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Second thoughts: Revisiting proverbs, quotes

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

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There is a famous proverb: “Man travels all over the world looking for happiness, only to find it at home.”

The mystic poet Kabir Das had also said something similar about searching everywhere for God and then finding out that He resides in your own home.

I have always been a critical admirer of proverbs and quotes of famous men. But I do not blindly follow and applaud them. There are times when I find some very popular proverbs either irrelevant, senseless, or even exactly opposite of what I believe in. When I identify such a quote, I just ignore it and move on. But I find so many people who blindly read, repeat, forward and quote to others, without giving a deep thought to their relevance – more so if it is a quote by a “foreigner” with an impressive sounding Western name.

With due respect to many great people (who may often say great pearls of wisdom, but not always so), I think we should introspect and evaluate the relevance or usefulness of a quote. Going again to the proverb at the top, is it necessary that we come back after our explorations and find happiness at home? What if we have grouchy family members, or if we are going through stress at home for various reasons? We can perhaps find happiness when we explore beyond and see how others are dealing with their life situations.

Travel is a great education in itself and even a source of joy.

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