Proverbial Thursday – Global Sayings

I find there to be profound wisdom in proverbs, sayings and quotes and I marvel at the way they are so succinct in communicating messages to the reader. Mostly anonymous, they come to us from past generations and from across cultures. They speak of the experiences of lives lived and lessons learned. Quotes, like proverbs, make us think more deeply about something.

Each Thursday, I post a Proverb or Saying and a Quote that I find thought-provoking. 

I hope you will too.

This week the proverb comes from a country I have not featured previously on Proverbial Thursday:

Life is a candle before the wind – Japanese Proverb

God has no religion – Gandhi

Does the Japanese proverb ring true for you?

What do you make of Gandhi’s words?

Something Proverbial to Ponder About


26 thoughts on “Proverbial Thursday – Global Sayings”

  1. 1) Agree. Reminds me of the first part of the Serenity Prayer…

    God grant me the serenity
    to accept the things I cannot change
    courage to change the things I can
    and wisdom to know the difference

    Not knowing the difference can extinguish your flame.

    2) All religions filter the God consciousness according to their beliefs and say you cannot ‘pass’ unless you abide by their set of rules. Once, Christians were not allowed to read the Bible in case they made their own interpretations and lost their dependence on the guidance of the Church. I’m with Ghandi. We can access God directly from our hearts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Christine, and I am so glad to have you comment here again. Referring to Gandhi, I find your response really interesting. I wasn’t aware that Christians were once prevented from accessing the bible, given that it is so ubiquitously given out today. And of course, this concept of a fear of losing “grip” on followers, seems valid for those in power, as everyone will interpret words differently. (And this is part of the reason for this Thursday post of mine). I refer back also to Nietzche posted several weeks ago, wherein he said that there are no facts, only interpretations and those interpretations are a function of power rather than truth. The fear for those in control must have been very real. An individual interpretation of the scriptures could be used by those in power to suit their own agenda. This is indeed what happened many times, in history, and we are still seeing that in religious fervour and fundamentalis of today. Twisting of words to suit a radical agenda.

      Your comment on the first quote is astute as well. Life itself can be strong and burn fiercely warming the soul, and yet can also be delicate, fragile, may waver and flicker weakly in the wind or even be extinguished if one exerts all the energy fighting. If we do not have the wisdom to know when is the best time to struggle and the best time to acquiesce and accept the curve balls that life presents to us, our flame will not be strong.
      Such a succinct proverb; I am afraid my response is anything but! !!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The Scriptures known as the Bible were translated into many languages in the half century after Christ, but was later restricted to the Latin translation by Rome – the only organized Christian Church of the time. Those found having the scriptures in other languages were executed. Priests were educated in Latin and sermons were delivered in Latin, so were they were the only ones passing on knowledge … or not. Keeping the masses ignorant lasted 1000 years throughout the Dark Ages & Middle Ages. This early church also invented Purgatory and the ‘selling of indulgences’ so you could sin with impunity. Oh goodness, I have to stop there before I become irate.

        Anyway, in Britain, the faith was kept alive in secret, eventually leading to the Protestant Reformation which returned the Scriptures to the people in their own language. Bibles didn’t become widely spread in homes until the invention of the printing press.


        1. Hi again Christine. Thanks for coming back to me with more information. I am sorry that my previous comment was duplicated. You must think it was strange that I was simply repeating myself!!! LOL….
          This historical information is interesting as I was well aware of the reformation etc but not the deliberate and contrived way Rome sought to control information! It is not unlike some of the media moguls of today, do you think?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I was hoping I didn’t offend anyone with my comments. It was all very contrived, including the timing religious events to coincide with the existing Pagan ones. They often built churches on the same sacred sites as well, all the better to assimilate the population.
            The media moguls of today have lost a great deal of their power, since so many people have access to the internet and social media these days. They can no longer control the flow of information to the ordinary person. Does not stop them from trying, though!

            Digging a bit deeper on Ghandi, I discovered that I have misinterpreted the context of his quote. He supported religious pluralism.

            Another thought-provoking session. Thank you.


            1. No offence taken here at all, Christine. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.
              Contrived is the right word for some of the historical actions of the Churches. It seemed a very calculated and deliberate act to garner more followers. I was aware of this practice, in Scandinavian countries in particular. I am not sure how my forebears would have viewed it. If any of their characteristics have come down genetically to me, I ‘d say that they would have been highly sceptical of this practice!!
              I think it is great that we have access to other media sources but many people unfortunately still rely and believe mainstream information without question.

              And I can see you have been chewing over Gandhi’s words! I am happy that you found the post intriguing enough to dig deeper.
              Thanks and I look forward to discussing more with you again.

              Liked by 1 person

            2. Our forbears were in a hard place in those days. Obviously only the tough survived. The culture was so deeply ingrained that most accepted without question what the priests told them – or had the good sense to keep their opinions to themselves and turn up at church on Sundays.

              I saw a film or documentary about Ghandi decades ago and couldn’t remember much about him.

              It’s been very interesting talking to you, as usual.


            3. I agree the priests held a lot of influence and power over the congregation and public for centuries and finally, now they are viewed more as the common men, (and now women), with all their accompanying failings, that they actually are!
              I think I also remember that Gandhi film but can’t recall the name, unless it was “Gandhi!!” 😉

              Liked by 1 person

  2. Here a saying from Holland.
    “Als de berg niet tot Mohammed wil komen dan moet Mohammed naar de berg gaan.”
    English equivalent: “If the mountain will not come to Mohammed, Mohammed must go to the mountain.”
    “If you cannot get what you want, you must adapt yourself to the circumstances or adopt a different approach.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have heard this saying in English in recent years, Gerard. Interesting that its origin was Dutch, more renowned as a Christian country, albeit with muslim and mixed faith colonies. I think this saying is a good motivater for solving problems and for those who procrastinate in life. You have to get up and “make it happen” if you want it to be so. I wonder how Mohammed got mixed up with procrastinators? Do you have an idea why?


  3. I really like these two quotes this week, and here are my thoughts.

    First quote: Yes, I agree with this. When the wind blows a flame, the flame often is in a precarious position – it could extinguish and never see the light of day again the very next second. Also, it is hard to predict which way the wind will blow. Relating it to reality, life is an unpredictable journey. We never know what will come our way and sometimes we never see the curveballs coming at us. One moment we might have it all and feel on top of the world, the next moment something might happen and our world will come crashing down.

    Second quote: I am not religious in any way and believe in equality for all. But I do believe in fate and the universe has its own way of working. So in that aspect, the higher powers watch out all over us as one universe and as one world.


    1. Thanks Mabel for your input. How dynamic life is with its twists and turns. We all try to find equilibrium in life as if it were a destination rather than recognize its transient nature of something to be enjoyed when it passes over us. It is human motivation to try to control untetherable natural forces and find some higher explanation for that which we don’t understand ir comprehend.
      I think Gandhi’s quote is interesting because it speaks of the commonality of purpose of most if not all religions, to find a reason for life and a belief that there is a guiding force in control. be at one with the supreme force or being. So often there is debate, conflict and sorrow in finding the differences rather than the similarities between the individual faiths and the immense pain this has caused to mankind, through history, is gargantuan. It is this that alienates me most about religion. Furthermore, I have had too much scientific training to believe in anything mystical that has no basis in hard evidence. And I intensely dislike the hypocrisy that hides under a cloak of religion. Fate and natural forces seem more real and deserving of our admiration and respect to my way of thinking. Gandhi succeeded in bringing together opposing ideas and religions, in peaceful ways, a profound concept which is sorely needed today. Do you think this is what Gandhi meant?
      After all, we are all people on this finite ball called earth, therefore we are all part of one huge community.


      1. Such a great elaboration on Gandhi’s quote, Amanda. I like how you say, “it speaks of the commonality of purpose of most if not all religions, to find a reason for life and a belief that there is a guiding force in control.” No matter what we believe in, I think we all certainly want to feel a sense of control and a sense of purpose – ultimately we all want to find happiness and peace.

        Differences vs. similarities. Yes. I think if we can focus and bond over on our similarities, then we build a solid foundation of a relationship. It is then we can probably come together and appreciate, respect differences and learn about each other’s stories. I might be going off on a tangent here, I don’t know….


        1. I can see you totally got what I was on about in regard to Gandhi!! Thanks for the compliment.
          Re your second point: No – absolutely no tangent there, Mabel. Your response is most relevant to the discussion. In the same way that you and I have formed a kind of bond in deconstructing and analysing words, on Thursdays, people of similar ilk and different faith may find similarities in life. Yet, if you and I met each other in another venue, time and place, we may not find such common ground between us. The context seems also to be necessary for people to find commonality and therefore, similarities, and following from that, a type of bond. But many people are not open to this sort of possibilities nor do they make an effort to find the commonalities.
          They maintain they are “right” – all of the time, and they achieve this at the expense of their relationships with others. I guess this has to do with feelings of fear and insecurity and indiviudal personality styles. As we have discussed before, it is difficult to open up to a complete stranger, it takes time to develop trust and know where each other stands. Similarly, world cultures and religions would be better placed if they gave each other time to trust and time to bond….. it is a slow process and the world is often impatient! Why does history not work this out?

          Liked by 1 person

  4. The first quote reminds me of the the uncertainties of life. No matter how much we plan or how strong our resolve to follow a certain path, those things can change so easily by an unanticipated event, encounter, or whatever. We can so easily be blown off what would have been our natural path.
    The second quote is one I truly believe in. Without going too deeply into my religious beliefs, I do believe that God embraces all people and is simply not the God of one group. This is particularly relevant in Britain today, as we are such a multi-cultural nation, with people’s of various religions. I remember a very wise Sikh expressing his views on ”One God’ for all when I visited a Sikh temple in Leicester with a group of Year 9 students. I was surprised and impressed by his wisdom.


    1. Hi Millie,
      I just posted a comment to Mabel echoing the sentiment in your response to the second quote. It would be a better world if we only looked for similarities with others rather than differences that are something to be judged, denigrated, feared or eliminiated. Especially in terms of faith.
      Life is a totally unreliable thing!!
      Nothing is more precarious, fleeting, treacherous, unpredictable, unreliable, nor fragile than life itself. We seek to understand these forces of life and nature and everything in it as though this will help us control it all somehow. And on those occasions when we do sometimes achieve control, then there is another hithertoo unforeseen event or problem or consequence that again threatens the stability. Basically we spend our lives solving problem after problem. But it is also the spice that makes us cherish each moment or should!!
      It is easy to take a good 3 score years and ten for granted and modern medicine in the developed world helps us achieve that for many, yet it is still an illusion of control of the flame, would you say?


      1. I couldn’t agree more with you regarding the unpredictable nature of life. You’ve expressed it all so well. I also agree with your summary regarding man’s continuous efforts to gain control of that flame – probably something we will never achieve, despite our advances in science and medicine. Gaining control of the elements and the most damaging of natural hazards will probably never be possible, for a start. (I say ‘probably’ because I haven’t got a crystal ball enabling me to see into the future!) I’m sure prediction techniques will continue to improve in time, but controlling them (e.g. earthquakes!) is a different matter.
        Thank you for mentioning my response to the first quote to Mabel. I’m not a religious person, either. I’ve struggled with ‘belief’ all my life. But it always seemed to me preposterous that (if there is a god) there could be lots of them, all caring only for their own. The man in the grudwarra really strengthened that thought for me.


          1. Sorry…yes, a gurdwarra is a Sikh place of worship. (I lazily called it a temple before.) They are fascinating places and the Sikhs themselves are so hospitable to visitors. The school kids (and me!) learned a lot from our visits there.

            Liked by 1 person

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