Monday, December 08, 2008

Praying Hands

I learnt of Albrecht Dürer sometime last week, via an email that was sent to me by a colleague. Not having heard the name before, I decided that the email could wait until the evening, which is when I usually engage myself in some 'non-business' reading.
When I did read the story that was part of the mail, I was shaken and hence decided to do a post. Read on, to know the story behind the Praying Hands.



Back in the fifteenth century, in a tiny village near Nuremberg, lived a family with eighteen children. Eighteen! To merely keep food on the table for this mob, the father and head of the household, a goldsmith by profession, worked almost eighteen hours a day at his trade and any other paying chore he could find in the neighborhood. Despite their seemingly hopeless condition, two of the children had a dream. They both wanted to pursue their talent for art, but they knew well that their father would never be financially able to send either of them to Nuremberg to study at the Academy.

After many long discussions at night in their crowded bed, the two boys finally worked out a pact. They would toss a coin. The loser would go down into the nearby mines and, with his earnings, support his brother while he attended the academy. Then, when that brother who won the toss completed his studies, in four years, he would support the other brother at the academy, either with sales of his artwork or, if necessary, also by laboring in the mines.

They tossed a coin on a Sunday morning after church. Albrecht Dürer won the toss and went off to Nuremberg. Albert went down into the dangerous mines and, for the next four years, financed his brother, whose work at the academy was an immediate sensation. Albrecht's etchings, his woodcuts, and his oils were far better than those of most of his professors, and by the time he graduated, he was beginning to earn considerable fees for his commissioned works.

When the young artist returned to his village, the Dürer family held a festive dinner on their lawn to celebrate Albrecht's triumphant homecoming. After a long and memorable meal, punctuated with music and laughter, Albrecht rose from his honored position at the head of the table to drink a toast to his beloved brother for the years of sacrifice that had enabled Albrecht to fulfill his ambition. His closing words were, "And now, Albert, blessed brother of mine, now it is your turn. Now you can go to Nuremberg to pursue your dream, and I will take care of you."

All heads turned in eager expectation to the far end of the table where Albert sat, tears streaming down his pale face, shaking his lowered head from side to side while he sobbed and repeated, over and over, "No."

Finally, Albert rose and wiped the tears from his cheeks. He glanced down the long table at the faces he loved, and then, holding his hands close to his right cheek, he said softly, "No, brother. I cannot go to Nuremberg. It is too late for me. Look.,look what four years in the mines have done to my hands! The bones in every finger have been smashed at least once, and lately I have been suffering from arthritis so badly in my right hand that I cannot even hold a glass to return your toast, much less make delicate lines on parchment or canvas with a pen or a brush. No, brother, for me it is too late."

More than 450 years have passed since. By now, Albrecht Dürer's hundreds of masterful portraits, pen and silver-point sketches, watercolors, charcoals, woodcuts, and copper engravings hang in every great museum in the world, but the odds are great that you, like most people, are familiar with only one of Albrecht Dürer's works. More than merely being familiar with it, you very well may have a reproduction hanging in your home or office.

One day, to pay homage to Albert for all that he had sacrificed, Albrecht Dürer painstakingly drew his brother's abused hands with palms together and thin fingers stretched skyward. He called his powerful drawing simply "Hands," but the entire world almost immediately opened their hearts to his great masterpiece and renamed his tribute of love "The Praying Hands."

I write this as a tribute for my Father, who turned 60 today.

I salute his remarkable resilience and his patience which has furthered my upbringing in the most positive manner. But for his toil and unconditional dedication, the wonderful side of me would never have been possible!

Thank you God!

54 comments:

  1. Great story!!!!It is yet touch a million more hearts.

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  2. I certainly knew that Albrecht was one of the greatest artists ever, but I didn't know this story about the hands and about his brother! Thanks for bringing it to us!

    ... and best wishes to your dad!

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  3. I have come across Albrecht Durer and his works at Max Meuller ...I remember seeing his Adam and Eve paintings online.

    this , but not this story...
    its touching...how destiny shape's one at the cost of another...

    Nice post Rak.

    convey my wishes to your dad, its already too late today...

    wishes,
    devika

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  4. That was a nice post!! And Birthday wishes to acchan,,,

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  5. wow!! such a touching story!!!

    my belated wishes to your dad!!

    take care!

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  6. I have no words. A very touching story indeed.Thanks a lot for bringing it out here for us.

    and wish your father a very happy bday on my behalf and also from the entire blogosphere. He should be proud to have a son like you !

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  7. What a wonderful tribute to ur father Rakesh!

    With the great personality that u hv, I can see how great a man ur dad is!

    Happy bday to ur dad! :)


    Keshi.

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  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  9. Very Nice Da. I wish your pappa a very happy belated Birthday wishes... No wonder how could you be so successful in life.. it is yes, unconditional dedication for you from your parents.

    And yes, what a great gift that your pappa could expect for his Birthday. its indeed would be one of his greatest gift from his Son in the form of this beautiful writing..

    Keep Rocking! Wishing you all the success..

    Cheers!
    Jayashree

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  10. PS: Read my Blog "Unconditional Mom" in my blog page.. i am sure you will like it..

    Thanks!

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  11. Ratish

    Many thanks for your visit, comments and the encouragement!

    Appreciate it!

    Cheers

    Rakesh

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  12. Vivek

    Thanks very much for your wishes, I will pass them on!

    Regards

    Rakesh

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  13. Peter

    The email (as I have mentioned) has been an eye opener which was very informative!

    Thanks for your comments & your wishes, I will pass them on!

    Regards

    Rakesh

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  14. Devika Chechi

    Yes, this is a classic example of how destiny plays its role in the making of some people and their future! Thanks for your comments!

    Also, thanks very much for your wishes, I will pass them on!

    Regards

    Rakesh

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  15. Bharath

    Thanks very much for your comments and wishes!

    I will pass them on!

    Regards

    Rakesh

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  16. Satheesh

    Appreciate your comments!

    Thanks very much for your wishes, I will pass them on!

    Regards

    Rakesh

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  17. Vimmuuu, my friend

    Thanks very much for your very warm and appreciative comments! Yes, this is indeed a very touching story which details how destiny plays a role to shape up people's future!

    Thanks very much for your wishes, I will pass them on!

    I'm deepy touched by your appreciation. It is a matter of privilege to be associated with you!

    Warm Regards

    Rakesh

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  18. Keshi

    Thanks very much for your very appreciative comments which make me very happy!

    I wish I could be half as successful as my Father and half as focussed and disciplined!

    Alas!

    Cheers

    Rakesh

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  19. Jayshree

    Thanks very much for the comments! I totally agree with every single word that you have stated!

    Without the support of our Parents who have been so unconditional and dedicated, the good sides of ours would never have been possible

    Thanks very much for your wishes, I will pass them on!

    Regards

    Rakesh

    PS: Thanks also for leaving me a post to read, which I certainly will

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  20. and you have been awarded once more :

    http://vimalsparadise.blogspot.com/2008/12/and-one-more-award.html

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  21. Man, that story was touching !..:) I dnt have a sibling but I if I had one..I'd wish him.her to be like this....

    Mybest wishes to your dad bro !!..:)

    Just to tease you...the bike's great ;P

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  22. Thought provoking story man and you've brought it out to us in such a beautiful manner...no one can go untouched...What I can't left wondering if we'll ever be able to do something...something which is greater than the meaningless life most of us have become used to living...

    Do pass me the mail if you can...

    Ciao :)

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  23. I am sure your dad is very proud of you!

    Beautiful story, but left me feeling sad for the brother whose hands were damaged.

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  24. Posts like urs keep me wanting to blog some more and read more blogs..

    I have seen the pictures of the praying hands but never knew the story behind it.

    Proves that no success is possible without sacrifices..

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  25. we r all our own person...but we all hv something that someone else admires and wishes to be like :)

    And Im bak Rakesh!

    Keshi.

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  26. Vimmuuu, my brother

    Thanks very much for the award! This is huge recognition! I wish to thank you for all the encouragement and good wishes that prompt me to make this space better by the day

    Warm Regards

    Rakesh

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  27. ArmyGuy

    Thanks very much for the wonderful words of encouragement!

    Thanks also for your wishes, I shall pass them on!

    Also, must I say how jealous I am, now that you are biking away to glory! ;)

    Cheers

    Rakesh

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  28. Sanjh

    Welcome here and thanks for your wonderful comments which make me feel very introspective!

    Right you are, when you say, that you wonder if you could echo any of these attributes! Makes me wonder how better we can be ourselves in making the future of other people, or for that matter, that of people associated with us any better!

    The day that happens, we are the best, the very very best!

    Will send you the full email over the weekend!

    Cheers

    Rakesh

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  29. Indian Home Maker

    Well, honestly, I haven't done much to make Dad proud! But then, one thing is abolsutely certain, that I'm damn proud to have him as my Father!

    Thanks for your comments!

    Warm Regards

    Rakesh

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  30. Archana

    Good to see you! Thanks very much for the wonderful comments of encouragement!

    Abolsutely right when you say 'Proves that no success is possible without sacrifices.'

    Cheers

    Rakesh

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  31. Keshi

    Very true!

    Good to see you back, full swing! I've missed you!

    Welcome Back!

    Cheers

    Rakesh

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  32. what a wonderful story .. glistened my eyes..
    thanks for sharing and happy birthday to your dad :)

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  33. Aria

    Wow! Welcome Back! Its been so looooong! Where were you?????

    Thanks very much for your comments and also your wishes, which I shall pass on!

    Btw, why does not Terminal Moraine stand updated? Its been awefully long!

    Do get back to blogging!

    Cheers

    Rakesh

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  34. indeed a great story that touch ones heart and these stories come by to reaffirm about great sacrifices, which motivates us and makes as look back at the sacrifices done for us in our own domain

    thanks for the story raks

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  35. Prabhu Anna

    Thanks very much for your comments! Yes, this is a very moving tale of how destiny plays a huge role in the lives of many people!

    When is the next post on Nilgiris?

    Cheers

    Rakesh

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  36. To Mr. Rakesh Vanamali

    I have read some of your posts. I would like to revisit the same.

    If you like short stories and paintings, then a short visit to my blogs would be a good idea.

    Naval Langa

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  37. Dear Mr. Langa

    Welcome here and thanks for your comments!

    I shall certainly visit your blogspace. Thanks for the message!

    Do, please call me Rakesh!

    Warm Regards

    Rakesh

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  38. It’s a wonderful life story! What Albert done is none could even simple thought at today’s world? I see it as an eye opening post and so vivid.

    Congrats and my best wishes to you father buddy. And I could easily relate Albert with our fathers whom work however for our bright future.

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  39. Jeevan

    Yes indeed, it is a wonderful story of how some partnerships work phenomenally for some people!

    More so it highlights the selfless acts of yet others who live a sacrificial life, much like our parents who live merely to ensure our success!

    Rakesh

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  40. Hi Rak,

    came for a new one..
    will come again, dear

    Hope all going well with you..

    love,
    devika

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  41. Devika Chechi

    Thanks for looking up my space! I will be posting afresh today!

    Am doing well...... How about you?

    Cheers

    Rakesh

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  42. Hi Rak,

    i am always well dear..even while in the well :))

    will see you in my break, or by evening dear..

    wishes,
    devika

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  43. Thanks a lot for bringing to us such a touching story. I doubt whether anything like this or at least closer to this is likely to happen in today's world.
    My belated wishes to your dad.

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  44. Devika Chechi

    Glad to know that you are doing well! Your sense of humor beats everything ;)

    Btw, I have made a fresh post!

    Cheers

    Rakesh

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  45. Old Monk

    Very true! In today's world, where the material element has superseeded all else, one cannot experience such selfless sacrifice!

    Thanks for your wishes, I shall pass them on!

    Cheers

    Rakesh

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  46. Hi Rak!

    My sense of humour -- perhaps my father's absent-minded gift to his third child :))

    i forget about it when i need it the most :))

    wishes,
    devika

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  47. Just awesome.. Seriously, the best any dad could ask. I'm speechless. After reading this post, i saw my dad in the same praying hands perspective. I don't really know if a lot of other people have been affected by this post, but to be blatant and truthful, I certainly am. Thanks for this wonderful post.

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  48. Devika Chechi

    It is a blessing for one to have a good sense of humor! Not only does it help make situations lighter, it also keep the person in good spirits!

    Cheers

    Rakesh

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  49. Vibu, my friend

    Thanks very much! I too was moved when I read of Albrecht Dürer and immediately wondered of the many many sacrifices our parents have made in order to make our lives better!

    We are truly blessed to have such wonderful people as our parents. In fact, I wouldnt see them as people, they are undoubtedly much much more!

    The least we can do is to live out their legacy in the best possible manner!

    Thanks very much! Greatly appreciate what you wrote!

    Cheers

    Rakesh

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  50. True dear...very true, i should say..

    i have seen amma forgetting what she was fuming about when acha would turn it a joke :))

    But, what i was saying -- i often forget to apply it to myself when i need it the most :(

    Cheers ;)

    love,
    devika


    love,
    devika

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  51. Devika Chechi

    Amazing what humor can do isnt it?

    Cheers

    Rakesh

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  52. Oh so very Rak..As in A MAZE!! :)

    devika

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  53. A touching narrative, and an inspiration too, to what helping hands can do!

    Belated wishes to your father also!

    God Bless you, and yours!!

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