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Too soon old, too late smart.

I was told this was a Yiddish saying. It expresses to me, one of the frustrations of the material world, namely that by the time most people figure out how the world works, they are too old to really apply it. Of course they are meaning how the world works for material enjoyment, so even if you had all that knowledge, it would still be imperfect and temporary. In the next life you have to figure it out all over again.

Sometimes we hear people say if only I could be young again with my current knowledge then I could have a much better life. They give the saying, "Youth is wasted on the young." Yet I wonder if we were suddenly young, would we engage in so many activities that we now know are troublesome (even though we grew from them). Would we marry, have children, take current risks etc.? Perhaps not, which brings to mind another saying, "Ignorance is bliss". While we might disagree with this statement as a philosophy we want to practice, this idea is actually how we live birth after birth, trying to be happy in only slightly different ways, but still with a material mind and senses.

There is wisdom for devotees in most of the sayings of every culture--even modern culture. They can give us pause to consider their meaning. Truth is truth wherever we find it, though as aspiring Vaishnava devotees, we often see other meanings then were originally intended, sometimes not. Prabhupada also adopted many sayings he heard which have become part of our culture of Krishna consciousness for those who follow his line. We got the idea of "swanning" from him.

Here are a few that Prabhupada used:

"Impossible is a word in a fools dictionary". This was first said by Napoleon.

"Religion without philosophy is sentiment or sometimes fanaticism, while philosophy without religion is mental speculation." This was first said by Rabindranath Tagore, Nobel Laureate from India.

Prabhupada quotes many English, Biblical, and Bengali proverbs, and also slokas by Canakya Pandit.

If something is good, it is good whatever the source. The book called "Dialectic Spiritualism" by Prabhupada is a great example. It consists of his disciples describing their understanding of various Western philosophies . He doesn't just say they are useless if he disagrees with certain perspectives, or condemn the whole philosophy. He philosophically discusses why he disagrees, or when he sees truth he acknowledges it.

I will end by saying that the Bhagavatam's statement of the pitfalls of the blind leading the blind seems to be a universal image.