Literary and Spiritual Excerpts

From the Kama Sutra

Pleasures to be followed with moderation

Pleasures should not be sought for, because they are obstacles to the practice of Dharma and Artha, which are both superior to them, and are also disliked by meritorious persons.... This objection cannot be sustained, ...

The Province of History by James Garfield

Every nation is a canto, and every man a word

The world’s history is a divine poem, of which the history of every nation is a canto, and every man a word. Its strains have been pealing along down the centuries, and though there have ...

The Tree of Wisdom by Nagarjuna

Proponent of emptiness

He who undertakes work which he cannot carry out, Who vies with the multitude and disputes with the powerful, Who lets a woman know his thoughts — The four gods of death sit at his ...

Theodore Frelinghuysen — Bible salesman

"Let it find its way into every cottage"

The Bible has done it sir! Seal up this one Volume and in a half century all these hopes would wither and these prospects perish forever. These sacred temples would crumble or become the receptacles ...

Albert Schweitzer — the mystical Lutheran

"Affirmation of the world... is only possible if I devote myself to other life"

Affirmation of the world, which means affirmation of the will-to-live that manifests itself around me, is only possible if I devote myself to other life. From an inner necessity, I exert myself in producing values ...

al-Ghazzali — the most influential Muslim after Muhammad

His faith in God, the prophet, and the Last Day

Now from the sciences I had labored at, and the paths I had traveled in my investigation of the revelational and rational sciences (that is, theology and philosophy), there had come to me a sure ...

Escaped moves by King Charles by fleeing to Paris

Mary (Howard) of the Holy Cross

This is the principal service of God, there being nothing on earth which represents more perfectly the state of the blessed in Heaven, than to praise him with fervor and cheerfulness. For it is written: ...

Shakespeare of the Arabic language

al-Hariri of Basrah

Praise be to Allah, the exalted of names, the praised for His bounties, the abundant in gifts, the called upon for the rescinding of calamity; —king of the nations, restorer of rotten bones, honorer of ...

Benjamin Franklin's notion of good works

Letter to Joseph Huey

I can only show my Gratitude for those Mercies from God, by a Readiness to help his other Children and my Brethren. For I do not think that Thanks, and Compliments, tho’ repeated Weekly, can ...

Mansur al-Hallaj — Sufi mystic

Executed by Islamic authorities

I entered unannounced into Hallaj’s room one day (says Ibn Fatik); someone had been in before me. Hallaj was in prayer, and his brow pressed to the ground, he was saying: O Thou Whose closeness ...

Sitting by a Rivulet: An Image of Eternity

Ah lovely stream, how fitly may’st thou be, By thy immutability, Thy gentle motion and perennity, To us the emblem of eternity: And to us thou do’st no less A kind of omnipresence too express. ...

The Koran

Excerpts from the central religious text of Islam

“The Opening” In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate Praise be to God, the Lord of the Universe, the Merciful, the Compassionate, the Authority on Judgment Day. It is You whom we worship ...

"He doth not only prescribe the medicine...."

Edward Scarisbrick, once hunted down, then made royal chaplain

Almighty God, the great and omnipotent physician of our souls, is so passionately charitable, that he undertakes the cure himself; he visiteth in person the patient, affording him his corporeal presence in our assumed nature; ...

Immortality in the Rg Veda

Ancient Sanskrit hymn on praise and knowledge

The Man has a thousand heads, a thousand eyes, a thousand feet. He pervades the earth everywhere and extends beyond for ten fingers’ breadth. The Man himself is all this, whatever has been and whatever ...

Creation of man in the Rg Veda

Eastern tradition

And his phallus was stretched out in eagerness for the act of a man, the manly one pulled back. He drew back again from the maiden, his daughter, that tireless phallus which had been thrust ...

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