Random Musing

This seems to be an age of extreme reactions. Perhaps the present economic conditions of recession have something to do with it. Perhaps people have lost the capacity to react with restraint. Mob violence erupts over even minor incidents- it seems that people are just waiting for a chance to react aggressively. Reasonableness or balance are not considered virtues nowadays.

I remember reading James Hilton’s”Lost Horizon” many years ago. He writes of a Tibetan Monastery located in a fictitious valley called Shangri La. Four travellers involuntarily arrive there.

Moderation is the prevalent philosophy of the lamas who reside there.
 One of them tells the protagonist, Hugh Conway, “If I were to put it into a very few words, my dear sir, I should say that our prevalent belief is in moderation. We inculcate the virtue of avoiding excess of all kinds—­even including, if you will pardon the paradox, excess of virtue itself.”

“In the valley which you have seen, and in which there are several thousand inhabitants living under the control of our order, we have found that the principle makes for a considerable degree of happiness.”

“We rule with moderate strictness, and in return we are satisfied with moderate obedience.

And another time -“The jewel has facets,” says the lama, Chang,and it is possible that many religions are moderately true.”

When Barnard, accompanying Conway, says-“I must remember that remark of yours. ‘Many religions are moderately true.’ You fellows up on the mountain must be a lot of wise guys to have thought that out. You’re right, too, I’m dead certain of it.”

But we,” responds Chang, “are only moderately certain.”

This doesn’t seem like a bad way of looking at things- and one which we could do worse than to adopt.

Thomas Paine , one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, famously said- “Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice.

In India most people- particularly in political or social life- do it the other way around, it seems.

We prefer moderation in principle, but not in temper.



  1. Nice changes you have made. The header photograph is nice…looks like it has been taken from one of Shivji's many forts.The post is thought provoking, as is is the thoughtfully practical Buddhism that the Tibetans practice.Yes, you are right. We have grasped the practice of moderation from the wrong end.


  2. What a fabulous post. I really enjoyed reading every word of it ! Not having read the book, the principle of moderation appeals to me big time.And you got it dead right about the politicians !And fabulous post indeed !And nice design changes indeed.


  3. new look to your blog is great 🙂 and I am glad that you have changed the comment window :)actually people due the desperation like to vent out their anger in someway or other… whats better than joining the mob..


  4. I like the change. And what a lovely post! Moderation key to everything but so difficult to achieve. Even the Shastras advocate a middle ground between Privrittivaad (Upbhog, for a lck of better word in English) and Nivrittivaad(renunciation. But the pendulum oscillates….rarely and for a very short time it rests in the middle path.


  5. Thought provoking post, Manju. Yes! moderation in temper would solve many of our problems but most of us are guilty of it.BTW nice template. I like the print.


  6. Vinodji– I had intended to make just a few changes in the blog, but got a bit carried away…I found the Tibetan philosophy discussed in this book quite interesting. I do not know how authentic it is, though, being written by a 'western' author.Kavi– Thank you!If you are interested, the book is available online in full- hereAnjuGandhi– Thank you!Here is an interesting site- I got the background for this blog from here.


  7. Kanagu– What you say is so true!Several friends told me they could not comment using the earlier comment window. I hope there is no problem now.Chrysalis"But the pendulum oscillates….rarely and for a very short time it rests in the middle path."– how very true!


  8. Solilo– No, I don't suppose we can manage to behave moderately all the time- we are only human!Thanks!Chowlaji– Thank you. After reading the news reports concerning politicians, we think of them at once when discussing immoderation!


  9. thanx for your visit and your comments.I just pray that if out of 25 or so who have read my post even if one learns somthing from it and changes his attitude then my writing and sharing my views is worth every thing.


  10. We have a saying in tamil: manam oru kurangu…heart is a monkey. It doesn't stay in a place always. When we are happy, we accept most of the things, whether it is good or bad. When we are unhappy, whatever we see is bad. Restlessness prevails. Your quote from 'Lost Horizon' is very very nice, Manju. I have seen the movie 2-3 times in TV. Have not read the book. I liked the movie.You handle serious topics, so easily, Manju.I too like this type of window for commenting. We need not scroll up and down for checking the original post before commenting.


  11. Vivekji– Thank you!Sandhya– The photo for the current header was taken at Matheran. I like to change the pictures often- all of them have been clicked by my son.I haven't seen the movie version of 'Lost Horizon'- I'll try to get a DVD if I can.Radha– Thank you1I hope you didn't have any problem in posting a comment, now that I've changed the comment window?


  12. You handled a serious topic nicely I read it many times. The new look in your blog is very good. As I resd from other commentators that this is poosibly a fort or a temple on a hill. Nice picture.


  13. Your summing up is right Manju, We see moderation in principles and not in temper.Thanks for reminding me of the book, 'Lost horizon' I loved reading it. We studied it in school. 🙂


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