October 27, 1831
There is undoubtedly a limit to the exertions of an advocate for his client. He has a right, it is his bounden duty, to do every thing which his client might honestly do, and to do it with all the effect which any exercise of skill, talent, or knowledge of his own may be able to produce. But the advocate has no right, nor is it his duty, to do that for his client which his client in foro conscientiae has no right to do for himself; as, for a gross example, to put in evidence a forged deed or will, knowing it to be so forged. As to mere confounding of witnesses by skilful cross-examination, I own I am not disposed to be very strict. The whole thing is perfectly well understood on all hands, and it is little more in general than a sort of cudgel-playing between the counsel and the witness, in which, I speak with submission to you, I think I have seen the witness have the best of it as often as his assailant. It is of the utmost importance in the administration of justice that knowledge and intellectual power should be as far as possible equalized between the crown and the prisoner, or plaintiff and defendant. Hence especially arises the necessity for an order of advocates,—men whose duty it ought to be to know what the law allows and disallows; but whose interests should be wholly indifferent as to the persons or characters of their clients. If a certain latitude in examining witnesses is, as experience seems to have shown, a necessary mean towards the evisceration of the truth of matters of fact, I have no doubt, as a moralist, in saying, that such latitude within the bounds, now existing is justifiable. We must be content with a certain quantum in this life, especially in matters of public cognizance; the necessities of society demand it; we must not be righteous overmuch, or wise overmuch; and, as an old father says, in what vein may there not be a plethora, when the Scripture tells us that there may under circumstances be too much of virtue and of wisdom?
Still I think that, upon the whole, the advocate is placed in a position unfavourable to his moral being, and, indeed, to his intellect also, in its higher powers. Therefore I would recommend an advocate to devote a part of his leisure time to some study of the metaphysics of the mind, or metaphysics of theology; something, I mean, which shall call forth all his powers, and centre his wishes in the investigation of truth alone, without reference to a side to be supported. No studies give such a power of distinguishing as metaphysical, and in their natural and unperverted tendency they are ennobling and exalting. Some such studies are wanted to counteract the operation of legal studies and practice, which sharpen, indeed, but, like a grinding-stone, narrow whilst they sharpen.
While I’m complaining, I may as well add one more. This feature of classroom teaching is one of the most difficult to manage, and it is another aspect of this profession that I think most people don’t understand. It certainly contributes to the fast burnout of many young idealists, and maybe also to the subtle but pervasive battiness of many old, successful teachers.
Rather than explaining it myself, I’ll quote from Teachers Have It Easy: the big sacrifices and small salaries of America’s teachers (Daniel Moulthrop, Nínive Clements Calegari, Dave Eggers). The rest of the book is mostly like this excerpt: brief testimony from teachers, with chapter introductions and interstitial commentary from the editors.
Julia Normand, 65, English—Goldenview Middle School,
When I was working at a law firm as a computer-support person, my typical day amounted to coming to my desk with a cup of coffee and a roll. I’d sit down and go through messages, drinking my coffee. I’d greet my co-workers when they came in; I’d make a phone call to set up a meeting and plan my day. If I had to go to the bathroom, I just got up and went. I was in charge of my own body, my own life, and my own schedule. I had certain things to get done, and if it took longer than a day, I got paid overtime for it. It was a high-pressure job in many ways, but not in terms of having thirty people needing your attention immediately and knowing that legally, I’m required to be in the room. As a teacher, if I step out of the room to go to the bathroom and something happens, legally, I’m responsible.
It’s just such a different thing. You feel like a person when you’re working at another job, and you don’t feel like a person when you’re teaching. It feels like being a train. Somebody switches it on, and it’s moving and you had better keep running. You don’t have the option to make a personal choice like “I think I’ll put this off until tomorrow.” There are thirty people, and they need things. You go with it all day.
I guess the equivalent might be if thirty people called me at the same time to tell me their computers crashed. But that’s just impossible. The network could go down and thirty people could call, but there’d be five or six of us in the IT department who would go troubleshoot it and one person would man the phones and say to people, “This is probably what we think is happening, it’ll probably be about fifteen minutes, we’ll let you know.” You work at high speed on it, but it’s not thirty people standing over you wanting immediate attention.
Teachers are required by law to stay within their classrooms. They are responsible for anything that happens when a student is in their charge. This is a reasonable requirement, yet because there aren’t reasonable breaks in school schedules, teachers often lack the basic liberties most occupations take for granted.
Few other professionals see thirty or more clients at once, all with different needs, some of whom may be determined to work counter to your goals. The combination of these factors can be stressful, to say the least—especially when there is no possibility, for hours on end, of respite.
To set the scene: Genji is the emperor’s son, but of the wrong mother, so he’ll never be emperor himself (but he’s the coolest, best-looking guy around, so pretty much everybody loves him and wishes he could be emperor instead of his brother). His mother was his father’s favorite, and she dies while Genji is a boy, leaving the emperor distraught. He finds a much younger woman to replace her—she enters the story at 16 when Genji is 11—and Genji takes a liking to her. A very strong liking.
Her name is Fujitsubo. Her gentlewoman is Ōmyōbu. Now, some years later, Genji is about 18:
Princess Fujitsubo was not well and had withdrawn from the palace. Genji felt deep sympathy for His Majesty, whose anxious distress was evident, but he also ancitipated feverishly now, at last, a chance for himself, and he no longer went out at all. At the palace or at home he spent the daylight hours daydreaming and those after dark hounding Ōmyōbu. How Ōmyōbu brought off their meeting is impossible to say, but to poor Genji even these stolen moments with her seemed quite unreal. To Her Highness the memory of that last, most unfortunate incident was a source of enduring suffering, and she had resolved that nothing of the kind should ever happen again, yet despite her obvious consternation she remained thoughtful and kind, even while she continued to resist him with a profound dignity so far beyond the reach of any other woman that Genji could not help wondering in anguish why it was never possible to find in her the slightest flaw.
How could he have told her all he had to say? He must have wished himself where darkness never ends, but alas, the nights were short now, and their time together had yielded after all nothing but pain.
“This much we have shared, but nights when we meet again will be very rare,
and now that we live this dream, O that it might swallow me!”
he said, sobbing; to which Her Highness compassionately replied,
“People soon enough will be passing on our tale, though I let our dream
sweep me on till I forget what misfortune now is mine.”
Genji could not blame her for being in such torment, and he deeply regretted having caused it. Ōmyōbu gathered up his dress cloak and so on and brought it to him.
There, did you miss it? You can hardly be blamed if you did. But she’s pregnant on the next page! (There’s no other reference to the “most unfortunate incident,” but there is a translator’s footnote suggesting that “stolen moments” contains a verb for “seeing,” which implies sexual intimacy.)
Her highness continued to lament the misery of her lot, and meanwhile she began feeling more and more unwell, so that she could not make up her mind to go straight back to the palace, despite a stream of messengers from there urging her to do so. No, she really did not feel herself, and her silent guesses at what this might mean reduced her to despair over what was to become of her.
She rose less and less during the summer heat. By the third month her condition was obvious enough that her women noticed it, and the horror of her fate overwhelmed her. Not knowing what had actually happened, they expressed surprise that she had not yet told His Majesty. She alone understood just what the matter was. Women like Ōmyōbu or her own foster sister, Ben, who had attended her intimately when she bathed and therefore had before their eyes every clue to her condition, did not doubt that something was seriously wrong, but they could not very well discuss the matter, and Ōmyōbu was left to reflect in anguish that her mistress’s fate had struck after all. To His Majesty, Ōmyōbu presumably reported that a malevolent spirit had obscured Her Highness’s condition, so that at first it had gone unnoticed. This was at any rate what Her Highness’s own women believed. His Majesty was deeply concerned about her, and the unbroken procession of messengers from him inspired mingled dread and despair.
But no need to fear, at least so far. I’m only about 200 pages into the 1100-or-so pages of The Tale of Genji, but the little boy has been born, and though the narrator tells us he looks just exactly like Genji, the emperor and everyone else seem to think that since Genji is so damned beautiful, how could anyone else so beautiful fail to look a lot like him? The little tyke even appears to be on the road to becoming emperor himself one day.
(And this book—ostensibly written by a Japanese noblewoman about 1000 years ago—continues to be excellent and entertaining, and of everything I’ve read in the last year would be my most unreserved recommendation to any amateur lover of books.)
Original above, translation below.
संजय उवाच ।
एवमुक्त्वा ततो राजन् महायोगेश्वरो हरिः ।
दर्शयामास पार्थाय परमं रूपमैश्वरम् ॥ ९॥
अनेकदिव्याभरणं दिव्यानेकोद्यतायुधम् ॥ १०॥
दिव्यमाल्याम्बरधरं दिव्यगन्धानुलेपनम् ।
सर्वाश्चर्यमयं देवमनन्तं विश्वतोमुखम् ॥ ११॥
दिवि सूर्य सहस्रस्य भवेद्युगपदुत्थिता ।
यदि भाः सदृशी सा स्याद्भासस्तस्य महात्मनः ॥ १२॥
तत्रैकस्थं जगत्कृत्स्नम् प्रविभक्तमनेकधा ।
अपश्यद्देवदेवस्य शरीरे पण्डवस्तदा ॥ १३॥
ततः स विस्मयाविष्टो हृष्टरोमा धनंजयः ।
प्रणम्य शिरसा देवं कृताझ्जलिरभाषत ॥ १४॥
अर्जुन उवाच ।
पश्यामि देवांस्तव देव देहे सर्वांस्तथा भूतविशेषसंघान् ।
ब्रह्माणमीशं कमलासनस्थमृषींश्चसर्वानुरगांश्च दिव्यान् ॥ १५॥
अनेकबाहूदरवक्त्रनेत्रं पश्यामि त्वां सर्वतोऽनन्तरूपम् ।
नान्तं न मध्यं न पुनस्तवादिं पश्यामि विश्वेश्वर विश्वरूपम् ॥ १६॥
किरीटिनं गदिनं चक्रिणं च तेजोराशिं सर्वतो दीप्तिमन्तम् ।
पश्यामि त्वां दुर्निरीक्ष्यं समन्ताद्दीप्तानलार्कद्युतिमप्रमेयम् ॥ १७॥
त्वमक्षरं परमं वेदितव्यं त्वमस्य विश्वस्य परं निधानम् ।
त्वमव्ययः शाश्वतधर्मगोप्ता सनातनस्त्वं पुरुषो मतो मे ॥ १८॥
अनादिमध्यान्तमनन्तवीर्यं अनन्तबाहुं शशिसूर्यनेत्रम् ।
पश्यामि त्वां दीप्तहुताशवक्त्रं स्वतेजसा विश्वमिदं तपन्तम् ॥ १९॥
द्यावापृथिव्योरिदमन्तरं हि व्याप्तं त्वयैकेन दिशश्च सर्वाः ।
दृष्ट्वाद्भुतं रूपमुग्रं तवेदं लोकत्रयं प्रव्यथितं महात्मन् ॥ २०॥
Having spoken thus, the Great Yoga Lord Kṛṣna
Showed Arjuna his highest lordly form,
Many mouths and eyes, many marvelous sights,
Many divine ornaments, many divine weapons upraised,
Wearing divine garlands and garments, divine scents and oils,
A God composed of all wonders, endless, facing all directions.
In a sky of a thousand suns that have at once arisen,
Such light would be as the light of this Great One.
In the body of the God of Gods, Arjuna saw
The whole world standing there together, divided in many ways.
Then, in amazement, hair standing on end, Arjuna
Bowing his head to the god, making reverent gesture said:
“I see gods in your body, O God, and all kinds of beings come together,
Lord Brahmā in a lotus-seat, and all the seers and divine snakes,
“Many arms, bellies, mouths, eyes— I see you in all directions, endless form.
No end, no middle, no beginning of you do I see, O Lord of All, O Form of All.
“With crown, with club, with discus, a mass of splendor, shining in all directions,
I see you who are hard to see completely, shining immeasurable light as sun or fire.
“You are the imperishable, the highest to-be-known, you are the highest refuge of all,
You are unchanging protector of eternal dharma, you are the Eternal Person, I understand.
“Without beginning, middle or end, with endless power, endless arms, eyes of sun and moon,
I see you, with mouth of burning fire, lighting all this with your splendor.
“All between heaven and earth is filled by you alone, and in all directions.
Seeing this, your marvelous and awful form, the three world tremble, O Great One.”
We see that the mystery of the divine Incarnation in man, the assumption by the Godhead of the human type and the human nature, is in the view of the Gita only the other side of the eternal mystery of human birth itself which is always in its essence, though not in its phenomenal appearance, even such a miraculous assumption. The eternal and universal self of every human being is God; even his personal self is a part of the Godhead, mamaivāṃśaḥ, — not a fraction or fragment, surely, since we cannot think of God as broken up into little pieces, but a partial conciousness of the one Consciousness, a partial power of the one Power, a partial enjoyment of world-being by the one and universal Delight of being, and therefore in manifestation or, as we say, in Nature a limited and finite being of the one infinite and illimitable Being. The stamp of that limitation is an ignorance by which he forgets, not only the Godhead from which he came forth, but the Godhead which is always within him, there living in the secret heart of his own nature, there burning like a veiled Fire on the inner altar in his own temple-house of human consciousness.
He is ignorant because there is upon the eyes of his soul and all its organs the seal of that Nature, Prakriti, Maya, by which he has been put forth into manifestation out of God’s eternal being; she has minted him like a coin out of the precious metal of the divine substance, but overlaid with a strong coating of the alloy of her phenomenal qualities, stamped with her own stamp and mark of animal humanity, and although the secret sign of the Godhead is there, it is at first indistinguishable and always with difficulty decipherable, not to be really discovered except by that initiation into the mystery of our own being which distinguishes a Godward from an earthward humanity. In the Avatar, the divinely-born Man, the real substance shines through the coating; the mark of the seal is there only for form[...].
Every great man who rises above our average level, raises by that very fact our common humanity; he is a living assurance of our divine possibilities, a promise of the Godhead, a glow of the divine Light and a breath of the divine Power.
It is this truth which lies behind the natural human tendency to the deification of great minds and heroic characters; it comes out clearly enough in the Indian habit of mind which easily sees a partial (aṃśa) Avatar in great saints, teachers, founders, or most significantly in the belief of southern Vaishnavas that some of their saints were incarnations of the symbolic living weapons of Vishnu, — for that is what all great spirits are, living powers and weapons of the Divine in the upward march and battle. This idea is innate and inevitable in any mystic or spirital view of life which does not draw an inexorable line between the being and nature of the Divine and our human being and nature; it is the sense of the divine in humanity.
This doctrine is a hard saying, a difficult thing for the human reason to accept; and for an obvious reason, because of the evident humanity of the Avatar. The Avatar is always a dual phenomenon of divinity and humanity; the divine takes upon himself the human nature with all its outward limitations and makes them the circumstances, means, instruments of the divine consciousness and the divine power, a vessel of the divine birth and the divine works. But so surely it must be, since otherwise the object of the Avatar’s descent is not fulfilled; for that object is precisely to show that the human birth with all its limitations can be made such a means and instrument of the divine birth and divine works, precisely to show that the human type of consciousness can be compatible with the divine essence of consciousness made manifest, can be converted into its vessel, drawn into nearer conformity with it by a change of its mould and heightening of its powers of light and love and strength and purity; and to show also how it can be done. If the Avatar were to act in an entirely supernormal fashion, this object would not be fulfilled. A merely supernormal or miraculous Avatar would be a meaningless absurdity[....] The Avatar does not come as a thaumaturgic magician, but as the divine leader of humanity and the exemplar of a divine humanity. [...] The rationalist who would have cried to Christ, “If thou art the Son of God, come down from the cross,” or points out sagely that the Avatar was not divine because he died and died too by disease, — as a dog dieth, — knows not what he is saying: for he has missed the root of the whole matter. Even, the Avatar of sorrow and suffering must come before there can be the Avatar of divine joy; the human limitation must be assumed in order to show how it can be overcome; and the way and the extent of the overcoming, whether internal only or external also, depends upon the stage of the human advance; it must not be done by a non-human miracle.
-Sri Aurobindo, “The Process of Avatarhood,” from Essays on the Gita
It is indeed curious to note that the permanent, vital, universal effect of Buddhism and Christianity has been the force of their ethical, social and practical ideals and their influence even on the men and the ages which have rejected their religious and spiritual beliefs, forms and disciplines; later Hinduism which rejected Buddha, his sangha and his dharma, bears the ineffaceable imprint of the social and ethical influence of Buddhism and its effect on the ideas and the life of the race, while in modern Europe, Christian only in name, humanitarianism is the translation into the ethical and social sphere and the aspiration to liberty, equality and fraternity the translation into the social and political sphere of the spiritual truths of Christianity, the latter especially being effected by men who aggressively rejected the Christian religion and spiritual discipline and by an age which in its intellectual effort of emancipation tried to get rid of Christianity as a creed. On the other hand the life of Rama and Krishna belongs to the prehistoric past which has come down only in poetry and legend and may even be regarded as myths; but it is quite immaterial whether we regard them as myths or historical facts, because their permanent truth and value lie in their persistence as a spiritual form, presence, influence in the inner consciousness of the race and the life of the humans soul. Avatarhood is a fact of divine life and consciousness which may realise itself in an outward action, but must persist, when that action is over and has done its work, in a spiritual influence; or may realise itself in a spiritual influence and teaching, but must then have its permanent effect, even when the new religion or discipline is exhausted, in the thought, temperament and outward life of mankind.
-Sri Aurobindo, “The Divine Birth and Divine Works,” from Essays on the Gita