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Madness in GeniusMadness in Genius

 A  Genius lives in an imaginary and   abstract  world. He looks the world from a higher plane. But the ordinary man has a jaundiced view over the   world. He is influenced by the ‘ Golden rules and shackles”.

 Genius sees God in everything whether animate or inanimate.

 

 To the ‘pernickety’ and perfidious ordinary men, the activities of the Genius may seem to be freakish.

 

 An anecdote attributed to Lord Shiva, tells us ,   that a devotee, in his callow, immature stage ignorantly addressed our Lord  Shiva as “incomposmentis”.

 

 The Lord, at a later stage was pleased to be addressed and praised by the “devotee-ripe-man” as “mad”

 

   ” Our greatest blessings come to us by way of madness, provided the madness is given to us by gift”   Plato in  Phaedrus.

 

 “ aut  insanit homo aut verses facit” = “ Either the man is mad or he is making verses”. Horace sat II vii 117

 ” Great wits are sure to madness near allied

  And thin partitions do their bounds divide”

 

 (Dryden In Absalom and Achitophel,  first part, lines 163 to 164)

 

 “Though this be madness yet there is method in it”.

 

 (Shakespeare in Hamlet, Act II,  Scene  1 line 208)

 

 Ordinary man is susceptible to the comments, feelings and negative criticisms of others.

 

 But the Genius is apart from all these mundane botherations. What ever he thinks right

 

is right. He has no fears and he is with perfect liberty to express   himself.

 

 His opinions are wrought in his serene “metal of wisdom”.

 

 A Genius fears none but God.

 

” All power of fancy and over reason is a degree of insanity”- Samuel Johnson

 

 Genius boldly professes his findings and principles. He stands on a higher plane.

 His principles are not coloured by external conditions.

 

Among “thousand pebbles of people we may find one Genius of diamond”.

 

The  “thousand pebbles” may cast aspersion on the single diamond out of ‘ yellow eye’.

 

 A   person may almost become ‘mad’ when his heart is over whelming with emotions.

 His overflowing emotion doesn’t find a cup to fill it up except with some idiosyncratic manifestations.

 

 “His madness was not of the head, but heart”. (Byron)

 

 “My heart is   so full of joy, that I shall do some wild extravagance of love, in public;

   and  the foolish world which knows not the tenderness, will think me mad”

                ( Antony in All for love, Act II, Scene I, Lines 450 to 453)

 

   “Sanity is madness put to good uses” (Unknown)

    Here, Antony’s sanity in pure and unalloyed love towards Cleopatra.

 

 His madness of dogged pursuit of love is put to good uses.

 

 

 ” It is common calamity that we are all mad at some time or other”

 

  (Johannes Baptistan Mantuanus)

 

When Darwin observed that  man is a metamorphosis of the monkey, the world stigmatized him to be mad.

 

 Nonetheless, we today have ample proof that Darwin’s theory is true.

 

 Socrates was disdained for ‘leading astray’ the Greek Youth. The renaissance Heroes relished the  ‘manna’ of his ‘attic salt’ but Socrates’s contemporaries developed a contempt for him. Posterity praised him.

 

 If a man is called ‘ a crack’ then as a matter of fact the ‘light of wisdom enters through the ‘ crack’ in his ‘ ceiling of head’.  Therefore the term ‘ crack’ is no more a disparaging one at least here.

 

Genius is a horse of unbridled mettle, and if it goes ‘berserk’ then it may appear to be ‘mad’

 

 His deeds may be idiosyncratic, but understandably not ‘idiotic’

 

 Archimedes ran naked through the Grecian streets on finding the method of gauging the density of pure   nugget.

 

People might have thought of him what?….   of  course  you know!

 

 Another   sapient holding a lamp in the day-time and searched for ‘ a man’ in the crowd that thronged  about the market place.

 

 And now this Genius is Diogenus.

 

Genius lives in an ivory tower of imagination.

 

 The thin partition between madness and Genius is six of one thing and half a dozen of the other.

 

 In Tamil  Nadu,  South India, several hundred years ago a  King, out of over whelming

benevolence, offered his own Chariot after he had seen a  swaying,  Jasmine creeper

 

 rippling in the air without any support to creep on. He is   King  Parry.

 

 He ruled over Parambumalai, a region in Tamil Nadu as a mighty Duke, whom even emperors like Chola, Chera , Pandya could not defeat except by “ the below the belt methods”. This  Pary was a Great Philanthropist and a Great Donor.

 

 Another Smaritan King, in Tamil   Nadu, (South India)   on one winter evening, happened to see a Peacock shivering with cold,  took out his costly robe soon after his daily routine around  his kingdom, clothed the peacock with it. He is man of mega benevolence and his name is Began, who   ruled over Avinan Kudi,  and this Began belonged to the clan of Aviyars  who ruled the    region around Palani, in Tamil Nadu, South India, one of  the   six shrines of Lord Muruga.

 

In fact a peacock becomes ecstatic and dances on seeing clouds. But this was mistaken by the King Began as ” Peacock- shivering in cold”

 

 (Reference is made to give extra information about Began in the Xerox copies)

 

 So in a Genius, madness is an accumulation of adamant goal seeking, strenuous striving and stead-fast application of effort etc.

 

 A Genius may appear to others to be mad. Genius is not indeed mad but the reverse i.e ‘dam’ storing a vast quantity of the water of infinite knowledge.

 

 Diogenus was apprised of the King’s arrival when he was taking bath. An imperturbable Diogenus showed no reaction for the king’s arrival and remained cool in the bath-tub, till he finished his bathing. He kept waiting even the mighty king.

 

It may strike to the ordinary man,  that  Diogenus acted in a queer way.

 

A Genius fears none. He is a heretic. He is shaped by his own prudence and discretion.

 Once a scientist frantically pursuing his experiments day and night. He could not meet his pals nearly for a month. His friends thought that  he had died. They inserted a condolence message in a news  paper. On seeing this the scientist’s wife vessuviated (became angry) and showed the news paper to her hubby.

 

 The hubby, up to neck immersed in his experiments said to her ” I don’t have time, you attend the funeral ceremony!”.

 

The mad pursuit of the scientist is crystal clear.

 

 In  Indian legends, we find ample examples in which madness covers Genius.

 A Scholar by name ” Vasaspathy Misra” embarked on writing a book ” Pamathy”

 He lived in laborious days to write this book. His thoughts always centered   around his set mission.

 

 It took years and years for him to write the book. Somehow he accomplished his task.

 

Just then he raised his head and beheld a woman standing before him.

 

 The  Scholar asked her in his total absent mindedness  ” Dear  Lady! who are you? Thus standing before me?”

 

 Struck with wonder, the Griseldic lady replied ”  Master! Can’t you recognize me?”

 

 The Scholar again pleaded his innocence, ” No Mam!  Sorry! ”

 

Then the lady retorted  ” I am none other than your wife ! ”

 

 This kind of complete surrender to the task is rarely found in human beings.

 

“Among thousand oysters,  only in one we find rarely a pearl’.

 

Similarly in a mundane world the majority are the common folk who  will term a genius as “Mad”.

 

 The wizard of Science, T.A. Edison is an excellent addition to our contention.

 

 He paid scant respect for food. All the time  he had confined to  his experiments.  Once his factotum brought dinner and waited for a long time. As the servants’ patience was tried , (tired!) he became annoyed for having kept waiting so long. He ate all the dinner, washed the containers, vessels and laid them in place. And the servant after that got ‘even forty winks’.

 Now our Edison ” cried cupboard”  and came out of his lab. He saw the empty containers. He would say to himself  ” What a fool I am to have forgotten that I have taken dinner earlier”. Strange is it? I came here to take dinner twice!”.( dinner in American usage  denotes  main meal of the day)

 

 A Genius’s Knowledge is inordinate and his behaviour abnormal. Genius or intelligence need not necessarily be the privilege of the regular Scholars. It may be embedded in everybody.

 

A GENIUS’S WAY OF  CATCHING THE  THIEF

 Another interesting South Indian anecdote worth mentioning here.

 A man after supper, went to the backyard of his house to wash his hands and gurgle his mouth.(Traditional Hindus  don’t use either wash basins or spoons) His wife gave him water in a small mug. The man noticed a thief hiding among the trees in the garden but thought not expedient to catch  him single handed.

 

 The man asked his wife another mug of water. Then he asked another, another another and another mug of water. He went on gurgling and spitting. A wondering wife asked him reasons  for his   unusual demands.  Now as the  last straw  on the camel’s back the man spat on his wife’s face. His wife was startled and thought her husband had suddenly become “mad”. So he called aloud her neighbours for help to get her husband hospitalized. The neighbours thronged  this man’s house.

 

 Now the man (Genius) retorted   ” you have made all the hullabaloo over my one time spitting of water  on your face , but see the silent man, who is patient even after having been spat for several times.” ( Pointing to the thief hiding among the trees). There is no doubt that the thief had been caught red-handed with the assistance of the neighbours. But before that neighbours and his wife all thought him to be mad. But this is a Genius who on purpose behaved mad.

“The world is too much with us” observes Wordsworth.

 

 We are living in a highly materialistic world. We scarcely pay attention for the advancement of knowledge. But a Genius is vice versa.( i.e  his main concern is to acquire knowledge)

 

 In Chaucer’s ” The Prologue to Canterbury’s Tales ” ,  The Oxford Clerk, is an Ideal Model.

 

 ” A clerk there was of Oxenford also  ….. As leene was his horse as is a rake And he has nat right fat… But he looked halwe and their- to soberly, ful thred bare was his overest courtepy. Ne was so worldly for to have office”  ( Prologue  to Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer, Lines 281 to 294)

 

 Here Chaucer depicts the Oxford Clerk as ” so unworldly”. If he is unworldly then in the world he is a square peg in a round hole.

 

 He did not howl with the wolves or did not do in Rome as the Roman’s diggings. So ‘unworldly’ here signifies that he appeared to Chaucer to be not ” compesmentis”.

 

 ” There is no pure Genius without a mixture of madness”

 

 If a man dedicates himself at the altar of knowledge then his mental balance would be more poised and tilted to the side of knowledge  sphere than to the platitudinous world with meaningless formalites stigmatized to it.

 

 ” Among thousand mads , a Sane feels bad” So whom the people mock at, may be the real wise man. But the irony is the majority of the fools, branded him to be ‘insane”

 

 The Oxford Clerk (Chaucer’s Prologue to Canterbury Tales) did not care for money or good apparels. His main and whole solicitude and care was ‘learning’. This is as much as to say that a Genius is motivated by his  own discretion and queer disposition. His light of intelligence guides him.

 He doesn’t need to follow any ordinary man. It is therefore evident that the knowledge seeking scholar need not emulate the ‘pidgins’ of the  nondescript and staggering number of secular people.

 

 Our nature poet Wordsworth and his behaviour didn’t appear to be natural to the multitudes.

 He converses, plays, confederates and even “Intercourses” with nature.

 In nature he sees everything ,  God, playmate, teacher, and what not (even love mate.).

 

 Unlike other poets, he not only “drinks” the nature to quench his physical thirst, but also the ‘Provocative Spirit” in nature which penetrates deep in to  the  soul of Wordsworth.

 

 To him the beauty of nature is a thing of joy, and in turn that joy will give him peace.

 

 ” By day of star light thus from my first dawn of Childhood didst thou intertwine. For me the passions that build up our human soul, not with the mean and “Vulgar works of man”.

 

 Here we understand that Wordsworth did not behave like a normal boy, or adult all along his life.

 His (Wordsworths’) intimacy was not so much with the humdrum, ordinary, human beings as with his ‘leman’ i.e. nature.

 

 According to the psychiatrists, if a person’s behaviour is abnormal then he may be termed as a patient suffering from mental disorder.

 

 Dare you label Wordsworth as suffering from lunacy?

 

 If a man talks to himself (barring dramatic monologues and soliloquies) he appears to be out of normal frame of human behaviour.

 We have heard about the so called ‘ vicarious sufferings’ of Jesus. Every one castigated (at least the dissident Jews)  him to be a religious traitor.

 

 If among the millions, a Samaritan is called  “traitor” it amounts to Ostracise him to be “mad”

 

  Jesuss’  forerunner   in South India, a king, not an ordinary man named ‘Sibi’ did laudable sacrifice even for a ‘midget’ bird. We can imagine his concern for grand human beings (his subjects)

 

 Thus it happened… … A king by name Sibi *  lived in South India.  On one particular day Lord Shiva   wanted to test his concern as the protector of his citizens.

 

 Lord Shiva changed himself into a  Vulture and his consort  Parvathy into a Pigeon.

 

 The Vulture chased the pigeon for it’s (vulture’s) prey, and the pigeon fell desperately at the lap of the king Sibi and asked for shelter.

 

  A sensitive Solomon – like king Sibi understood what had happened and appealed to the vulture not to devour the pigeon.

 

 The vulture yielded but on one condition that the king should compensate as much flesh from his own body as the pigeon would weigh.

 

 Accordingly, the pigeon on the pan of a suitable scale, seated and on the other side of the pan, the king  Sibi sliced and placed a chip of his own flesh, from his body.

 

 The King’s pound of flesh could not strike an even balance. The mystery bound king severed and severed for several times his own, uncomplainingly but he could not raise the pan with the pigeon.

 At last a much tried king, placed himself on the pan, when he was almost reduced to bones  and  shambles.

 

Sibi was a Chola  king,  who ruled , Thiruvarur, Guarded by Lord Shiva.

 

 

 Now only the balance got balanced. Then the pigeon, and the vulture changed in to Goddess Parvathy and Lord Shiva respectively.

 

 This indicates an exemplary king’s total surrender for the weal of every category of his subjects, be they animals or human beings.

 

 Here the king’s activities appear to be “utter odd” and for the sake of a nondescript pigeon, he need not have staked his own life. His idiosyncratic sense of judgment may seem to be out of tune.

 

 But this action proves even today that the king had supreme qualms of justice.

 

 If a scholar is called “ black horse” (idiomatical expression)  meaning some body, of his real ability , it is difficult to assess, from outer appearance. An   Indian story, once again corroborates my point of view.

 

  Once  a  tardy minister to the court explained the king the reasons behind his late arrival.

 

 The minister said, “ Your Majesty! It took a bit late to perform my usual prayer today. Hence I happened to come late to the court”

 

 The king asked , “ How is it that you prayed so long?”

 

 The minister retorted, “ I prayed and begged the Almighty to confer unto me whatever I need. Thus I prayed one after the other and that was how it got to be delayed.”

 

 The king belonged to Muslim dynasty, and the minister a Hindu, so the religious rites of the Hindu-minister are Greek to the King.

 

 The king quipped, “ If your God is merciful, potential and  mighty, he should look after you  and shower your wishes and decideratums  even before you ask him. If he doesn’t give, don’t waste time in asking everything you want in a ‘Spintext’

 

 The minister said the king “ Sire! Whatever your requirements and however pious you are, Unless you ask God for  with all your earnestness, they  won’t be given.”

 

   A proverb in Tamil says “ Azhudha pillai thane pal kudikkum” meaning “ Crying child  will only be fed”

 

 Of course Closed mouth catches no flies. It’s counterpart in the  Bible,  as was observed by Christ, tells,  “ ask unto yourself it shall be given”.

 

 The minister vowed to prove his contention.

 

 A few days passed. One day a servant came in the   evening and told the king that there was a man calling aloud “ Oh King! Oh King at random at the market place. On enquiry he replied nothing, but repeated his cry “ Oh   King!  Oh King!.

 

 The king thought, he might be a mad   man.

 

 On the second day, the king heard the same complaint from a different person. The prince now said  the King,  “ Father! Today in the market place a man hooted full throat “Oh king, Oh King and when I approached him, and offered to give his need, he did not reply but kept on calling “Oh King, Oh King!”.

 

 Now the king thought that the mad man might be regularly haunting at the market place.

 

 Much to the   wonder of the king on the third day, the king was apprised of the man in the market place, and about his regular invocation “Oh King! Oh king!”. But   this time the complainant is queen herself.

 

  Now the king awoke and began to give reins to his power of reason. He concluded that the regular ‘crier’ in the market place could not be an ordinary  ‘mad’ man.

 

 He had sent for the mad-man to be brought to his court.

 

 The mad man was nabbed and brought to the court.

 

 The king saw him. The mad man here also cried “ oh! King! Oh  King!”.

 

 The king reacted “ I am  the king very much!  Ask me any thing and I will provide, but don’t auction my name in the Bazaar!.

 

 Now the minister sheds out his  disguise speaks, “Oh King! I screamed for an ordinary mortal king like you for three days. Only after three days you offer to give my needs”.

 

 Then what about the Mighty King of kings i.e God. Think of the  number of times you must ask for your needs and wants.

 

 Now the king realized his folly in having chosen to carp at the mode of prayer of another faith i.e

that of  the genuine Hindu Minister.

 

 Here the assumed madness of the Minister (wise minister) aided him to win his point of view with the king.

 Assumed madness of the minister, his   unalloyed Genius together won him success.

 

“ All power of fancy and over reason is a degree of insanity”.. (Samuel Johnson)

 

THE MAD  SOLOMON

 We are all familiar with the “Sapient Solomon”. Once he was confronted by two women indulging in a cut throat  competition as to the possession  and  ownership  of an infant.

 

 Solomon deviced a plan to find out the real mother. He ordered his servant to cut the baby in to two and  give each a piece.

 

 At this strange judgment one may wonder  “How foolish and mad the king (Solomon) had been”.

 

 Solomon, had the fecundity to understand the language of the ants.

 

 If today Solomon comes and speaks with the ants, we may brand him to be “morbid minded”.

 

“Lovers and mad men   have such seething brains. Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend more than cool reason ever comprehends. The lunatic, the lover and the poet are of imagination all compact”.   Shakespeare.

 

 “He that loves a lass, and remove the ‘I” and  it is he”.

 

 We are all mad at least at times. A   patriot is mad when being Chauvinistic, a learned man, when pedantic, a theist when being fanatic and a poet when  pensive .  Strange behaviour is attributed to all these people.

 

Sir Issac Newton apparently behaved mad. Who else can think of the cause of a falling apple, other than the temptation of consuming it. Yet he is a Genius in Physics. When all else are solemnly praying, the prankful Galileo observed the hanging lamps, and formulated Oscillation theories.

 

 Newton should have been mad for he pondered over the  cause of a falling apple. Should he be some-body else, he would have thought of consuming the apple only.

 

 Galileo was idiosyncratic when he observed the oscillating Bascilica lamps, when all others were piously praying.

 

 Ordinary people prayed but the ‘ mad ‘ Galileo invented pendulum theories.

 

 Little   James Watt observed the kettle, instead of brewing the delicious tea. The steam engine was the ‘ brainchild’ of this ‘mad-child”

 

MAD OBSERVER

 Once an eminent scientist went through a process of experiment in a book. After that, he embarked on performing the experiment and accordingly he tried to find the result of boiling an egg for a certain length of time.

 

     He was eagerly waiting   before the stove and the vessel with boiling  water, an egg  and a stove.

 

 The time passed but no remarkable change did he observe. After a while , much to his surprise he found that he was looking at the egg, and let wrist watch boil.

 

 Who can  refute Dr. Samuel  Johnson’s genius. Johnson used freakishly to strike every lamp post with his ‘Penang lawyer ‘ ( walking stick) during his morning stroll. If at all he missed to strike a post, in the middle, he would come back and strike it. Otherwise he would be   greatly upset.

 

  The above cited examples clearly state the strange or to be otherwise “Mad” behaviour of the Geniuses in the scientific, diplomatic spheres and their madness contributed a lot to the advancement of their  respective realms.

 

 Of course, all of   us are familiar with the literary giant, Dr. Johnson. In his childhood, Johnson did not  take part in the ordinary plays of the other boys. He remained isolated. He did not swim with the tide. He chose his own mode of playing, i.e he tied himself with a rope and on the other side with a boulder of ice and  by being pulled .He would follow the sliding ice. (in the winter season).

 

 In  future times as we all know,  Johnson (who lived in an ‘ ivory tower’ )came to lime light. In his younger days, a set of pupils and fellow mates have thought him to be perverted or mentally deranged. They might not have had an inkling of what he would be in future.

 

 The omniscient “Genius   Christ” was purposely shown as preposterous.

 

 Once on the way to a certain town, a prostitute sought the blessings of Jesus. The disciples and other citizens exasperated at this profanity. They each took a stone and were about to cast on to the “call Girl”.

 

 The patient lord would say, “wait! Let him or her throw a stone and kill her, provided the thrower of the stone must not have committed even a single sin in his whole life.”.

 

 At this instruction all stopped throwing stones, and for a while tried to find out the non-sinner. They even called their lord’s statement in question.

 

 A while after, all of them realized their follies.

 

 (In one respect or other all of them are like the prostitute, if not the same, but committing sins of different nature.)

 Here the lord’s exhortation seems to be “odd” at first sight. But the Genius   behind this episode    is felt   by the people later.

 Mathew Arnold’s  “Scholar Gypsy” had one aim, one business and one desire. The ordinary pursuit    of men are alien to him. Failing in his attempt to seek fortune, he embarked on the task of accruing knowledge.

 

 His dogged pursuit of knowledge made him overlook the drudgeries and his attitude is six and half a dozen of madness.

 

 “ That the lost scholar long was seen to stray” 53*

  “ Trailing in the cool stream thy fingers wet” 75 *

 “ A leaning backwards in a pensive dream” 77 *

 

 These strange acts of The Scholar Gypsy  have an  element of madness in them.

 

 Once an old sapient man was planting a mango sapling. Seeing this the   king-on-outing asked him   was it  foolish to do so as it would be after the death of the old man the tree would yield fruit.

 

 The king thought him to be mad. The old man said “ Oh! Wise king!  We are consuming the benefits of our fore-fathers  and on our part we ought to do some good turn for our future posterity generation, hence I am doing this yeoman service. Now the king, on hearing the explanation given by the good-old man , was spell bound.

 

* pages 53,75,77are the lines appear in Mathew Arnold’s “The Scholar Gypsy”.

 

 Here to fore I furnish some incidents in which the protagonists appeared to be  talking madly but on closer scrutiny they sparkle with flashes of supreme intelligence, Genius.

 

The Crack

 There was a quick witted Governor in Tamil Nadu, South India during the 1950s. One day it so happened to him that he had to attend a public function late.

 

 As soon as he arrived the venue, apologetically, among the front row audience he heard a derisive whispering comment “ The crack at long arrived ! ”.

 

 The governor who was a  sensitive man , some how heard this.

 

 He started like this “ some one called me a crack. Yes! There are so many cracks in my head. Let the light of wisdom come through that crack on my head”.

 

 Apparently his reply was babbling in other words amounting to madness, but actually pregnant with meaning.

 

The Sophisticated Girl

 On one occasion I did chat with a girl (she was clad in ultra modern apparels, unlike most other girls who were in traditional South Indian dresses, i.e saree) and commented “ you are sophisticated ! “. She was startled and asked me “ In what sense you mean I am sophisticated?”

 

 Then  I explained that she was having to do with the ways of the  world, up to date, modern etc.

 

 After that incident I racked my mind, and referred “ Chamber “ and “Advanced learners’ Oxford Dictionaries”.

 

 The meaning found in the former, sophisticated= impure, adulterous etc, (probably the girl might have possessed the dictionary and felt picked.)

 

 In the latter dictionary ( The Advanced learners’ Oxford Dictionary) the meaning of sophisticated being “knowing the ways of the world”.

 

 (which sense, I actually intended to convey to appreciate her modern ways of dressing)

Post Graduate

 

 I asked a boy about his diggings. He responded me, that he   was a “Post Graduate” , Sophomore, “ Little go”.

 

 I corrected him that he should say, he was an under-graduate first year student. But the boy replied, “O K sir! I am a first year undergraduate student, but a correspondence student”(Post Graduate) studying in the open university.

 

Oil cake

 

 Once in   my class, a preceptor asked the meaning of oil-cake. I was ignorant of that “ cattle feed”. But some how tackled the  situation , “ Sir ! oil cake is frozen form of coconut oil (widely used in India as hair tonic) and naturally the solid block of coconut oil is “ oil cake”. The flabbergasted instructor was dumb bound on hearing this fantastic explanation.

 

A B C

  For the first time I went to a driving school. ( in India private driving school enables one to get driving licence) I said to the proprietor,  “ Do you know the ABC of a car?” . He replied negatively and said to me “ sir ! you are only a learner, then how is it possible for you to know the ABC of a car? And I am running this school for 25 years”. “How dare you have the effrontery of questioning me”?

 I said to him, “ simply tell  me ,  if you can answer me or not?  He nodded.

 

Then I simply said, “ A is accelerator, B is Brake, C is clutch. This is the ABC of a car and need to be learnt by  every learner.

 

Train Coach

 Long  ago I attended an interview for an English teacher position in school. In the(eye wash) interview  I was asked what I was doing then.  I said the interviewer “ I coach the students for the Government examinations.”

 

 The principal interrogated to test my sense of nuances. “ Well then what is the difference between train and coach?”.

 

In a jiffy I responded “ when integrated   it is “train” if detached it is  “coach”.

 

 Though I replied satisfactorily it was another matter that I could not get the job as I was without any political recommendation or that it was for the fact I could not grease the palms of those who are in charge of recruiting.

 

Hot and cold water

          A few years ago   my friend  ‘haunted’ a hotel in   Madras. At first he asked the waiter to bring either   ice -water or hot – water. This made the waiter apparently puzzled and he went away thinking in his mind that my friend might be MAD. If he were OK he would have asked cold water or if ill,   might have opted for hot-water. But  asked things   alternatively for he could not be  Ill and well at the same time.

 

 After passing a distance,     he met his fellow waiter and jibed and laughed at my friend’s strange order.

 My friend eavesdropped and   called him back.

 

 He said to the waiter “ Hello! You have laughed at my strange order. Not for nothing   I have asked so.”

 

“ Mind! Cold water is free from germs and so is hot water!”

 

         “Now I hope you realize my logic !.” On hearing his contention the waiter hung his head in shame.

 

 A Genius   appears to others as a laughing stock but to the same genre he is a Genius.

 

“ Madness put to good use is sanity”

 

 In this connection an Oriental legend may be cited here.

 

In the epic Mahabharatha, Dhrona the spiritual   Guru, was coaching his disciples the art of archery. A friend came and said Dhrona,  “whom do you consider your best disciple?”.

 

 Dhrona wanted his disciples to shoot at   one of a birds’ pair of eyes perching on a nearby tree. He said “ Dear Disciples! Tell me what do you see there?”(  He  pointed to the bird on the branch. Originally he wanted them to shoot any one of the birds’ eyes.)

 

 The first disciple replied, “ Sire! I see a bird sitting among the thick foliage. The bird is tiny….the branch… thick”

 

 He   asked the second  disciple the  same. He replied, “Oh my dear Guru! My brother has failed to note the un-ripen mango fruit which the pigeon consuming on  ….. and the bird being white.

 

 He asked the other, other and the other disciple-brothers. But none of them proved their total commitment to their Guru’s command.

 

 Finally Arjuna’s turn came. The Guru directed, “ Dear my blue eyed disciple! I want you to shoot at the birds’ any one of the two eyes perching on this mango tree. ( He pointed to the bird)   “ Arjuna! Tell me what do you see now? ”.

 

 Arjuna replied, “ I could see, My Guru!  Only  two dots (of course they are the pair of eyes of the bird).

 

 The Guru Dhrona was now heartily satisfied on hearing this convincing   disciple’s reply. Now the view (focus) which Arjuna could get, was a particular one and even he was mad in his  skills of archery.

 

The Boy on The Burning Deck (Moral Genius)

 Extreme right is extreme wrong. We all know the story of  “ The Boy on the Burning Deck”.

 

 “ The best thing to give your friend is your heart, to an opponent tolerance, to an enemy forgiveness, to your father, deference, to   your mother, conduct of   which she would be  proud, to every body charity”.            

                                              Anonymous

 Here, the boy was told to wait on the deck of the ship until his father would come.

 Unfortunately in the intermission the ship caught fire, and everyone tried frantically to escape. They exhorted the “Green callow”    to escape by deserting the ship and to jump into life-boats.  The boy braved the   scorching and roasting fire. He stood by his promise by remaining in the same place as was where was. Slowly the fire consumed the angelic infant.

 

Though this child appears to be mad in his pursuit of heeding his father’s orders, he is in fact a moral genius.

 

 Is not it   utter madness?

 

 Should the boy  have discretion in times of emergency?

 

 But, he is a Genius in as much as he stood adamantly by his promise. He is a Genius of morality when he follows morality even on the edge of death. (Giving deference to his father’s words) with an    iron  will.

 

“ When a true Genius appears in the world you may know him by this sign that the dunces are all in   confederacy against him”    remarked Jonathan Swift.

 

 More often than not the Genius appears in the eyes of the dunces as a fool, mad, and what not.

Superficially mad but Superb Genius

 

Aesab,   once had to carry heavy luggage, for his master along with his fellow slaves.

 

 Aesab took a bulky luggage where as   the rest of the slaves chose lighter ones. The rest of the slaves mocked at Aesab for his   having chosen heaviest of   the luggage.

 

 But Aesab carried silently. After some time, Aesab unfolded the luggage and inside was foodstuff. He distributed the food. Of course he  carried the luggage, containing food. The baggage was now lighter. They would have to   take food for second time, third time  etc. The luggage would become lighter and lighter.

 

 Not for nothing Aesab   chose to carry the heavier luggage when lighter ones were available. But his fellow slaves regarded him to be mad and foolish.

 

 Thus madness or at least its   semblance is a sign of Genius. Too much of grief of emotional cluster may lead to madness. Of course too much of indulgence in the accumulation of knowledge also may lead to the stigma of madness.

 

 Odd behaviour is evident in a Genius as he thinks, acts and performs differently.

 

 Among thousand oysters we rarely find a pearl inside it (oyster). So also among thousand dunces a Genius spangles. The ordinary” pebbles” in connivance among themselves undermine the inestimable “diamond”.

 

Stones are stones but cannot become precious ones.

 

 The other day I saw a dog was excessively pampered over by his master in a limousine.

 

Seeing the gifted dog through the window, the stray and street dogs chased the limousine barking at the gifted canine. Several joined with   the chasing dog. Similarly a Genius is a Genius how so ever people branded him. Be it mad, crackpot, mental, loonybin,  or anything.

 

Genius is born to lead the mass and not to be bothered by missiles fired at him by the dunces.

 

       “If all men had thought alike and behaved alike then there would not have been civilization at all in this world”. A psychiatrist

So madness can be explained in one sense as a strange behaviour, or strange way of thinking and improved the civilization.

 

Before they were endorsed by the world, certainly, they would have been suffering by the ordinary people’s carpings.

 

“The good for the existentialist is always a positive affirmation of the self. Evil lies in following the crowd”:  Mitchel ,1972.(An Educational philosopher)

 

This means a Genius should be an eccentric   or a rebel.

 

‘To get rid of madness one must get married”.

                       And

To get married one must be free from Madness”.

                            (Tamil Proverb)

 

This Tamil Proverb tends, to mystify at cursory glance. But on closer scrutiny proves to be replete with meaning

 

It is better to have an epileptic Ceasar than a non-epileptic non-entity.

 

Mother Genius appeared “ Mad”

 

One of the “Panchchathantra Tales” in Tamil language runs like this………..

 

Once in a certain village in ancient India a lad had to go to a nearby town.

 

He started early in the morning. His  mother wishing him a happy journey.

 

She also gave him packed food and a small portable vessel, and it’s mouth covered and tied with a piece of cloth, and she asked the lad not to open on any account.

 

The Boy didn’t ask what it contained inside as he felt her mother’s command was implicit and believed whatsoever the mother did would be for his own good.

 

He started and carried the packed food along with the ”mysterious vessel”.

 

Here the readers may think the mother might be mad for she had   given an unserviceable mysterious vessel to her boy.

 

He walked and walked and after some time he   became tired and took rest under the shade of a Banyan tree in the forest. Now he took his food. (The boy placed the mysterious vessel by the side.) Invariably he fell asleep.

 

At that unfortunate moment a poisonous snake crawled near the lad.

 

     The snake was curious and some how got in to the mysterious vessel.(The cloth covering the vessel, of long journey slightly gave way but the boy did not notice and never wished to, as he intended to give deference to his “mad mothers  command”) At  the bottom of the vessel the snake was killed by crabs kept inside by his mother.

 

King, “ the moral Genius”

 Legend has it that in Tamil Nadu, long before, a prince in Thiruvarur ( Protected by Lord Thiaygaraja), rode bells  fitted chariot on the specially laid path(as it was a sport in those days.)

 

Suddenly a bull-calf bounced across and got caught in to the wheel and died.

 

The mother cow saw this and went to the palace. It summoned the king to render justice, by pulling the string attached to the bell at the entrance of the  palace, and rang the bell.

 

The king came out and was apprised of  everything happened by the people.

 

After all, The king was there to   protect his subjects irrespective of animals or human beings.

 

He as a Quid pro Quo, killed his own son by laying him on the road, and riding the chariot in the

same manner but except for the fact that it was not an accident.

 

Very much pleased with this high sense of justice Lord Shiva rejuvenated the prince.

 

The Mad Saint

In Tamil Nadu(South India) a very wealthy business tycoon lived in a littoral town.

 

Suddenly  by divine impulse one day he realized that ”after death even nondescript broken needle would not accompany man to his grave”.

 

Then  what to think of much eulogized ‘pelf’.

 

  He suddenly became a wandering monk, deserting his uncountable wealth. In later years he became a Genius in the Spiritual realm, Sang many metrical hymns in praise of Lord Shiva. He performed several marvellous feats such as burning a house (which belonged to his own malevolent sister) simply by throwing a pan cake, prepared with poison, offered by his sister.. This saint is  Pattinaththar, who lived in Pumpuhar, a littoral town .

 

Another  Mad saint.

 Once a saint visited a  village. There  a man approached him and requested the way for salvation. The saint  advised him to give a poor man a  hand ful   of rice everyday, as alms.  On the  second day  the man came  once again to the saint and  it goes without saying  that this  ‘wisacre’  said, “ Oh! Venerable saint! Yesterday as per Holiness’s advice I have given alms of  a handful of rice to a poor man,  Now! can I go to heaven?”.

 

 The saint did not reply but silently started to scratch the bark of a nearby tree with his thumbnail.

“What are you doing?” oh! My dear saint? “

 

 “ I am felling this tree”  Now this is our saint.

 

 A much  wondered disciple queried “ Swamiji! Can you fell this massive tree with your  thumbnail by  your scratching? I wonder”

 

“ When you can go  to the heaven with a handful of rice it  it also possible for me as well to uproot  the tree by my way” was the repartee. No wonder wisdom dawned on to our disciple.

 

Thirunavukkarasar

 In Tamil Nadu, a   Shiva –Bhaktha ( Devoteee of   our  Lord Shiva ) by name Thirunavukkarasar lived. He was   very mad about   our Lord Shiva and one day he was removing   the thorns and unwanted grass in  a Shiva  temple precinct( so that devotees can make round the temple without injury to their feet,) By then, he   came across some gold coins hidden among the thickets. But to our surprise he along with the thorns, threw the heap of mud and gold coins out of the compound wall of the temple.

 

 Here one may think our devotee Thirunavukkarasar is mad as he has thrown off the rare treasure….. i.e gold coins.  Really he was a nugget to our Lord Shiva.

 

 In fact this Thirunavukkarasar   is a Genius and earned the blessings of Lord Shiva in plenty.  Thirunavukkarasar composed melodious and touching devotional hymns if praise of  Lord Shiva.

 

 Conclusion

 

So far I have  elucidated that there is no pure Genius without a mixture of madness. People who behave in a questionable manner may some time be real Geniuses. We must be patient and listen to them. Because   extraordinary persons behave in extraordinary manners. We must derive maximum benefits from them. They may be Geniuses in Scientific, religious, moral  and spiritual fields. “ A budding Genius is a perennial source of nuisance”.

 

 So especially teachers must find out those Geniuses and brush them up by   encouraging the good and weeding out the bad from them.

 

 They should dissuade their students to acclimatize with the way of the world not sacrificing their fine   faculties. Bio-Graphies of Geniuses may be recommended to follow in their foot steps except where they(Protagonists) went  to ridiculous lengths.sivayanamaha

 
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