gut, don’t do it.”
  69. Mary Gaitskill: Why Writers Write and The Six Motives of Creativity
    The art of integrating the ego and the impulse for empathy in a dynamic call and response.
  70. Vladimir Nabokov: Writing, Reading, and the Three Qualities a Great Storyteller Must Have
    “Between the wolf in the tall grass and the wolf in the tall story there is a shimmering go-between. That go-between, that prism, is the art of literature.”
  71. Joan Didion: Telling Stories, the Economy of Words, Starting Out as a Writer, and Facing Rejection
    “Short stories demand a certain awareness of one’s own intentions, a certain narrowing of the focus.”
  72. Herman Melville’s Daily Routine and Thoughts on the Writing Life
    “A book in a man’s brain is better off than a book bound in calf — at any rate it is safer from criticism.”
  73. William Faulkner’s Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech: The Writer as a Booster of the Human Heart
    “The poet’s, the writer’s, duty is … to help man endure by lifting his heart.”
  74. John Updike: Making Money, How to Have a Productive Daily Routine, and the Most Important Things for Aspiring Writers to Know
    “In a country this large and a language even larger … there ought to be a living for somebody who cares and wants to entertain and instruct a reader.”
  75. Susan Sontag : Writing, Routines, Education, and Elitism in a 1992 Recording from the 92Y Archives
    “To make your life being a writer, it’s an auto-slavery … you are both the slave and the task-master.”
  76. Chinua Achebe: The Meaning of Life and the Writer’s Responsibility in Society
    The difference between blind optimism and the urge to improve the world’s imperfection.
  77. Leonard Cohen: Creativity, Hard Work, and Why You Should Never Quit Before You Know What It Is You’re Quitting
    “The cutting of the gem has to be finished before you can see whether it shines.”
  78. Ray Bradbury: What Failure Really Means, Why We Hate Work, and the Importance of Love in Creative Endeavors
    How working for the wrong motives poisons our creativity and warps our ideas of success and failure.
  79. Joyce Carol Oates: What Hemingway’s Early Stories Can Teach Us About Writing and the Defining Quality of Great Art
    On the elusive gift of blending austerity of craft with elasticity of allure.
  80. Willa Cather: Writing Through Troubled Times
    “The test of one’s decency is how much of a fight one can put up after one has stopped caring, and after one has found out that one can never please the people they wanted to please.”
  81. Anthony Trollope: Witty and Wise Advice on How to Be a Successful Writer
    “My belief of book writing is much the same as my belief as to shoemaking. The man who will work the hardest at it, and will work with the most honest purpose, will work the best.”
  82. William Styron: Why Formal Education Is a Waste of Time for Writers
    “For a person whose sole burning ambition is to write — like myself — college is useless beyond the Sophomore year.”
  83. Madeleine L’Engle: Creativity, Censorship, Writing, and the Duty of Children’s Books
    “We find what we are looking for. If we are looking for life and love and openness and growth, we are likely to find them. If we are looking for witchcraft and evil, we’ll likely find them, and we may get taken over by them.”
  84. Saul Bellow: How Writers and Artists Save Us from the “Moronic Inferno” of Our Time
    “The writer cannot make the seas of distraction stand still, but he [or she] can at times come between the madly distracted and the distractions.”
  85. Mary Oliver: The Mystery of the Human Psyche, the Secret of Great Poetry, and How Rhythm Makes Us Come Alive
    “Rhythm is one of the most powerful of pleasures, and when we feel a pleasurable rhythm we hope it will continue. When it does, it grows sweeter.”
  86. Schopenhauer on Style
    “Truth that is naked is the most beautiful, and the simpler its expression the deeper is the impression it makes.”
  87. Flannery O’Connor: Why the Grotesque Appeals to Us, Plus a Rare Recording of Her Reading
    “There is something in us, as storytellers and as listeners to stories, that demands the redemptive act, that demands that what falls at least be offered the chance to be restored.”
  88. Annie Dillard: The Art of the Essay and Narrative Nonfiction vs. Poetry and Short Stories
    “Writers serve as the memory of a people. They chew over our public past.”
  89. C.S. Lewis: The 3 Ways of Writing for Children and the Key to Authenticity in All Writing
    “The only moral that is of any value is that which arises inevitably from the whole cast of the author’s mind.”
  90. Nietzsche: 10 Rules for Writers
    “Style ought to prove that one believes in an idea; not only that one thinks it but also feels it.”
  91. William Faulkner: Writing, the Human Dilemma, and Why We Create
    “It’s the most satisfying occupation man has discovered yet, because you never can quite do it as well as you want to, so there’s always something to wake up tomorrow morning to do.”
  92. David Foster Wallace: The Redemptive Power of Reading and the Future of Writing in the Age of Information
    The fun of reading as “an exchange between consciousnesses, a way for human beings to talk to each other about stuff we can’t normally talk about.”
  93. Zadie Smith: The Psychology of the Two Types of Writers
    “It’s a feeling of happiness that knocks me clean out of adjectives. I think sometimes that the best reason for writing novels is to experience those four and a half hours after you write the final word.”
  94. George Orwell: Writing, How to Counter the Mindless Momentum of Language, and the Four Questions a Great Writer Must Ask Herself
    “By using stale metaphors, similes and idioms, you save much mental effort, at the cost of leaving your meaning vague, not only for your reader but for yourself.”
  95. Italo Calvino: The Art of Quickness, Digression as a Hedge Against Death, and the Key to Great Writing
    “Success consists in felicity of verbal expression, which every so often may result from a quick flash of inspiration but as a rule involves a patient search… for the sentence in which every word is unalterable.”
  96. Ursula K. Le Guin: Where Ideas Come From, the “Secret” of Great Writing, and the Trap of Marketing Your Work
    “All makers must leave room for the acts of the spirit. But they have to work hard and carefully, and wait patiently, to deserve them.”
  97. Gabriel García Márquez on His Unlikely Beginnings as a Writer
    “If you’re going to be a writer you have to be one of the great ones… After all, there are better ways to starve to death.”
  98. Roald Dahl: How Illness Emboldens Creativity: A Moving Letter to His Bedridden Mentor
    “I doubt I would have written a line … unless some minor tragedy had sort of twisted my mind out of the normal rut.”
  99. Robert Frost: How to Read Intelligently and Write a Great Essay
    “The sidelong glance is what you depend on.”
  100. Lewis Carroll: How to Work Through Difficulty and His Three Tips for Overcoming Creative Block
    “When you have made a thorough and reasonably long effort, to understand a thing, and still feel puzzled by it, stop, you will only hurt yourself by going on.”
  101. Mark Strand: The Heartbeat of Creative Work and the Artist’s Task to Bear Witness to the Universe
    “It’s such a lucky accident, having been born, that we’re almost obliged to pay attention.”
  102. John Steinbeck: The Diary as a Tool of Discipline, a Hedge Against Self-Doubt, and a Pacemaker for the Heartbeat of Creative Work
    “Just set one day’s work in front of the last day’s work. That’s the way it comes out. And that’s the only way it does.”
  103. E.B. White: How to Write for Children and the Writer’s Responsibility to All Audiences
    “Anyone who writes down to children is simply wasting his time. You have to write up, not down.”
  104. Virginia Woolf: Writing and Self-Doubt
    Consolation for those moments when you can’t tell whether you’re “the divinest genius or the greatest fool in the world.”
  105. Cheryl Strayed: Faith, Humility, and the Art of Motherfuckitude
    “Writing is hard for every last one of us… Coal mining is harder. Do you think miners stand around all day talking about how hard it is to mine for coal? They do not. They simply dig.”
  106. Ann Patchett: Writing and Why Self-Forgiveness Is the Most Important Ingredient of Great Art
    “The ability to forgive oneself … is the key to making art, and very possibly the key to finding any semblance of happiness in life.”
  107. Umberto Eco’s Advice to Writers
    “If we think that our reader is an idiot, we should not use rhetorical figures, but if we use them and feel the need to explain them, we are essentially calling the reader an idiot. In turn, he will…
  108. Grace Paley: The Value of Not Understanding Everything
    “Luckily for art, life is difficult, hard to understand, useless, and mysterious.”
  109. Jane Kenyon: Some of the Wisest Words to Create and Live By
    “Be a good steward of your gifts.”
  110. Joseph Conrad on Art and What Makes a Great Writer, in a Beautiful Tribute to Henry James
    “All creative art is magic, is evocation of the unseen in forms persuasive, enlightening, familiar and surprising, for the edification of mankind.”
  111. How to Save Your Soul: Willa Cather on Productivity vs. Creativity, Selling Out, and the Life-Changing Advice That Made Her a Writer
    “It’s so foolish to live (which is always trouble enough) and not to save your soul. It’s so foolish to lose your real pleasures for the supposed pleasures of the chase — or the stock exchange.”
  112. Hemingway’s Advice on Writing, Ambition, the Art of Revision, and His Reading List of Essential Books for Aspiring Writers
    “In any art you’re allowed to steal anything if you can make it better.”
  113. James Baldwin’s Advice on Writing
    “Talent is insignificant. I know a lot of talented ruins. Beyond talent lie all the usual words: discipline, love, luck, but most of all, endurance.”
  114. Alison Bechdel on Writing, Therapy, Self-Doubt, and How the Messiness of Life Feeds the Creative Conscience
    “It’s by writing… by stepping back a bit from the real thing to look at it, that we are most present.”
  115. Elizabeth Alexander on Writing, the Ethic of Love, Language as a Vehicle for the Self, and the Inherent Poetry of Personhood
    “You have to tell your own story simultaneously as you hear and respond to the stories of others.”
  116. Can Goodness Win? George Saunders on Writing, the Artist’s Task, and the Importance of Living with Opposing Truths
    “See how long you can stay in that space, where both things are true… That’s a great place to try to be.”
Advertisements

My 9th article on JetAirways GlobalLinkers website for SMEs.

https://jetairways.globallinker.com/#network/share/article/19750

Just one article away from SME Expert Badge 🙂

Jet Airways GlobalLinker | The Big Business Advantage

via Jet Airways GlobalLinker | The Big Business Advantage

My Article published on Global Linker

My article on ‘Business Credit’ has been published on GlobalLinker today.

Here is the article link — https://jetairways.globallinker.com/bizforum/article/why-business-credit-is-a-must-for-business-owners/19113/

Breakin Up – A Didactic Cinquain

Breakin Up – A Didactic Cinquain

by jay

Breaking Up

50 First Breakups, Wondering Thundering

Chaotic, Thrilling, Chilling-Pilling

Brilliantine GoodBye’s dividing

Adieu !

Meher baba on Indian Independence

Shireen Davenport

Meher Baba on Independence on 4 September 1931,

“Baba remarked, “If Gandhi comes to meet me, it would be very good for him and good for all concerned.”

About the Round Table Conference, Baba explained to Chanji and Rustom:

Even Gandhi will have no influence there, in spite of his presence. He should have gone at first with other representatives who, in a wavering mood, left for Multan; but at that time, Gandhi hesitated on account of certain grievances. Then he suddenly agreed to participate in the conference, though most of their grievances were not redressed.

The point is that once Gandhi refused to join in the conference on certain grounds, he ought to have refused to the end. He should not have suddenly consented to take part in it unless and until all his grievances were redressed and removed, and he should have stayed in India. But being inconsistent, he consented to attend the conference at the eleventh hour. He has lost his prestige and now he won’t succeed there. At the Round Table Conference, differences of opinion will prevail among the parties and no one will agree, and Gandhi’s influence will not make a difference. His influence will be ineffectual.

“Why?” asked Chanji.

In reply, Baba spelled out:

Gandhi’s influence has already waned. He wants to keep every party pleased and there[in] lies his weakness. How could he keep everybody pleased when they all are opposed to one another and have conflicting views, extremely opposite to each other?

In India, the many political parties and creeds all have one common aim: to attain independence. But there is not a single party among them who can come to terms with another party about details. Even the [Indian National] Congress, the party considered strongest, is affected by the foul odor of religious differences.

Its influence on others is gradually failing. With the weakening of its influence, the influence of Gandhi is also waning. Not only are the two greatest and largest parties and communities, the Muslims and the Untouchables, out of the influence of the Congress, but they also oppose and fight tooth and nail against Gandhi and the Congress.

Even among his own followers, or those who at least agree with him on the question of independence, their objectives differ. Observe how Sarojini Naidu and Pandit Malaviya act. Gandhi preaches the use of khadi [handspun cotton cloth] to all and sundry, yet Mrs. Naidu wears silks, though she is a colleague in his fight for independence. Gandhi preaches and advocates the abolition of caste and religion, particularly in abolishing Untouchability, and his lieutenant in the Congress Party, Malaviya, does not adhere to it. Malaviya takes his cook to England with him, thinking that eating meals prepared by foreigners is irreligious. There are thousands in the Congress who do not accept this dictum of Gandhi’s at all, and that is why the party is not strong; the result of which will bode ill for the future.

Gandhi also advocates celibacy, though he himself is married and has children, and recently he arranged his son’s marriage. There are so many things like these which he recommends, but does not put into practice himself. Why preach such things which he himself can’t or won’t do?

It is this trait in his character, combined with two other great defects — vanity and inconsistency — which causes Gandhi to lose his influence gradually, and leads those who once admired him to oppose him today. Shaukat Ali was once Gandhi’s closest companion and he is now his staunchest opponent. Why? Because of that great dividing factor: the religious animosity and enmity between the Hindus and Muslims. The religious fanatics on both sides have nurtured and fostered this hatred to the extent that even in Congress there are the orthodox who color every political activity and action with their religious bigotry, and it is all authorized, approved and practiced by and with Gandhi. This leads to great antagonism which is now weakening the Congress party.

What can I say about [Gandhi’s] vanity? Too much of a thing always spoils a man. To raise one to the seventh heaven and to cry out “Mahatma Gandhi ki jai” has made him vain and brought him down.

Shaukat Ali has caustically remarked, “These things have gone to his head and made him [Gandhi] mad!”

Besides, his immediate attendants put up a great show and fuss in every activity, which shows that Gandhi has a taste for it. But it is the natural outcome of too much praise and adulation. This daily exhibition in all functions, public and private, has reached the limit. It is too prominent to conceal from a shrewd observer or a sincere soul, who never likes or desires such a show. Hence, there is the dislike of him by many who, in spite of their admiration for him at one point, have left and are leaving him in [droves].

The Perfect Master of Spirituality can do anything and everything. He can preach about things which he himself does not practice, and for his spiritual purposes he can do things according to the prevailing conditions and circumstances, because he is eternally free of all things and can undo their effects. This is something an imperfect person can never do, much less one who has no “wind” [breeze] even of spirituality [such as a political leader, like Gandhi].

The reactionary effects of all these preachings, fuss, sham, show and vanity are disastrous, causing a gradual erosion of any influence Gandhi has among his admirers and followers, however great. If Gandhi’s influence goes, the rise of youth will take place, which in its activity will resemble Russian communalism. The signs are already there, as we find them assassinating people in high places and assaulting them in broad daylight.

Although Jawaharlal [Nehru] sides with Gandhi in his objective for independence, his views, creed and activities are quite different from Gandhi’s.

On the 5th, regarding Britain, Baba said:

The British government will not grant anything more than what was settled on in the last Round Table Conference. There is a change of government and, except for [Prime Minister] MacDonald, no one has any sympathy for our cause. Gandhi, too, will not gain anything more by his presence than what has already been decided to be given. His personality and influence will have no effect at all. And if Gandhi tries to give in again to avoid a conflict, the Congress will not accept it.

Baba predicted a civil war erupting in India between Hindus and Muslims. “There will be a terrible massacre and slaughter of one another,” he stated. “It will also have its reflection on Europeans.

There will be an equally strong civil war between the Indians and foreigners, particularly the Europeans and more particularly the British.”

On the 7th, Baba said:

The common cause of nationalism and the objective of achieving independence are sacrificed for want of unity between the Hindus and the Mohammedans, and they are harming their own cause by bringing religion into the matter. No one understands religion, and all this strife and squabble is born of irreligiousness.

Gandhi, who goes to England as the chosen leader of the Congress and the spokesman for India, this time will have no influence, unfortunately, owing to various reasons of conflicting ideals and party politics. Not only will his influence fail with the British people, but his influence will fall considerably even with his own people, the Indians, to the extent of failure. And with Gandhiji’s influence gone, and “communalism” coming in, civil war will follow.

This is all very sad for poor India and for Britain, too. But sadder times are still to come before the sun of the New Era of peace and prosperity dawns on the world, for such is ordained.”

Revised Lord Meher, pp. 1237-1240, copyright AMBPPCT
photo: Meher Baba, 1931
copyright Meher Nazar Publications or MSI Collection

Thursday Mentor – Free Verse by Jay Parkhe

Greed

Free verse by jay

Because I could not lead for Greed,
it did kindly lead for me.
Pause to lead, like the Greed does.

Pay attention to the selfish,
the selfishness is the most Alchoholic stinginess of all.
Does the selfishness make you shiver?
does it?

Pay attention to the stupid,
stupidity is the most brilliant mistake of all.
Stupids are impressive. stupidity is magnificent,
stupid are vivid, however.

Why would you think egotists are large?
egotists are the most little pride of all.
Are you upset by how smaller they are?
Does it tear you apart to see the egotism so least?