BHASKAR JYOTI BORAH “A man without knowledge, a world without light.” -        Baltasar Gracian Without knowledge our...


“A man without knowledge, a world without light.”
-       Baltasar Gracian
Without knowledge our life is like a world without light. A person with knowledge therefore, accomplishes more. Nothing is impossible for a wise person to achieve and everything is impossible for the ignorant. We are not born perfect. But life has given us a wonderful opportunity to make ourselves perfect and to achieve surmountable heights. We waste our lives miserably not because that we don’t have dreams but because we don’t know how to transcend our dreams into reality. The gap between dreams and realities can be minimised only with the help of knowledge. We need to have strong belief system with a workable action plan to materialize our desired outcome. The foundation or infra-structure should be strong enough to uphold the super-structure – the desired outcome i.e. success. To create that belief system and working plan we need knowledge. Here in this writing I am going to share with you the knowledge that will help you to create a strong belief system and working plan which is the essential foundation of every success.

Baltasar Gracian and The Art of Worldly Wisdom:

         Baltasar Gracian y Morales, SJ (1601-1658), better known as Baltasar Gracian, was a Spanish Jesuit and baroque prose writer and philosopher. The Art of Worldly Wisdom is  a book written in 1647 by Baltasar Gracian (originally written in Spanish). It is a collection of 300 maxims, each with a commentary, on various topics giving advice and guidance on how to live fully, advance socially, and be a better person, that become popular throughout Europe. It was translated from the Spanish into English by Joseph Jacobs. [1] Here in this writing I want to share with you some of my selected maxims or aphorisms that will help you to transform your life to a higher level.
Aphorism no. 4 - “Knowledge and Courage are the elements of Greatness”:
Knowledge acquires greatness with courage. Knowledge without courage is futile. The wise can do anything, achieve anything whatever they desire. It is not because they know how to do things but they possess the courage to translate their ideas into action. We have dreams in our eyes but to manifest it into reality we need to take actions and to take actions we need the requisite courage. With only knowledge we can’t attain perfection. To attain perfection and to become an achiever we need courage. Therefore both knowledge and courage supplements each other. To quote Baltasar Gracian, “Wisdom and strength, eyes and hands.”
Aphorism no. 6 -  “A Man at his Highest Point”:
As Baltasar Gracian said, “We are not born perfect”. But we have the capacity to make ourselves perfect. Day by day we must work to transform ourselves to make us capable to achieve excellence. Our thoughts must be crystal clear, our judgment must become mature and our will must be firm to achieve goals in our life. With perfection anything worthy can be achieved. Our accomplishments should also be all round. But some people can never become complete and reach perfection; in some people there is always a want and some others accomplishes late. To quote Gracian, “Some never arrive at being complete; somewhat is always awanting: others ripen late. The complete man, wise in speech, prudent in act, is admitted to the familiar intimacy of discreet persons, is even sought for by them.”
Aphorism no. 7 – “Avoid Victories over Superiors”:
Seeking victories over superiors is a foolish idea. He says, “ All victories breed hate, and that over your superior is foolish or fatal.” Superiors will allow a man to help them but not to surpass them. Gracian quotes very nicely, “The stars teach us this finesse with happy tact; though they are his children and brilliant like him, they never rival the brilliancy of the sun.” In our day to day life we always want to establish our superiority; superiority in terms of skills, judgments, decision making or in any other aspects. Most of us want to prove the fact that there is no one in my comparison in relation to the skill or competence that is mastered. We used to find opportunities to prove that we are no less than a superior. But to prove that if we target the superiors we may invite our misfortune. It may obstruct our growth in the workplace, organisation or society. The superior may be the boss in the working place or leaders of an organisation or society; we have to keep the fact in mind not to surpass them but to help them as a guide to something they can’t find.
Aphorism no. 14 – “The Thing Itself and the Way it is done”:
How things are done, plays a significant role in affairs; substance or the thing alone is not enough. Gracian quotes, “Fine behaviour is a joy in life, and a pleasant expression helps out of a difficulty in a remarkable way.” Whereas bad manner spoils everything even reason and justice and makes difficult situations more complex to come out. Good manner adds a touch of beauty to everything; it steals affections. Good manner is the root of prosperity.
We seek happiness in life. No one in this world wants to be treated badly. But the irony is that at times we become so tempted that we don’t even bother how we hurt others by our manners. Sometimes misbehaviour to a wrong person may ruin our life. To the contrary fine behaviour has the potentialities of a joyful life and promotes growth and perfection. The ‘means’ is equally important as the ‘end’.
Aphorism no. 16 – “Knowledge and Good Intentions together ensure continuance of success”:
         Knowledge like courage should also be accompanied by good intentions. Knowledge with good intentions will become an asset and with wicked will becomes liability. Knowledge without good intentions will result in ruin.
Now-a-days knowledge is used to manipulate things. Knowledge is interpreted by people in different ways. Purity is convinced and humanity frustrated. Knowledge is used to promote gains or profits. Gracian quotes, “A fine intellect wedded to a wicked will was always an unnatural monster. A wicked will envenoms all excellences: helped by knowledge it only ruins with greater subtlety.”
Aphorism no. 24 – “Keep the Imagination under Control”:
Imagination is important for knowledge. But if the content of our imagination is not good then we may become discontented with ourselves. Whenever our imagination runs in a wrong direction we must learn to exercise control over it. A mind with controlled imagination becomes powerful but imaginations if get free wings will bewilder us from our path. Wrong imaginations are harmful. Therefore we must learn to practice control over our wrong imaginations as soon as they springs up. Sometimes we need to correct our imaginations and sometimes assist. This all is important for our happiness.
Aphorism no. 31 – “Select the Lucky and avoid the Unlucky”:
         Choose good over bad. Select lucky and avoid unlucky. Ill luck is generated by lack of good sense. Swami Vivekananda also said, “Ignorance is the root of all evils.” To select good over bad, fortune over misfortune we need to become conscious about our choices. When in doubt we must follow the precepts of the wise to win. The reverse will lead to our downfall.
We must not degrade ourselves by self-will. To upgrade ourselves consciously we need knowledge and wisdom. If we do not possess the required knowledge then we must follow the wise and the prudent. We must master the art of avoiding misfortunes. We must learn properly where to begin and where to stop. We must learn to prioritize good over bad; sense over nonsense. We must make our life a meaningful one and not waste it by inviting misfortunes.
Aphorism no. 33 – “Know how to Withdraw”:
         To say ‘no’ gracefully is an art. If we learn the art of saying no artfully, the good will and self-esteem can be preserved. To quote Gracian, “There are extraneous occupations which eat away precious time. To be occupied in what does not concern you is worse than doing nothing.” Hence we need to master the art of saying no modestly to preserve good will of people upon us. If we don’t take control over the oar, the current of illusion will carry the life boat out of our track. We should not interfere with the affairs of other people and at the same time we must not allow them to interfere in our own affairs. Therefore we have to very careful in our personal intercourse.
Aphorism no. 34 – “Know your strongest Point - your pre-eminent gift”:
What is your single most strong point? What is that area or skill that if you cultivate will surpass others?  Everyone can excel in life if they can discover their strong point. Most people ruin their life acting in violence to their natural aptitude. If we violate our natural aptitude, we can attain superiority in nothing. This is one of the most important messages to all of us. This is the greatest open secret. Many of us are getting bewildered regarding the direction in our lives to follow! But the answer is already within us and we need to find it out. List down all your strong points and find out the single one which, if you can excel will make surpassing others effortless.
Aphorism no. 49    -  “Observation and Judgment”:
A Person of observation and judgment can understand people and their inmost nature. To comprehend everything, keen observation, subtle insight and judicious inference is required. We need to develop these faculties among us. A person with these faculties rule things and things can’t rule over them.



Inspiration for Students by My Dear Students: SECRETS OF SUCCESSFUL LIVING
Inspiration for Students by My Dear Students
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