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The Aura of Sanctity

  1. Bill Gates
  2. Mother Teresa
  3. Norman Borlaug

Who do you think is the most and least admirable? Steven Pinker writes

Yet a deeper look might lead you to rethink your answers. Borlaug, father of the “Green Revolution” that used agricultural science to reduce world hunger, has been credited with saving a billion lives, more than anyone else in history. Gates, in deciding what to do with his fortune, crunched the numbers and determined that he could alleviate the most misery by fighting everyday scourges in the developing world like malaria, diarrhea and parasites. Mother Teresa, for her part, extolled the virtue of suffering and ran her well-financed missions accordingly: their sick patrons were offered plenty of prayer but harsh conditions, few analgesics and dangerously primitive medical care.[The Moral Instinct]

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4 Responses to The Aura of Sanctity

  1. Chandra March 6, 2008 at 12:14 pm #

    After reading Obits of Baba Amte, who died few weeks ago, I was wondering about the global fame of Mother Teresa vis-a-vis Baba Amte – both pretty much did the same thing in the same country but global recognition is vastly different. Life is more fair to white westerner perhaps…although Baba may not look at it that way.

  2. froginthewell March 7, 2008 at 7:43 am #

    This applies to neo-vEdAnta, if not the entire vEdAnta, too. People like Sri Ramakrishna, Ramana Maharshi, Nisargadatta Maharaj etc. have said so often that only realized people can actually help the world.

    That said, their statements can be looked from the point of view of karma and then viewed as consistent with the observations made in what you quoted. That will get us into freewill related problems etc.

  3. jyotsana March 10, 2008 at 1:51 pm #

    – both pretty much did the same thing in the same country but global recognition is vastly different.

    No most certainly not. Agnes Boiaxhu did nothing to cure, rehabilitate, or even treat the few 100s that were delivered at her doorstep. Even the quality of end-of-life comfort was pitiable. This would not be a problem but for a fact that she herself availed of the finest medical care money could buy – for free – spent the last 40 years of her life jet setting and speaking up for crooks and dictatorial thugs, raising obscene sums of money and salting it away. To take of Baba Amte and Agnes Boiaxhu in the same breath is to heap the vilest insult on Baba and ennoble Agnes Boiaxhu to an extent that is obscenely unjustified. Baba Amte lies far beyond the reach of mere the glitter and glamour of a Bharat Ratna or a Nobel. Before his peerless record of service, compassion, courage, and dignity awards are mere baubles and medals mere trinkets.

  4. Shahryar March 12, 2008 at 12:53 pm #

    Thank you, Jyotsana, for your illuminating comment.

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