(I have had requests to write more about my spiritual teacher and my relationship with him so I have added more to this post on November 2016 – Chaitanya das)
These days it’s sometimes seen as ‘uncool’ to talk about a guru, or a spiritual teacher.
For many the word ‘guru’ evokes the unfortunate idea of a relationship where there is lack of individual thought, of giving up one’s own free will. I’d like to dispel that emphatically as far as my spiritual teacher is concerned!
If I’m honest with myself, I had very little attraction for any spiritual process when I first met Siddhaswarupananda over 40 years ago, but he challenged me to think carefully about spirituality. Not only to think, but check what he was telling me and what we talked about.
John Church can thank the generosity of Oliver Ditson for his success in business.
Oliver Ditson set up successful businesses and allowed his managers to take them over. This was the case with John C. Haynes, Boston, who made ‘Tilton Improvement’, Bay State, Excelsior and Hub Guitars. Also with George Lyon and Patrick Healy, Chicago, who under the Lyon & Healy name became the biggest manufacturer of stringed instruments in the early part of the 20th century.
Oliver Ditson also set up a music branch in Cincinnati managed by John Church. Somewhere between 1859 or1871 (accounts are conflicting) John Church was signed over as the owner and he incorporated The John Church Company in 1885. He had a retail arm of all things musical, specializing in pianos and sheet music, and a small manufacturing arm producing the ‘Imperial’ label of instruments.
That the Weymann manufacturing business evolved out of their retailing is significant. Their retail establishment initially allowed Weymann to have a ready market for what they produced, as well as access to the end user that we would today term ‘extensive market research’. It allowed them to experiment and produce a wide range of instruments, where other makers could not.”
I watched a lot of movies when I was younger. Many with my father who was a big fan of the old western movies. I always remember a line from a western from the 1960’s by director Sam Peckinpah. The movie is RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY which was about 2 aging cowboys played by Randolph Scott and Joel McCrea towards the end of their acting careers.
I describe myself as a Vaishnava Hindu but emphasize that this is not a sectarian term. Sectarian being defined as excessive devotion to a particular religion. Vaishnava Hinduism is not like this, in fact, Vaishnavism is the polar opposite of sectarianism.
Recently I saw a YouTube message from Tulsi Gabbard, the first practicing Hindu elected to The US Congress. She expressed in this video more eloquently than I can why Vaishnava Hinduism embraces all faiths:
According to Vaishnava Hinduism, there’s one Supreme Being who is called many names by different people around the world at different times. It’s not that there is a Christian god, a Buddhist god, a Hindu god, or a Muslim god, all competing with each other. There is only one God although we may call Him by different names.
“It is the loving exchange one has with God that is true spirituality. And one who is experiencing such love for God is able to see beyond our external differences and designations, and recognize that we are all relatives in the deepest sense. We are all children of the same Supreme Lord. This is the message of Bhagavad-gita, the message of love, of how we can achieve real harmony with others, no matter the different backgrounds we come from.”
SAMUEL C. OSBORN (1875 – 1922) (From information obtained from Music Trade Review and Presto as well as the 1920 Samuel Osborne Mfg. Co. Catalog).
The life of the Samuel C. Osborn Manufacturing Company is a short one, barely 6 years. The company made stringed instruments and specialized in koa wood guitars and ukuleles under the SammO and SammoS labels. They also sold mandolins, ukulele banjos and pianoettes (a form of zither). Different sites on the web will tell you the company started in 1897, but this is not the case as there is a small paragraph in the MUSIC TRADE REVIEW (1916) reporting on the company’s incorporation in 1916. This is backed up from text in the 1920 Osborn catalog).