Saturday, May 31, 2014

Principles of Right Government and the Right Administration-Some Great Confucian Thoughts!

With the right men the growth of government is rapid.

Therefore the administration of government lies in getting proper men. Such men are to be got by means of the ruler's own character. That character is to be cultivated by his treading in the ways of duty. And the treading those ways of duty is to be cultivated by the cherishing of benevolence. 

Benevolence is the characteristic element of humanity

Righteousness is the accordance of actions with what is right, and the great exercise of it is in honoring the worthy.

The sovereign (Ruler) may not neglect the cultivation of his own character. Wishing to cultivate his character, he may not neglect to serve his parents. In order to serve his parents, he may not neglect to acquire knowledge of men. In order to know men, he may not dispense with a knowledge of Heaven. 

Knowledge, magnanimity, and energy, these three, are the virtues universally binding.

Knowing how to cultivate his own character, he knows how to govern other men. Knowing how to govern other men, he knows how to govern the kingdom with all its states and families. 

All who have the government of the kingdom with its states and families have nine standard rules to follow;-viz., the cultivation of their own characters; the honoring of men of virtue and talents; affection towards their relatives; respect towards the great ministers; kind and considerate treatment of the whole body of officers; dealing with the mass of the people as children; encouraging the resort of all classes of artisans; indulgent treatment of men from a distance; and the kindly cherishing of the princes of the states. 

By the ruler's cultivation of his own character, the duties of universal obligation are set forth. By honoring men of virtue and talents, he is preserved from errors of judgment. By showing affection to his relatives, there is no grumbling nor resentment among his uncles and brethren. By respecting the great ministers, he is kept from errors in the practice of government. By kind and considerate treatment of the whole body of officers, they are led to make the most grateful return for his courtesies. By dealing with the mass of the people as his children, they are led to exhort one another to what is good. By encouraging the resort of an classes of artisans, his resources for expenditure are rendered ample. By indulgent treatment of men from a distance, they are brought to resort to him from all quarters. And by kindly cherishing the princes of the states, the whole kingdom is brought to revere him. 

Self-adjustment and purification, with careful regulation of his dress, and the not making a movement contrary to the rules of propriety this is the way for a ruler to cultivate his person. Discarding slanderers, and keeping himself from the seductions of beauty; making light of riches, and giving honor to virtue-this is the way for him to encourage men of worth and talents. Giving them places of honor and large emolument. and sharing with them in their likes and dislikes-this is the way for him to encourage his relatives to love him. Giving them numerous officers to discharge their orders and commissions:-this is the way for him to encourage the great ministers. According to them a generous confidence, and making their emoluments large:-this is the way to encourage the body of officers. Employing them only at the proper times, and making the imposts light:-this is the way to encourage the people. By daily examinations and monthly trials, and by making their rations in accordance with their labors:-this is the way to encourage the classes of artisans. To escort them on their departure and meet them on their coming; to commend the good among them, and show compassion to the incompetent:-this is the way to treat indulgently men from a distance. To restore families whose line of succession has been broken, and to revive states that have been extinguished; to reduce to order states that are in confusion, and support those which are in peril; to have fixed times for their own reception at court, and the reception of their envoys; to send them away after liberal treatment, and welcome their coming with small contributions:-this is the way to cherish the princes of the states. 

He who possesses sincerity is he who, without an effort, hits what is right, and apprehends, without the exercise of thought;-he is the sage who naturally and easily embodies the right way. He who attains to sincerity is he who chooses what is good, and firmly holds it fast. 

The superior man honors his virtuous nature, and maintains constant inquiry and study, seeking to carry it out to its breadth and greatness, so as to omit none of the more exquisite and minute points which it embraces, and to raise it to its greatest height and brilliancy, so as to pursue the course of the Mean. He cherishes his old knowledge, and is continually acquiring new. He exerts an honest, generous earnestness, in the esteem and practice of all propriety. 

When occupying a high situation he is not proud, and in a low situation he is not insubordinate. When the kingdom is well governed, he is sure by his words to rise; and when it is ill governed, he is sure by his silence to command forbearance to himself.

[Reproduced in part from "the Doctrine of the Mean" by Confucius of China. To read all the major works of Confucius other classical writers of the world, look for the 'World Classics' under the 'Read Great Books Online' at the Right panel of this blog page. Click it to open the 'Select Author' page. Look for the author name  and click to open the list of their works on the left panel of the page that opens. Click the titles to read these great works on line] 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The New HRD Minister of India and Her Declarations about Educational Qualifications: Should it be a Big Issue?

As a very ordinary citizen of India, but with some wishful thoughts on the governance and administration of the country biased with some vested interests of seeing my nation progress in all fields for the benefits of  its people like me, I had come to the conclusion that Mr Narendra Modi would be a better choice for India as its new Prime Minister . I considered this after due comparison of all other options carefully. And like any other commoner, I too became happy when my wish became fulfilled eventually a few days ago.

But Indian media keep picking up sensational news pieces to be brought in to the notice of the opinion makers among the Indian society about the new Indian PM , his ministerial colleagues and their portfolios.

The PM himself has been in the news limelight prominently for what he is or is doing or would be doing. Some news researchers have brought the educational backgrounds of the new ministers in to public attention. 

The Modi government, they informed the people, has a 5th class pass minister and a few other ministers whose educational achievements have not gone beyond the school level.

More importantly, the new HRD minister and the youngest of the cabinet, is an attractive lady with good command in the essential languages but doesn't have any formal university degrees. The Human Resources Development minister of India herself is not much educationally developed! What can you possibly expect from such a government? The media brought out the feelings of the people!

Soon this news spread and has become a hot topic of debate in India. An online news portal brought out the ' strange case' about the ministers false declarations to the Election Commission of India. The issue was raked up apparently by a leader from the outgoing UPA government resulting in a fury of hot debate both against and in favor of the new HRD minister.  

I feel the current controversy is unnecessary. So long as the Indian electoral laws do not specify any minimum educational qualification for the candidates seeking to file their nominations for getting elected as the member of the parliament (MP) or becoming a minister of the Indian Union, it is not appropriate to question the wisdom of the new PM to nominate his ministers, even if they may not be eligible for getting any employment with any governmental organizations. 

Moreover, it should be remembered that we had many such ministers even in the past and no previous governments felt it necessary to change the Representation of the Peoples' Act 1951  amending the relevant clauses accordingly.

Of course, knowledge, leadership qualities and such other skills may be of great advantage for any minister who is supposed to hold immense responsibilities on behalf of the people and for doing good to the people. But it is an erroneous idea to think that such desired skills and knowledge are possessed only by those people who have formal degree certificates. If that were so, the best political leaders would have emerged only from the bureaucrats or the technocrats. But we know that is not true at least in the present time. 

So let us not pre-judge any ministers of the government based on their formal educational qualifications. They are leaders any way and all of them have some qualities different from the common people like me.

The new government and its actions would reflect on the nation positively or negatively after some time. The new government is only a couple of days old. It has already fixed its 100-day priorities agenda.

Let us watch and hope for the best instead of making a big issue out of some minister's educational qualifications or declarations!

Friday, May 23, 2014

There are Many Desirable Things for Us to Learn from Others!

Let me share with you three incidences which show how people progress in their attitudes. We know that some nations are much more developed than many others. Nations show overall progress when more and more of their individual citizens progress in mind and body. 

My own country, India has a rich tradition, culture and civilization. However, for various reasons, this richness is not evenly distributed among the people. India remains as a developing nation, rather than a developed nation. Unless the majority of its individual citizens from its massive population reach to some desirable levels of mind capacity, it can never hope to become a nation devoid of corruption, ugliness and chaos. And that is a great challenge to every Indian. It cannot happen miraculously overnight. It would take a few generations. But even for that future possibility, each and every citizen of India need to have desire to get rid of our negative qualities. We need to learn many things from others.

Unlike the past, many new generation Indians are getting much opportunities to go abroad for studies, jobs, etc now-a-days. More and more number of Indians are seeing the world beyond their own villages, towns and cities of India. 

While they get such opportunities, many of the Indians are getting opportunities for bench-marking themselves with the so-called westerners, the Americans and the Europeans of the present times. While many get jealous of the progress of the Westerners, quite a number of them also get an opportunity for introspecting. 

With the advent of the internet and the social media, some of the Indians have courageously taken up the task of sharing their own mistakes or errors in the hope that it gives some opportunity for more people to introspect for possible corrections of attitudes and outlooks.

Now coming to the episodes which I wanted to share. The first one is one told to me by one of my colleagues a few years ago.

His son became an outstanding IIT engineer and got employed by one large Silicon-valley company in the USA. Soon, the boy also got married to a girl of similar standing working in the same place. The young couple invited my colleague to visit USA. So he went to visit his son and daughter-in-law in the USA.

On a holiday, the young couple took their visiting dad to a nearby park. They sat their enjoying their ice-creams and chocolates. Unlike the Indian parks, this US park was spotlessly clean. There were dust bins placed at few locations for the visitors to put their wastes.

Indians as a matter of habit or culture are reluctant to observe civic discipline, in general. Throwing litter any where out side their own homes is practiced even by the so-called educated Indians without any shame or sense. For many, it gives a kind of pleasure to violate the rules. If the authorities take harsh steps they resent it. If they are liberal they violate it. 

It was nothing different for my colleague as well. He knew about the American culture and civic discipline in the park where he and his children visited. Yet, he did not bother to use the dust-bins to throw the chocolate wrappers. He slowly rolled them to a ball and quietly dropped the ball to the grass. He thought no one noticed and felt relieved. 

A few minutes passed. Then our Indian group in the American park observed an old white lady approaching them from quite a distance. The lady came straight to the place they were sitting. Quietly without telling anything she took the rolled chocolate wrapper, gave a momentary stare on the Indians, proceeded to place it in a dust bin and disappeared. 

While narrating this incident to me, my colleague- a senior technocrat in a renowned Indian organization-told me that he felt ashamed and naked before the old American lady. 

The other incident was told to me by an young businessman from Mumbai. It was the time when electronic products like laptops and cameras were too desired items in India. The Indian customs authorities used to charge heavy customs duties on these products brought to India by returning Indians from abroad. 

My young businessman friend went to the US for some purpose and was about to return. He went to a US shopping mall to purchase a laptop. He selected an expensive brand and quietly made a personal request to the American salesman. He requested him to prepare a bill showing a less expensive model with a lower price. The American could not understand why such a peculiar request from this Indian customer. So he asked him the reason for this odd request. My Indian friend has to explain a bit about the tax laws of India and the advantage he would get back in India by way of reduced customs duties if he had such a bill showing a lower price.

The American retorted spontaneously: " So, dude! You want to cheat your country?"

My rich Indian felt as if naked before this ordinary American sales boy! That is what he told me.

Way back in 1988, I was member of an Indian project team entrusted with the task of designing and executing a large manufacturing facility for my employer jointly with engineers from a large East German company. As per the memorandum of understandings (MoU) the Germans were to work in our Indian office for many months while some of us would  be in their German office if need so arose for some days.

The Germans worked with us  in our office away from their families for months together. We traveled to various vendors in India together for various purposes. My German counterpart was one Mr.Sommer, a mild spoken German engineer who toiled hard to communicate in English as they had only one interpreter for the whole group. 

Though we had occasional official parties, we Indian seldom invited our German friends to our homes during the off days. Perhaps I was one exception, because I took Mr Sommer to my home for dinner once. Towards the completion of the project during the end of 1989, the Berlin wall fell. I still remember the extreme happiness our East German friends had that day. We all had our last official dinner that night as our German friends were returning back to their homes in Unified Germany next day.

In the next month or so, a few of our Indian team members ( me excluded) were to visit their office in Germany for the some final formalities. The work was almost completed at that time and the Indian team had more leisure time than work time at Germany. The Germans showed their extra ordinary hospitality to the visiting Indian team not by hosting any official dinner, but by personally inviting each one of them the respective homes of those engineers who were now in Germany but had been in India with us for several months earlier.

The Indian team members felt very bad now, even while they enjoyed the personal care and hospitality of their German counterparts. They felt ashamed because they never thought of taking care of those German friends while they were in India. And now there was hardly any opportunity for the Indians to reciprocate and repay their obligations! 

My friends after returning to India, told me how the Germans humbled them. We felt too humbled by this act and perhaps we learnt a new lesson.

While you took time to read these, I hope you could realize what I wanted to convey.

Please share your experiences of this kind with others using the comment facility below.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

How I was Banned by Organized Christians for Believing in the True Teachings of Jesus Christ!

A few months ago, my parish members invited me to preach during the mid-service. I am not a preacher and religious preaching is not my profession. Yet, most Christian denominations allow some of their ordinary parish members to preach (giving a ceremonial public speaking to the those attending the Sunday service). This way amateur members are encouraged to enhance their understanding of the scriptures and perhaps train themselves to become a kind of unpolished professionals who could lessen the work load of the professional vicar!

So, I took the challenge and prepared for my speech by carefully studying the new testament Bible, especially the biographies of Jesus Christ (commonly known as the gospels) written by four followers of Jesus a few decades after the death and resurrection of Jesus. My first speech was based on a famous statement -Blessed are the Poor in Spirit- taken from his famous sermon on the mount. The parishioners listened to their new scripture speaker attentively and many of them later spoke encouraging words to me, the way they would have done after watching their kid's first dance performance in the school auditorium. 

After all, for the majority Christians, the church is nothing but a Sunday theater of performing arts!

Now let me admit this. As I have been a book lover, I have read the Bible many times. I used to like it because it gave an opportunity to understand the ancient history and development of mankind, though specific to the particular community of the Jews. As I began to read the Bible in my own mother tongue, Malayalam, I could understand it fully. But I could not find any reason to consider it as some thing Holy as the faithfuls all over the world regard it. Since, faith is a matter of sentiments for the majority people, I never attempted to offend the faith of any one by stating my own thoughts. 

But my encounter with the religious texts of all other major religions including those from the scores of the new world faiths gave me an opportunity to have a deeper understanding of the concepts of religious faith and spiritual development. But it was only after I came across the Urantia Book and after reading it with an open mind, my faith in the existence of God got solidified beyond any doubt. The Urantia Book in fact gave me the opportunity to fill in the blanks that I had observed in the Bible. In reality I found the Urantia Book a reinforcing  and clarifying addendum to all the religious texts that we have today in this world. 

Had we not been blind with our prejudices and biases in our respective faiths as our predecessors of the past centuries, it would not have been much of a problem for us to realize the great value of the Urantia Book. At least that was what I thought initially. Since I could find the contents of the Urantia Book highly logical, truthful to an honest probe, explanatory and graceful, I naturally thought my fellow humans would also find it the same way. It was only a matter for the people to know about it. 

To my utter dismay, I found that things are not the way I thought initially. People are as prejudiced and ignorant as they used to be in the past centuries. The progress in science and technology have not made much change to their spiritual understanding levels. Material progress coupled with a little advanced understanding of science have made people too egoistic that even the born again Christians who keep preaching about the love of God and Christian fellowship would not honestly love any of their brethren , who try to point out some inconsistencies in their creeds, faiths and rituals.

This is not specific to the hundreds of denominations of Christians alone. It applies to all religions and their respective followers. 

My surprise was greater because the Christians as I have understood have been a tolerant community. Both the common Christians of any denomination and their respective clergy members appeared to be learned and accommodating to the various religious faiths and thoughts. If that were really so, the Urantia Book could not have been some thing that was too repulsive to them, even if it contained some minor inconsistencies with their traditional beliefs and concepts. If the Bible talks about one sole earth, and the Urantia Book talks about millions of such earths elsewhere in existence, it could not be taken as a big issue for any logical mind that lives in the 21st Century. If the Bible describes Jesus Christ as the only begotten son of God and the Urantia Book reinforces that with a new information which clarifies that by saying that he is the only begotten son of God for our part of the Universe containing millions of earths, it only reinforces the status of Jesus and not in any way degrade him. It is as simple as that for any one whose hearts are not hardened as that of the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt! 

So sooner I realized this hard truth. Only a few handful of people of this earth are receptive to the truths of the Urantia Book as of now. This world of 800 billion people yielded only handfuls who could accept the truths of the Urantia Book. Nothing surprising about it as the Urantia Book itself tells why it it is so.

Even my own children and family members are not receptive to it. My influence on them would not change that status. So what to talk about all others around me? Soon I realized what the authors of the Urantia Book reminded its readers who could appreciate it. The purpose of the book is not to have another faith or religion. Neither it is a sacred book in the way people traditionally consider some religious texts. But it is also an undeniable fact that the Urantia Book was given to modern mankind from non-human sources in some mysterious manner not yet discernible or explainable to most people.

So for me and for all those handfuls of Urantia Book readers around the world, the book is only a personal guide for better living regardless of their individual religious affiliations. The Urantia Book readers are not going to proselytize for making another religion based on it. The authors of the book discourage any such attempt by any one.

So, I am nobody to admonish any one for their beliefs and faiths. But I do use the world wide web to share my new thoughts and outlooks based on the knowledge and vision provided by to me by the Urantia Book. I do not compel any one to read it. I leave it to the discretion of the readers. Am I not free to express my feelings and thoughts about my findings about living a normal life in this world? At least in the 21st century that much freedom exists for all citizens of all free nations!

Now coming to my second speech in my own church. The parishioners, a couple of months later, invited me to speak and share my thoughts from the scriptures for a second time. This time the designated gospel reading during the service was from Matthew 23:1-10. The parish committee gave me the opportunity to speak because the vicar was absent on that Sunday. My speech was nothing but a reiteration of what Jesus told as written in the said passage. I just reminded the audience the situation now and then with few additional thoughts. 

Some of the listeners after the service came to me to tell their appreciation as a public speaker. But a couple of the committee members were too honest to hint me about my future status as a church speaker. The church cannot tolerate any one who is apparently anti-establishment by stressing on those scripture passages that expose the church then and now. Even the son of God is not allowed to cross the limits! Yes, they never called me for another such sermon again! Truths are indeed too hard to digest and accept! Truth speakers are yet to find a place on our earth!Jesus himself was not acceptable to the Jewish establishment of those days!

A couple of days ago, while surfing the net, I came across a website named Catholic Answers. Obviously, it was something of an official site of the Catholic Christians world wide. The site provided expert guidance to catholic Christians regarding their faiths and rituals. They also had a discussion forum where in people could ask their doubts and get clarifications from fellow forum members as well as their administrators and higher religious authorities. 

Since the site welcomed others (Christians of other denominations) also to register as their forum members, I thought of becoming a member too to understand the teachings of this largest Christian denomination in the world. There I found people asking about their doubts on various topics. The topics included doubts such as ' Was Jesus a lunatic?, Was Jesus a historic person?, Is he really the son of God?, etc., etc.

In one place I found a person asking his doubt like this: Why Jesus equated some people other than the Jews to dogs? I read through the scores of answers and opinions of the forum members. As it was a doubt even I had sometime ago (I could find an explanation with the help of the Urantia Book), I entered into the discussion giving a reference link to my blog that dealt about this very same question. 

The next day I found a few people responding to my reply. Rather than giving their opinion on the content of my blog, the majority of them found it better to express their animosity towards the Urantia Book in such a language that normally no Christians would use even towards their known enemies! There was one lady who feebly expressed a desire to know more about the meaning of the word 'celestial'. But the expressions of all the other Catholic believers were more than I had imagined. They were irrationally too hostile!

I thought for a moment. Should I confront these ardent believers of modern era, most of them from the most advanced country of our world? Or should I retreat peacefully?

But curiosity compelled me to reply to one of those ardent modern day follower of Jesus Christ. I just wrote two or three lines in the most polite manner I could imagine. The next day I got a mail from them. They had banned me for life. Reason? Proselytizing! They had blocked my account with them for ever. There was no question of any second thoughts (about continuing me on their forum to corrupt their believers and attracting them to perhaps the Urantia fraud or cult)!

I had the heartiest laugh of my life. And I am laughing even now while I type this out.

But I am not surprised, any way.

My few fellow readers of the Urantia Book from around the globe would perhaps know the reason!  

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Career Opportunities and Salaries in Post Liberalization Era in India!

India had been a country which followed the socialistic pattern of economy ever since it got independence way back in 1947 till its economy got partially Americanized some time in the Nineteen Nineties. The period before 1990's is called the pre-liberalization era and that afterwards till date could be called the confused era of liberalization.

In the pre-liberalization era of administered socialism, the salaries of all employed people in India were governed by certain limits mandated by governmental directives. No person in India was allowed to draw a salary more than what the President of India got in those days. Rs.10,000/- per month was that sacrosanct figure. In those days it was also mandatory for the government and the private sector companies to publicly announce the details of salaries that they paid to their respective employees.

All employment advertisements from the government and the private organizations routinely announced salient details of the salaries. It was easy for any one to actually know how much an employed person legitimately made as salary. What was not known to the general public was the legal income of businessmen and the illegal income of salaried people especially those employed by the governments.

One of the remarkable achievement of the government of India in the post liberalization period was the removal of the sacrosanct limit of salary for the private sector. I consider this event remarkable because this was done by the bureaucrats of India without raising much protest as their own salary remained lower and limited.

The liberalized government also allowed even loss making private company boards to fix limitless salaries for some of the key members of their own boards, a much liberal rule that allowed many small companies getting drained of their initial and working capitals too soon to become non-existential. 

Post the so-called Y2K digital confusion of year 2000, the software and IT enabled companies of India got enormous opportunities to get dollar remuneration from the USA due to the high IT-outsourcing trend that this country adopted. This enabled many Indian companies who earned their incomes from the dollar economies to pay higher salaries to their Indian employees. 

Then developed the age of private industry opportunism and favoritism in the guise of market forces. As the government did not enforce any thing with regard to the salaries of private sector employees, the initial euphoria of high salaries in private sector soon died out with the majority of private sector employees earning much less while a few of their top favorite managers earned incomes disproportionate to their real contributions. The Indian private sector has degraded as an organized system of exploited managers as many of the white collar private employees are designated as officers or managers without any collective bargaining power. Besides, the private sector pay have been becoming more and more secretive as the employees seldom realized the pay and perks of their colleagues and seniors. 

As such a few of the Indian private sector began to mimic the elite corporations of the USA and such other developed nations where salaries are determined by the educational elitism or educational branding of their managers rather than their actual worth and contribution to the company. Some board level and below board level managers got the opportunity to draw salaries unimaginable by many in the world while the majority of their employees slogged for their respective companies to keep them going without getting even a minor fraction of such high salaries. However, a good majority of Indian private sector in the manufacturing and production fields struggled hard to make income and to pay even some comfortable salaries to their employees and managers as they were all required to play in an uneven ground.

In the mean while, the government officers and those in the government got the opportunity to compare themselves with their elitist private sector companies. The consecutive pay commissions began to take some cue from the private sector average remunerations and began to fix the government officer's salaries. Since this was mostly on the basis of some average, the top government officials could not earn exorbitant salaries. However they have done many other things to compensate their so-called low salaries. Now many of them fly quite often to foreign lands, travel in chauffeur driven luxury cars, have government paid servants at home and office and have many comforts and facilities that their counterparts in private industry do not have. As they are the administrators, executors and interpreters of rules and policies, private industry big wigs often Que up to meet them which indirectly provide many benefits. 

Governments-both central and states- own many public sector companies. Some of them are large and key economic drivers and contribute significantly for the economic well being of the country. A few of such companies had been privatized in the past with the government selling of the majority stake. However, a large number still remains with government as the majority stake holder. Such companies have government nominated boards but are actually run by company officials and managers who are generally recruited by the concerned company. They are called the PSU officers and managers. The PSU officers are deemed public servants with all the responsibilities of public servants, but with hardly any defined authority. They have been a disadvantageous group with regard to their salaries and perks for the past many decades. Only in the recent past, their salary scales have become comparable to that of their counter parts in the government. However, excepting a few, the majority of them are never given any opportunity to prove their skills and professional competence. As their career advances, most of them degrade as 'frogs in the well' due to various reasons which could be a topic of research for any one interested to find the truths. However, the public sector had been the poaching ground for experienced professionals for the growing private sector initially.

As the governments could not take any decisions regarding the future of the public sector companies with regard to the question of they be privatized or not, the public sector companies of India suffered much with regard to their succession planning . As a result, there have been practically no recruitment of officers and workmen in the PSUs for the last several years. Many PSUs now have very senior officials drawing secretary level salaries waiting for their retirement in a couple of years and working too independently. They have no subordinates whatsoever under them. PSUs of yester years which used to simmer with many fold economic activities in the past with thousands of employees have closed down many of their activity centers and losing their collective experience and expertise. Many of them are just waiting to be closed down as their experienced people are getting reduced in numbers with time. When all around the world governments are trying hard to generate employment to their citizens, India with its highest unemployment levels, is undetermined about the future course of actions with regard to the huge industrial infrastructure it had created in the past in the public sector.

Now coming back to the salaries of officers and managers of India. It is difficult now to get clear idea about this. But with some research I am giving some idea about the salary and perks of officers and managers working in India in private sector, public sector and government (The salaries given are approx gross p.a) :

Category                Indian Private Sector     Indian Public Sector   Indian Central Govt 
                    
Entry Level Officer          Rs.0.2-0.6 Million      Rs.0.4-0.5 M         Rs.0.3-0.4 M    
(1-7 yrs)
Entry Level Mgt              Rs.0.5-1.5 Million          -Do-                         -Do-
(1-7 yrs)
Middle/Sr Mgt                         -Do-                 Rs.0.8-1.0 M        Rs.0.8-1.0 M
(7-12 yrs)
General Mgt                    Rs.1-5 Million            Rs.1.5-2.5 M        Rs.1.5-2.0 M
(12-25 yrs)
Top Mgt                        Rs.2.0-20 Million        Rs.2.5-3.5 M         Rs. 2.5-3.0 M
(15-35 Yrs)

The career growth in central government is smooth and steady with seniority playing the major factor. For top postings political patronage is essential. 

In the PSU's both seniority, luck and mentoring by seniors do the magic of career growth up to general management levels. Bureaucratic and political mentoring are important for CEO levels and board level postings. Salaries are a bit better for the officers and managers of large central PSUs. However, they have comparatively not much opportunities for proving their abilities. Their public image and status is also not very charming except for some top management positions.

The pay, perks and facilities of private sector officer and  management career depend on the type and size of industry coupled with the mindset of its management board or promoters. The variations are too high. While some get extremely high salaries and perks, a good majority are underpaid when compared to their work loads. The private sector job is secure only when it is doing well financially. The internal politics in some private companies are too high that people with a straight forward mind might find it too difficult to survive. Hence, most private companies have a high attrition rate. Since the government has not yet openly allowed the hire-and-fire policy, many companies resort to retrenchments in a clandestine manner. Indian private companies are yet to learn the benefits of retaining their managers! While a few managers of Indian private companies are able to get pay and perks many times more than their counter parts in the PSUs and government, there are also millions of them without ever enjoying such benefits. It is also common that the promoters appoint themselves to key positions with extremely high salaries which professional managers cannot even dream of.

Except for the civil services of the government, there is no regular intake of officers either for the Indian PSU and private sector. The recruitment in both private industry and the Indian PSUs are done with no long term vision or planning. At entry level, either they recruit in large numbers or refrain from it for years together. As a result, the career growth and experience opportunities in many private and PSU companies are not so motivating for many of their managers.

In the government, there is a periodic system called the Pay Commission to revise the salaries of the central government officers. In the Central PSU's such an arrangement may or may not be adopted. In the private sector such a thing is practically absent. Unlike the private sector, reservations play and important role for the selection and promotions in the government and PSU jobs.

Government and PSU jobs may not give much satisfaction to one's job due to many factors. High individual performance and competency may sometimes cause career shocks. However, in the private sector, individual performance and competency are mostly recognized and rewarded. 

In the overall analysis, as things stand now, private companies of good track record provide the best career options and job satisfaction. The least of it as of now could be in the PSUs.  

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Land Reforms: Some thing Most Important for India to Progress!

Some time ago, I wrote a blog article about the poor land owners' agitation in Odisha State of India against an ambitious private integrated steel plant (ISP) project promoted by the South Korean steel major POSCO with the active support of the state government. 

Post liberalization, the only state which might have implemented large scale private industrial projects in record time perhaps is Gujarat under the chief minister-ship of Shri Narendra Modi who is shortly to take the mantle of Indian government as the new Prime Minister. World renowned companies such as Reliance Industries or Adani Group  would not have become a reality without enough land to set up their large industrial manufacturing and service facilities.

Unfortunately, Asian countries such as India with their below average human development indices, have been markedly behind in effecting land reforms. This Wikipedia article gives an overview of land reforms in major continents in the recent past. 

In India, land reforms have not been in the agenda of the national government since its independence. Land reforms have been left voluntarily to the state governments. Only two states, West Bengal and Kerala, tried to do some thing regarding it during their initial years of existence. Later on, no political party got enough strength and wisdom to do some thing in this connection for the general good of all people. 

Just before its exit from power, the outgoing central government of India in 2013 enacted a law which is known as  The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013  [Get the pdf copy of the Act Here!] This law has now replaced the previous Land Acquisition Act of 1894 which has been a bone of contention between the land owners, the governments and the industry for many years in the recent years due to the manner in which the government authorities operated it. 

While the old law has given too much power to the government officials and had been considered as anti landowner,  the new law is believed to be anti industry. The new law perhaps burdens the private industry with too high costs towards land procurement. The new law apparently provides for high compensation for the land owners. However, it does not ensure future protection of a land owner who becomes landless when his land has been taken over for some industry or development project.

When a land owner's land is taken over for any project, he should not only get a fair compensation, but also get fair protection to live with dignity. All land owners whose houses have been taken over together with the land should be provided with decent housing before his property is physically taken possession by the project authority for whom the land is acquired. They should also be ensured of reasonable and steady future incomes as a compensation for disturbance of their traditional living.

On the other hand, it should also be necessary to protect the industry from incurring heavy initial costs on investment towards acquisition of land. With heavy land costs, many projects might become techno economically non-viable. On the other hand, large projects enhance overall economic activities in its vicinity. Many times it has been seen that when large projects come up and stabilize, the land costs in and around the project go up due to higher commercial opportunities.

This creates a peculiar situation of disadvantage for the people whose lands have been taken over at prevailing market rates. For example, in the rural areas of India where there is no activity other than rural agriculture, the land costs are low to the tune of say, Rs.10 per sq.ft. In the near vicinity of a large commercial project, the cost could be around Rs.200 per sq.ft or even as high as Rs.1000 per sq ft or more. 

Thus, the person whose land is acquired would feel as cheated even when he gets a price of 3 to 5 times more than the market rates due to the probability of the land prices shooting up many times more in the vicinity of any large project once the project becomes commercially operational. Such a situation often causes some people becoming reluctant to part with their land even when they are offered much higher price than the current market rates.

In the previous law, the government forcefully captured the land for any project declared as 'public interest' and paying the affected people prices as decided by them to be paid at the whims and fancies of the officials concerned. The new law is made to help the land owners, but its efficacy is yet to be seen. On the other hand many private entrepreneurs are not so happy about the new provisions of the land acquisition law.

Another problem that arises for any commercial or infrastructural project requiring land is the complex and vague rules that have emerged under the environmental protection acts and rules. Vague laws and rules give enough room for whims and fancies of some authorized persons to play havoc and unending litigation. No business man would like to land in to such complications under normal circumstances! A typical example of this type of a problem is the environmental definitions that are applied to the sloping lands of the western ghats of Kerala while similar situations in states like Himachal Pradesh are dealt with different yardsticks! Obviously, the definitions and yardsticks change from person to person!

The question is how India tackles such problems? As the PM designate Mr Narendra Modi keep telling: "Less government, more (better) governance" The idea is great, but the vast lot of people with high ambitions for getting a slot in some 'offices of profits' would not allow such a thing to happen. It can happen when people become honestly interested in doing good for the people and not for themselves!

So, land reforms in India is not difficult to be achieved, provided the people of India, high and low, are willing to keep the nation in front than their own individual priorities. 

Again the first principle to be remembered for all land acquisition is this: The individual land owner's willingness to part with his land possession is to be respected. The land owner should be treated with dignity. The government has to ensure that the land owner does not become landless and homeless when his or her land is taken over. Not only they are paid reasonably well for their lands, a portion of the land acquired should be utilized for creating a well planned and well designed housing colony for the displaced land owners. This should be in addition to the monetary remuneration paid.

All government officials involved with land acquisition should be sensitized by proper training so that they do their work efficiently in a time bound manner with out antagonizing the people. Concerned laws need to be amended if required. While laws are drafted, the government should also check the clauses with regard to their compatibility for good governance. The practice of passing laws for the sake of it should stop.

These are not difficult for any government if the people of the government are great visionaries and true leaders!

In any case, land reforms in the positive manner on an urgent manner is what India needs now for progress and development. The latter again should be for ensuring enhanced employment to the Indian youths and not for unjustified accumulation of wealth in the hands of a few.

What do you think? 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Potential of Delegation in Progress and Development!

In the beginning nothing existed but the Sole Deity.

The Sole Deity existed as a living power over an enormous non-living energy-matter concentrate.

The Living Power that prevailed over the non-living energy-matter concentrate of a unique nature had all the prerogatives and potentials of thought, creativity and personality. 

There were no universes, no galaxies, no stars and no planets.

Everything was static and there was no dynamic activity or movements. So time had no meaning. And there was no space as we now know.

This period is known as eternity about which no one knows any thing except the One that existed from eternity.

The Living Power of eternity which possessed life, thoughts, creativity and personality was God, the First Source.

During eternity, God the the First Source undertook some acts of Creation by self-division. We see self-division in single-celled animals like amoeba. 

God the Second Source and God the Third Source thus came into existence during eternity. God the First Source had thus become the Father God. God the Second Source had become the Eternal Son God.

The three together became the Trinity God. 

Further during eternity, the three singly or jointly created innumerable perfect living beings having innumerable functions and prerogatives creating the pantheon of gods or immortal celestial beings.

For them they created the enormous and magnificent eternal universe consisting of a billion of perfectly created globes which all revolved around the static matter concentrate that existed originally with the Sole Deity. But all these were still not in the form of matter and energy that we are familiar with. The eternal universe too came in to existence during the eternal period.

Time and space as we now know have not begun yet.

The eternal Trinity knew the potential of delegation in effecting creative progress and development.

Hence the Trinity God delegated the power to create material and energy from the pre-existing matter and energy of eternity (let us call it the spiritual matter and energy as I had written some time ago) to a group of divine beings who were to use another technique called the controlled evolution for this creative activity.

Thus started the process of evolution for the build up of visible energy and material from the infinite source of invisible eternal energy and matter (or the spiritual energy source). The moment this process of evolution started, time and space came into existence as we know now.

The evolutionary process of material creation began in various sites at various times there after. All such sites became vast regions of space filled with evolving matter, initially in the form of the single atom gas called Hydrogen. Living eternal beings supervised the evolutionary process and made necessary changes wherever required at appropriate intervals of millions of years.

The living eternal beings of several kinds in innumerable numbers performed various functions including long duration observations in millions of groups. Each group performed under a group leader responsible for material creation, called the Creator Son of God. The matter and space created by each group became vast galaxies containing innumerable stars, planets and other celestial objects and became a material universe of its own called a local universe. Thus an enormous conglomerate of material universes got created around the eternal universe which got divided into seven enormous regions called the seven super universes having almost same matter and energy content.

Each local universe under the leadership of the material Creator God became the domain of dynamic activity and further creations. Several orders of divine beings and materials beings then got created in each of the local universe by various creative techniques.

By evolutionary techniques planets were formed. Some planets were fine tuned as homes for the creation and further development of evolutionary material life in the form of plants and animals. Such material life sustainable planets eventually became homes of advanced life such as the humans of earth.

Human like life was a preferred material life form for the Creator God and also his eternal parents because it was a life form which could be entrusted with some of the special prerogatives that God himself had- the prerogatives of personality, thought, creativity and independent decision making, though in a much limited manner.

The planets where life could be made sustainable and where human like life could evolve and sustain have become the material worlds. There are millions of material worlds now in each of the local universes.

The Creator God and his innumerable celestial subordinates keep observing the evolutionary progress of all humans in all the material worlds.

They feel happy when human beings make positive progress in the same way when a human scientist feels when  his robot or machine performs in the desired manner.

No doubt, the Creators could have made a perfect world having perfect humans. They had done that way elsewhere. But in humans and in the worlds for the humans they have different plans.

The Creator God and his associates want humans to progress using whatever abilities, creativity and talents that they have inherited while they were born as individual material beings of their material worlds such as our earth.

The Creator God and his associates want humans to develop qualities similar to them by their own volition or desire. 

The Creator has created human beings not by any magic. The evolutionary creative process has been a group activity for billions of years. The Creators have stopped their interventions in human activities the moment humans have got the required abilities for self development and progress. The Creators have become observers and guides ever since.

The human life is intended for gaining varied experiences of material life and for willfully differentiating and adopting good from bad. Good is that which is considered as acceptable to the divine creators or God.

Human life is for experiential learning. Humans who have failed to learn and understand the essential truths by experience have achieved nothing in this life even if he or she might have succeeded in becoming a resourceful king or ruler of other humans.

One of the essential learning that humans have to experience and accept is the power of delegation or the power of sharing just as the divine beings are doing. 

God has shared himself and his power. That is how all the universe and its innumerable beings came in to existence. They all have delegated their powers and abilities in varied manner. That is how the universes have been developing and progressing.

The more you delegate or share, the more power you are likely to get. That is a universal truth. The more we share, the more our world will progress. The more you realize this fact, the more you have learnt some fundamental truth by life experience.

The opposite of delegation and sharing is greed and selfishness and the latter two qualities are disliked by God and would lead to unhappiness eventually.

Those who have learnt the beauty of delegation and sharing have learnt one of the greatest life experience and are perhaps preferred by God for taking up higher responsibilities.

The more such learned people on earth, the more our earth would progress in development!

Could you understand anything what I wrote above?

Friday, May 9, 2014

Salient Details of Jesus' First Journey to Jerusalem from Nazareth As a Boy of Twelve Years!

One of the greatest memorable events in the childhood of Jesus was his journey from his Nazareth village to Jerusalem together with his parents, Joseph and Mary. He had just completed his school education in the Synagogue school at Nazareth. He was 12 years and eight months when he traveled to Jerusalem for celebrating the Passover festival of the Jewish people.

Map of the Land of the Jewish Peoples 
during the times of Jesus. Courtsey CCEL.Org (Click to enlarge)


The Passover feast of this year fell on Saturday, April 9, A.D. 7. A considerable company of 103 people made ready to depart from Nazareth early Monday morning, April 4, for Jerusalem. 

They journeyed south toward Samaria, but on reaching Jezreel, they turned east, going around Mount Gilboa into the Jordan valley in order to avoid passing through Samaria. Joseph and his family would have enjoyed going down through Samaria by way of Jacob’s Well and Bethel, but since the Jews disliked to deal with the Samaritans, they decided to go with their neighbors by way of the Jordan valley.

The much-dreaded Archelaus (the king of Jews who wanted to destroy babe Jesus) had been deposed, and Jesus' parents now had little to fear in taking Jesus to Jerusalem. Twelve years had passed since the first Herod had sought to destroy the babe of Bethlehem, and no one would now think of associating that affair with this much unknown boy of Nazareth.

Before reaching the Jezreel junction, and as they journeyed on, very soon, on the left, they passed the ancient village of Shunem, and Jesus heard again (from his fellow travelers) about the most beautiful maiden of all Israel who once lived there and also about the wonderful works Elisha performed there. In passing by Jezreel, Jesus’ parents recounted the doings of Ahab and Jezebel and the exploits of Jehu. In passing around Mount Gilboa, they talked much about Saul, who took his life on the slopes of this mountain, King David, and the associations of this historic spot. It was an opportunity for young Jesus to learn much about the past history of his peoples while they walked through those places.

On their second day’s journey they passed by where the Jabbok, from the east, flows into the Jordan, and looking east up this river valley, they recounted the days of Gideon, when the Midianites poured into this region to overrun the land. Toward the end of the second day’s journey they camped near the base of the highest mountain overlooking the Jordan valley, Mount Sartaba, whose summit was occupied by the Alexandrian fortress where Herod had imprisoned one of his wives and buried his two strangled sons.

The third day they passed by two villages which had been recently built by Herod and noted their superior architecture and their beautiful palm gardens. By nightfall they reached Jericho, where they remained until the next morning. That evening Joseph, Mary, and Jesus walked a mile and a half to the site of the ancient Jericho, where Joshua, for whom Jesus was named, had performed his renowned exploits, according to Jewish tradition.

By the fourth and last day’s journey the road was a continuous procession of pilgrims. They now began to climb the hills leading up to Jerusalem. As they neared the top, they could look across the Jordan to the mountains beyond and south over the sluggish waters of the Dead Sea. About halfway up to Jerusalem, Jesus gained his first view of the Mount of Olives (the region to be so much a part of his subsequent life), and Joseph pointed out to him that the Holy City lay just beyond this ridge, and the lad’s heart beat fast with joyous anticipation.

On the eastern slopes of Olivet they paused for rest in the borders of a little village called Bethany. The hospitable villagers poured forth to minister to the pilgrims, and it happened that Joseph and his family had stopped near the house of one Simon, who had three children about the same age as Jesus— Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. They invited the Nazareth family in for refreshment, and a lifelong friendship sprang up between the two families. Many times afterward, in his eventful life, Jesus stopped in this home.

They moved on, soon standing on the brink of Olivet, and Jesus saw for the first time (in his memory) the Holy City, the pretentious palaces, and the inspiring temple of his heavenly Father (God). At no time in his life did Jesus ever experience such a purely human thrill as that which at this time so completely enthralled him as he stood there on this April afternoon on the Mount of Olives, enjoying in his first view of Jerusalem. And in the later years, on this same spot he stood and wept over the city which was about to reject another prophet, the last and the greatest of her heavenly teachers!

Soon Jesus' family reached Jerusalem and they moved in to a house of one of the relatives of Mary.

While all Jerusalem was astir in preparation for the Passover, Joseph found time to take his son around to visit the academy where it had been arranged for him to resume his education two years later, as soon as he reached the required age of fifteen. Joseph was truly puzzled when he observed how little interest Jesus evinced in all these carefully laid plans.

Jesus was profoundly impressed by the temple and all the associated services and other activities. For the first time since he was four years old, he was too much preoccupied with his own meditations to ask many questions. 

He did, however, ask his father several embarrassing questions (as he had on previous occasions) as to why the heavenly Father required the slaughter of so many innocent and helpless animals

And his earthly father well knew from the expression on the lad’s face that his answers and attempts at explanation were unsatisfactory to his deep-thinking and keen-reasoning son.

On the day before the Passover Sabbath, flood tides of spiritual illumination swept through the mortal mind of Jesus and filled his human heart to overflowing with affectionate pity for the spiritually blind and morally ignorant multitudes assembled for the celebration of the ancient Passover commemoration. 

This was one of the most extraordinary days that the Son of God spent in the flesh of an ordinary human being; and during the night, for the first time in his earth career, there appeared to him an assigned messenger from his heavenly headquarters who reminded him: 

The hour has come. It is time that you began to be about your Heavenly Father’s business.”

And so, even before the heavy responsibilities of the Nazareth family descended upon his youthful shoulders, there now arrived the celestial messenger to remind this lad, not quite thirteen years of age, that the hour had come to begin the resumption of the responsibilities of a universe. 

He was the Divine Creator of a large material universe which consisted of millions of planetary worlds similar or much advanced than earth. And the creator was experiencing the lowly human life as part of his own decision in accordance with the mandate of his heavenly Father. Once he experienced that life he was going to be elevated to the position of the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe that he had created and would be nurturing henceforth.

And what happened in Jerusalem on that day was the first act of a long succession of events which finally culminated in the completion of the Son of God's bestowal on earth and in a way replacing of “the (care-taker) government of a universe on his human-divine shoulders.”

From now on, the most powerful divine care taker government of his universe would wait for their Creator's  approvals proceed from the human-divine personality who moved on earth as a seemingly ordinary human boy who hardly displayed any of his divine powers to his fellow human beings!

As time passed, the mystery of the incarnation became, to all of us (celestial beings), more and more unfathomable. 

We could hardly comprehend that this lad of Nazareth was the creator of a vast universe occupied by trillions of intelligent life of various orders and types both mortals and immortals. 

Neither do we nowadays understand how the spirit of this same Creator Son and the spirit of his Divine Heavenly Father are associated with the souls of mankind. 

With the passing of time, we could see that his human mind was increasingly discerning that, while he lived his life in the flesh, in spirit on his shoulders rested the responsibility of a universe.

From this time on, Jesus became increasingly self conscious of his dual nature - his divine-human nature. 

From now on, he had to take the responsibilities of his earthly family as a human and also take the responsibilities of a vast universe as its divine Creator. The human Jesus was increasingly getting aware of his divine status. 

Whatever he wished would become a reality, but this beloved Son of God was not one who would use his power and authority the way humans or even some of his subordinate celestial beings of imperfect mind status would have wished to use with such powers!

From the Mount of Olives and from the outside, on closer inspection, the temple had been all and more than Jesus had expected; but when he once entered its sacred portals, the great disillusionment began.

But the first great shock of the day came when his mother took leave of them on her way to the women’s gallery. It had never occurred to Jesus that his mother was not to accompany him to the consecration ceremonies, and he was thoroughly indignant that she was made to suffer from such unjust discrimination. While he strongly resented this, aside from a few remarks of protest to his father, he said nothing. But he thought, and thought deeply, as his questions to the scribes and teachers a week later disclosed.

Though many of the temple rituals very touchingly impressed his sense of the beautiful and the symbolic, he was always disappointed by the explanation of the real meanings of these ceremonies which his parents would offer in answer to his many searching inquiries. Jesus simply would not accept explanations of worship and religious devotion which involved belief in the wrath of God or the anger of the Almighty.

In further discussion of these questions, after the conclusion of the temple visit, when his father became mildly insistent that he acknowledge acceptance of the orthodox Jewish beliefs, Jesus turned suddenly upon his parents and, looking appealingly into the eyes of his father, said:

“My father, it cannot be true—the Father in heaven cannot so regard his erring children on earth. The heavenly Father cannot love his children less than you love me. And I well know, no matter what unwise thing I might do, you would never pour out wrath upon me nor vent anger against me. If you, my earthly father, possess such human reflections of the Divine, how much more must the heavenly Father be filled with goodness and overflowing with mercy. I refuse to believe that my Father in heaven loves me less than my father on earth.”

When Joseph and Mary heard these words of their first-born son, they held their peace. 

And never again did they seek to change his mind about the love of God and the mercifulness of the Father in heaven.

Early next day Jesus was up and on his way to the temple. On the brow of Olivet he paused and wept over the sight his eyes beheld—a spiritually impoverished people, tradition bound and living under the surveillance of the Roman legions. 

Early forenoon found him in the temple with his mind made up to take part in the discussions. Meanwhile, Joseph and Mary also had arisen with the early dawn with the intention of retracing their steps to Jerusalem. First, they hastened to the house of their relatives, where they had lodged as a family during the Passover week, but inquiry elicited the fact that no one had seen Jesus. After searching all day and finding no trace of him, they returned to their relatives for the night.

At the second conference Jesus had made bold to ask questions, and in a very amazing way he participated in the temple discussions but always in a manner consistent with his youth. 

Sometimes his pointed questions were somewhat embarrassing to the learned teachers of the Jewish law, but he evinced such a spirit of candid fairness, coupled with an evident hunger for knowledge, that the majority of the temple teachers were disposed to treat him with every consideration. 

But when he presumed to question the justice of putting to death a drunken gentile who had wandered outside the court of the gentiles and unwittingly entered the forbidden and reputedly sacred precincts of the temple, one of the more intolerant teachers grew impatient with the lad’s implied criticisms and, glowering down upon him, asked how old he was. 

Jesus replied, “thirteen years lacking a trifle more than four months.” 

“Then,” rejoined the now irate teacher, “why are you here, since you are not of age as a son of the law?” 

And when Jesus explained that he had received consecration during the Passover, and that he was a finished student of the Nazareth schools, the teachers with one accord derisively replied, 

“We might have known; he is from Nazareth.” 

But the leader insisted that Jesus was not to be blamed if the rulers of the synagogue at Nazareth had graduated him, technically, when he was twelve instead of thirteen; and notwithstanding that several of his detractors got up and left, it was ruled that the lad might continue undisturbed as a pupil of the temple discussions.

Jesus’ third day with the scribes and teachers in the temple witnessed the gathering of many spectators who, having heard of this youth from Galilee, came to enjoy the experience of seeing a lad confuse the wise men of the law. 

Simon also came down from Bethany to see what the boy was up to. Throughout this day Joseph and Mary continued their anxious search for Jesus, even going several times into the temple but never thinking to scrutinize the several discussion groups, although they once came almost within hearing distance of his fascinating voice.

Before the day had ended, the entire attention of the chief discussion group of the temple had become focused upon the questions being asked by Jesus.

Among his many questions were:

1. What really exists in the holy of holies, behind the veil?

2. Why should mothers in Israel be segregated from the male temple worshipers?

3. If God is a father who loves his children, why all this slaughter of animals to gain divine favor—has the teaching of Moses been misunderstood?

4. Since the temple is dedicated to the worship of the Father in heaven, is it consistent to permit the presence of those who engage in secular barter and trade?

5. Is the expected Messiah to become a temporal prince to sit on the throne of David, or is he to function as the light of life in the establishment of a spiritual kingdom?

And all the day through, those who listened marveled at these questions, and none was more astonished than Simon. 

For more than four hours this Nazareth youth plied these Jewish teachers with thought-provoking and heart-searching questions. He made few comments on the remarks of his elders. He conveyed his teaching by the questions he would ask. By the deft and subtle phrasing of a question he would at one and the same time challenge their teaching and suggest his own. 

In the manner of his asking a question there was an appealing combination of sagacity and humor which endeared him even to those who more or less resented his youthfulness. He was always eminently fair and considerate in the asking of these penetrating questions.

As a youth, and later on as a man, he seemed to be utterly free from all egoistic desire to win an argument merely to experience logical triumph over his fellows, being interested supremely in just one thing: to proclaim everlasting truth and thus effect a fuller revelation of the eternal God.

After the evening meal at Bethany he again declined to join the merry circle but instead went to the garden, where he lingered long into the night, vainly endeavoring to think out some definite plan of approach to the problem of his lifework and to decide how best he might labor to reveal to his spiritually blinded countrymen a more beautiful concept of the heavenly Father and so set them free from their terrible bondage to law, ritual, ceremonial, and musty tradition.

[Reproduced in part from the celestial revelation given to humans of 20th century and later: Paper-124 and 125 of the Urantia Book. It would be a wonderful experience to all those desirous and curious of knowing more about the life and teachings of Jesus and much more regarding God, humans and the purpose of life! Click the flower on the right panel to know more!]