The Spirit of Fair Play and Sportsmanship

Fight someone your own size I have often been asked by foreigners where they can read about the British traditions of ” fair play” and “sportsmanship”. (I call them British traditions because most foreign languages have adopted these British words; this fact shows the origin of the ideas.) It is not very easy to find books which clearly explain them. The truth is that they are learnt by children when they are very small-first from the parents, then from the little democracies of children among whom they play, and finally at school. One of the basic principles is, that every child, whether weak or strong, skilful or clumsy, older or younger (within the span of years of the group), is entitled to fair treatment. For instance, at cricket it is interesting to bat or bowl, and not so interesting to be one of the fielders. The natural tendency of the bigger boys would be to monopolize the batting and bowling, and make the smaller ones act as “fielders” most of the time. Even when a little boy does get his turn to bat, a big boy who is bowling can bowl a fast ball; naturally the little boy cannot hit …

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Adhyatma Yoga is not Escapism

“Escapism” is one of the most damning terms in use to-day. It implies the shirking of moral and physical responsibilities, the lack of courage and fortitude to face life and its complexities—often self-made—and the building up of a mental world which does not correspond to actual fact. Men abhor cowardice, and although they may themselves be cowards, they hide it as best they may, and will not telerate it in others. Escapism is a form of mental cowardice, a psychological condition subconsciously resorted to by the mind. Thus to describe a philosophy or an ideal as ‘ escapist ’ is to bring it into disrepute. It is nevertheless a term often levelled at the man who becomes a follower of Adhyatma Yoga, and moulds his life in accordance with its philosophy, through practice, without which no philosophy is of any value. Before such an accusation can be proved or disproved, it is necessary to know exactly what Adhyatma Yoga is, what it promises to its adherents and how its end is to be achieved. Adhyatma Yoga teaches that the world—the entire manifested universe-—is passing and transient, and as such is not the real and eternal Principle, without birth, change and …

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It was thought that human society was evolving from lower to higher forms

In a long period of increasing prosperity, the Victorians enjoyed the first substantial benefits of the advancements of science and saw no reason to doubt that these would: multiply ever more abundantly, until all men would share in the riches and culture of an enlightened age. The’ Darwinian theory of biological evolution, suggested by’ analogy that human society was evolving from lower to higher forms, and it seemed that man, becoming aware of this, could consciously stimulate and hasten the process. Progress was the spirit of the age and science was her handmaiden. After a century of continuous expansion in science andf industry, we are not so sure of the infallible blessings of progress and we find that science, whilst conferring many; boons, is also capable of inflicting widespread destruction. The chemist produces the lethal gases of war as well as life-saving drugs. Sub-atomic investigation yields the hydrogen bomb as well as many useful synthetic materials. Wonderful machines eliminate arduous toil and yet enslave man. The concentration of great numbers of people into industrial communities and nations creates internal and external friction which can only be eased by governmental planning and control. The champions of rival ideologies striving, perhaps with …

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