A Calendar of Wisdom

Better to know a few things which are good and necessary than many things which are useless and mediocre.
What a great treasure can be hidden in a small, selected library! A company of the wisest and the most deserving people from all the civilized countries of the world, for thousands of years, can make the results of their studies and their wisdom available to us. The thought which they might not even reveal to their best friends is written here in clear words for us, people from another century. Yes, we should be grateful for the best books, for the best spiritual achievements in our lives.
There are too many mediocre books which exist just to entertain your mind. Therefore, read only those books which are accepted without doubt as good.
Read the best books first, otherwise you’ll find you do not have time.
The difference between real material poison and intellectual poison is that most material poison is disgusting to the taste, but intellectual poison, which takes the form of cheap newspapers or bad books, can unfortunately sometimes be attractive.
One of the worst prejudices known is held by the majority of the so-called scholars of our time, who claim that a person can live without faith.
Throughout the centuries, in every age, people have wanted to know or at least have a vague idea about the source, the beginning, and the final purpose of their existence. Religion satisfies this requirement, and makes clear those connections which unite all people as brothers, revealing to them that they have the same source of origin, the same task for their lives, and the same general final goal.
The essential meaning of every religion is to answer the question “Why do I live, and what is my attitude to the limitless world which surrounds me?” There is not a single religion, from the most sophisticated to the most primitive, which does not have as its basis the definition of this attitude of a person to the world. At the heart of all religions lies a single unifying truth. Let Persians bear their taovids, Jews wear their caps, Christians bear their cross, Muslims bear their sickle moon, but we have to remember that these are all only outer signs. The general essence of all religions is love to your neighbor, and that this is requested by Manut, Zoroaster, Buddha, Moses, Socrates, Jesus, Saint Paul, and Mohammed alike.
The life of a person without faith is the life of an animal.
Those who know the rules of true wisdom are baser than those who love them. Those who love them are baser than those who follow them.
The most important question to keep before ourselves at all times is this: Do we do the right thing? During this short period of time which we call our life, do our acts conform to the will of the force that sent us into the world? Do we do the right things?
When I am in difficult circumstances, I ask God to help me. But it is my duty to serve the Lord, and not His to serve me. As soon as I remember this, my burden becomes lighter.
We have to fulfill honestly and irreproachably the work destined for us. It does not matter whether we hope that we will become angels some day, or believe that we have originated from slugs.
Just imagine that the purpose of your life is your happiness only - then life becomes a cruel and senseless thing. You have to embrace what the wisdom of humanity, your intellect, and your heart tell you: that the meaning of life is to serve the force that sent you into the world. Then life becomes a constant joy.
Even if we don’t want to, we can’t help but feel our connection to the rest of mankind: we are connected by industry, by trade, by art, by knowledge, and most importantly, by our common mortality.
Kind people help each other even without noticing that they are doing so, and evil people act against each other on purpose.
Every person has his burden. One cannot live without the support of other people; therefore we have to support each other with consolation, advice, and mutual warnings.
All the children of Adam are members of the same body. When one member suffers, all the others suffer as well. If you are indifferent to the sufferings of others, you do not deserve to be called a man. Muslih-ud-Din Saadi
The history of mankind is the movement of humanity toward greater and greater unification.
Sometimes, the damage done by our words is obvious and sometimes it isn’t, but the damage is not any smaller or our not being able to see those people who suffer from our words.
A gunshot wound may be cured, but the wound made by a tongue never heals.
When you hear people speak about the viciousness of other people, do not share in pleasure by discussing these issues. When you hear about the bad deeds of people, do not listen to the end and try to forget what you have heard. When you hear about the virtues of other people, remember them and tell them to others.
Do listen to disputes, but be not so involved in disputes yourself.
Be afraid to destroy the unity of people by stirring bad feelings amongst them against another with your words.
It’s important to strive to do good, and even more important to strive to abstain from evil.
Abstention should be a habit in your life; it should support you in your virtues. For he who is resolute in goodness, there is nothing that he could not overcome.
Put at least half of your energy into making yourself free of empty wishes, and very soon you will see that in so doing you will receive much greater fulfillment and happiness.
After Epictetus
God tests everyone, one with wealth, another with poverty. A rich man is tested in whether he would extend an arm of support to those who need it; a poor man in whether he would bear all his sufferings without discontent and with obedience.
I will call the right groom he who can stop his rage, which goes as fast as the fastest chariot. Other people have no power; they just hold the reins.
No matter how many times you aim to achieve victory over your passions, do not give up. Every effort weakens the power of passion and makes it easier to gain victory over it.