Archive for June 9, 2015

09

June

If I had a Time Machine (Pause for Thought BBC Radio 4 June)

We seem to have something of a fascination for time machines, if the success of Dr Who, Back to the Future, and numerous other such shows are anything to go by. H.G.Wells started it all off many years ago, and maybe when we do finally work out how to do it, someone could pop back and tell him how well his book, ‘The Time Machine’, is still doing.

Wells sent a man one million years into the future, but if I had a time machine I think I would rather go

04

June

Courage (Pause for Thought. BBC Radio 2. May 28)

I remember back in the sixties when the words ‘take courage’ were the ubiquitous advertising slogan for a beer of the same name. Quite a nifty publicity idea, I suppose, but a few years ago when it was resurrected in a TV campaign it was banned. The censors quite rightly concluded that encouraging us to drink beer to increase our confidence might not be the best example of social responsibility.

Courage means standing up for what we believe to be right. Intoxication, on the other hand, tends to make us blur

29

May

The greatest gift (Pause for Thought, BBC Radio 2, 21 May 2015)

When my children were small they pooled their resources one year to purchase for my birthday a fine looking tie pin in the shape of a golf bag and clubs. Actually I’ve never played golf in my life, and as far as ties go, since my schooldays when they were obligatory, I have made a point of avoiding them. Anyway, although the tiepin was of little use to me I was thrilled to receive it, as it was given with love. I still have it safely stored in my very

21

May

How to cheat death

King Ambarish had a very sinful brother who could not be changed. The pious Ambarisha tried repeatedly without success. His brother, Paparaja, would not stop sinning and simply laughed at Ambarish. One day the saint Narada Muni came to see Ambarish and the king asked him to preach to his brother. “Perhaps, O great one, you can turn his mind.”

But when Narada went to see Paparaja he simply hurled insults at him, so Narada decided to leave. As he was going he said, “Please just take this one piece of

20

May

Journeys (Pause For Thought, BBC Radio 2, May 14, 2015)

Life today is full of journeys, it seems. Most of us could hardly survive without our cars and think nothing of a fifty or sixty mile trip, a good two day walk in olden days. For many of us, there’s the daily commute which here in London where I live is less of a journey and more of a battle to the near death. Thankfully I only have to go twenty or so miles, but a lot of people nowadays have to commute as much as a hundred miles and

09

May

What is Victory (Pause for Thought BBC Radio 2 May 7th)

Over the years my idea of victory has changed somewhat. In my younger days, filled with the naïve certainty of youth, I saw myself conquering the world, acquiring vast riches, fame and all that sort of thing. That ambition has been rather tempered by reality, as it tends to be, but thankfully I no longer see world conquest as even a desirable victory.

How I see success depends of course on  my values and as a young man material achievements were high up on my list. This tends to be the

06

May

How to see God (Pause for Thought BBC Radio 2 April 30th)

In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love, as Tennyson so delightfully said. Of course nowadays, bombarded as we are with suggestive images on all sides, it might turn the way of love rather more often than just in spring.

Certainly though, spring is the season of reproduction, when nature renews herself and gives forth of her best. In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says, ‘Amongst seasons I am flower bearing spring.’ In other words this is the season when we can most easily perceive God, in

21

April

What is Love (Pause for Thought, BBC Radio 2, April 23, 2015)

I have mixed feelings about Shakespeare. Memories of my schooldays and the obligatory Hamlet studied from every angle left me with a bit of a jaded view. But since then I have grown a lot fonder of the Bard. His remarkable gifts aside, he made some astute moral and indeed spiritual observations. I am a great fan of his sonnets and particularly like the one, number 146 no less, where he describes love. There he penned the immortal line, “love is not love which alters when it alteration finds.” He

11

February

Family breakdown brings societal collapse

Exactly echoing a message found in the Bhagavad-gita, a senior judge recently declared that “almost all of society’s social ills can be traced directly to the collapse of the family life.”

In a speech in Brighton to lawyers from Resolution, formerly the Solicitors’ Family Law Association, Mr Justice Coleridge warned of a “cancerous” increase in broken families and said the government must take “comprehensive action”. He described his experience of handling increasing numbers of cases in family courts as being a “never ending carnival of human misery – a ceaseless river

11

January

Who should be free to speak?

“It is by the goodness of God that we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practise either of them,” wrote Mark Twain. Wise words from the esteemed author, although it seems many of us may doubt their wisdom; especially in the wake of the terrible events just witnessed in Paris. Freedom of speech has never been more vigorously defended by so many.

It is understandable that this particular freedom is held so dear. It stands in stark contrast to the