Thursday, March 25, 2010

Lincoln and Ram

I recently completed a version of Lincoln's biography. I could not but keep being reminded of Maryada Purushottam Ram. Like Ram, Lincoln was honest, truthful and would not do 'evil' to his opponent. Not doing evil does not mean non-violence! It means fairness, right intent and not let personal grudge color morality. It is devotion and 'belief' in truth and only truth.

Two things I would like to quote from the book, one which Lincoln said and one which a friend of his said about him:

- Lincoln said, "Here are twenty three ministers of different denominations and all of them are against me but three, and here are a great many prominent members of the churches, a very large majority of whom are against me. Mr Bateman, I am not a christian - God know I would be one - but I have clearly read the Bible and I do not so understand this book." He drew from his pocket his new testament. 'These men well know I am for freedom of the territories, freedom everywhere as far as the Constitution and laws will permit, and that my opponents are for slavery. They know this, and yet, with this book in their hands, in the light of which human bondage cannot live a moment, they are going to vote against me. I do not understand it at all."

After a long pause, he added with tears, "I know there is a God and that he hates injustice and slavery. I see the storm coming and I know his hand is in it. He has a place and work for me - and I think he had -I believe I am ready. I am nothing, but truth is everything. I know I am right because I know that liberty is right, for Christ teaches it and Christ is God. I have told them that a house divided against itself cannot stand and Christ and reason say the same; and they will find it so. Douglas does not care if slavery is voted up or down, but God cares and humanity cares and I care and with God's help I shall not fail. I may not see the end; but it will come and I shall be vindicated; and these men will find that they have not read their bibles aright."

- Noah Brooks in Harper's Monthly Junly 1865:
"Though the intellecutal man had greatly grown meantime, few persons would recognize the heart, blithesome, genial and wiry Abraham Lincoln of earlier days in the sixteenth President of the United States, with his stooping figure, dull eyes, careworn face and languid frame. The old clear laugh never came back; the even temper was some times disturbed; and charity for all was often turned into unwonted suspicion of the motives of men, whose selfishness caused him much wear of mind."

Noah Brooks said in Scribner's monthly for Feb 1878:
" There was [in 1862] over his face an expression of sadness and a faraway look in the eyes, which were utterly unlike Lincoln of other days... I confess that I was so pained that I could almost shed a tear... By and by, I knew him better, his face was often full of mirth and enjoyment, and even when he was pensive or gloomy, his features were lighted up very much as a clouded alabaster vase might be softly illuminated by a light within."

I some times feel like Lincoln, at a burden of responsibility, much lesser...

Thanks
Varun
25 March 2010

2 comments:

Abhinav said...

ohkay why "much lesser" ?

Kunal613 said...

Great post