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Proverb Challenge: Nov ’17

Proverb Challenge: Nov ’17

Share your favorite proverbs with us all month long…


For the month of November we shall focus on the great proverb. And we are calling upon you to share your most favorite, or esoteric, or simple proverbs with our yoga community.

How to Participate: Think of or find a proverb you like. And share it with us here – or in the comment section below. It is that simple. Optional: If you wish, you may present the meaning or your thoughts on that proverb.

It is that simple – so jump right in. We are gathering all the submitted proverbs here – kind of like what we did with the Quote Challenge.

And, of course, for those who wish to investigate further on proverbs, please do read below…


More on Proverbs

Language is a big part of who we are – from land to land, people devise words and phrases based on their thought processes and life experience. And the proverb is often seen as the home of all wisdom.

Proverb: 1. a short popular saying, usually of unknown and ancient origin, that expresses effectively some commonplace truth or useful though; adage; saw. 2. a wise saying or precept; a didactic sentence.

But it is not always so easy to know the meaning of a given proverb if that situation is not part of your life experience. For instance, the last few days in class I was talking about the Hindi proverb: Under the lamp there is darkness. And to most of us this comes across as an unsolvable riddle. But for those who grew up in India it is quite straightforward. For generations, and even today in villages and small towns across India, the main source of light in India is the lantern. And if you hold a lantern then it shines light all around but not directly beneath it. Underneath the lantern it is pitch black. So then what does it mean. The proverb – Under the lamp there is darkness – refers to someone or something being very close to a particular situation but not having anything to do with it – just like how the ground beneath the lantern is very close to that light source but it does not get any of that light. An example in daily living might be the accountant who works in an environmental firm but has zero interest in environmental practices or policies. Just he comes in to do the books and then leaves – and has no connection with the environmental movement.

And then there are proverbs that have become antiquated in their expression as they are a bit insensitive to a particular community or species. One that comes to mind is: There is more than one way to skin a cat. In this particular case, the overall meaning is fine but the expression itself is a bit crude.

And then there are proverbs that hold the same meaning but are quite different in their expression. For instance, in the US we say that, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” And in India, there is a proverb, “Old bamboo does not bend.” These two proverbs both hold the same meaning but due to differing geographies, social norms, and life experiences, each community devised a vastly different way to convey the same idea.

So indeed, the world of proverbs is vast. I think you get the overall idea of this challenge. Looking forward to receiving your cherished proverb(s)…


 

5 Comments
  1. This saying comes from Albert Einstein. According to the story, in 1922, a courier delivered a message to Einstein and at the time Einstein didn’t have any money for a tip. Instead he wrote down this piece of life advice: ” A quiet and modest life brings more joy than a pursuit of succes bound with constant unrest”.

  2. How about “As you sow, so shall you reap” or “What goes around comes around.”

  3. “Write your sorrows in sand and your blessings in stone” ~ old Gaelic saying

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