July 21, 2023

THE BET BY ANTON CHEKHOV | #viral #literature #English #stories #cbse #antonchekhov


It was a dark autumn night. The old banker was pacing from corner to corner of his study, recalling to his mind the party he gave in the
autumn fifteen years ago. There were many clever people at the party and much interesting conversation. They talked among other things of capital punishment. The guests, among them not a few scholars and journalists, for the most part disapproved of capital punishment. 

They found it obsolete as a means of punishment, unfitted to a Christian State and immoral. Some of them thought that capital punishment should be replaced universally by life-imprisonment.

"I don't agree with you," said the host. "I myself have experienced neither capital punishment nor life-imprisonment, but if one may judge a prior, then in my opinion capital punishment is more moral and more humane than imprisonment. Execution kills instantly,

life-imprisonment kills by degrees. Who is the more humane executioner, one who kills you in a few seconds or one who draws the life out of you incessantly, for years?"

"They're both equally immoral," remarked one of the guests, "because their purpose is the same, to take away life. The State is not God. It has no right to take away that which it cannot give back, if it should so desire."

Among the company was a lawyer, a young man of about twenty-five. On being asked his opinion, he said:

"Capital punishment and life-imprisonment are equally immoral; but if I were offered the choice between them, I would certainly choose the second. It's better to live somehow than not to live at all."

There ensued a lively discussion. The banker who was then younger and more nervous suddenly lost his temper, banged his fist on the table, and turning to the young lawyer, cried out: "It's a lie. I bet you two millions you wouldn't stick in a cell even for five years."

"If that's serious," replied the lawyer, "then I bet I'll stay not five but fifteen."

"Fifteen! Done!" cried the banker. "Gentlemen, I stake two millions."

"Agreed. You stake two millions, I my freedom," said the lawyer.

So this wild, ridiculous bet came to pass. The banker, who at that time had too many millions to count, spoiled and capricious, was beside himself with rapture. During supper he said to the lawyer jokingly:

"Come to your senses, young man, before it's too late. Two millions are nothing to me, but you stand to lose three or four of the best years of your life. I say three or four, because you'll never stick it out any longer. Don't forget either, you unhappy man, that voluntary is much heavier than enforced imprisonment. The idea that you have the right to free yourself at any moment will poison the whole of your life in the cell. I pity you."

And now the banker pacing from corner to corner, recalled all this and asked himself:

"Why did I make this bet? What's the good? The lawyer loses fifteen years of his life and I throw away two millions. Will it convince people that capital punishment is worse or better than imprisonment for life. No, No! all stuff and rubbish. On my part, it was the caprice of a well-fed man; on the lawyer's, pure greed of gold."

He recollected further what happened after the evening party. It was decided that the lawyer must undergo his imprisonment under the strictest observation, in a garden-wing of the banker's house. It was agreed that during the period he would be deprived of the right to cross the threshold, to see living people, to hear human voices, and to receive letters and newspapers. He was permitted to have a musical instrument, to read books, to write letters, to drink wine and smoke tobacco. By the agreement he could communicate, but only in silence, with the outside world through a little window specially constructed for this purpose. Everything necessary, books, music, wine, he could receive in any quantity by sending a note through the window. The agreement provided for all the minutest details, which made the confinement strictly solitary, and it obliged the lawyer to remain exactly fifteen years from twelve o'clock of November 14th 1870 to twelve o'clock of November 14th 1885. The least attempt on his part to violate the conditions, to escape if only for two minutes before the time freed the banker from the obligation to pay him the two millions.

During the first year of imprisonment, the lawyer, as far as it was possible to judge from his short notes, suffered terribly from loneliness and boredom. From his wing day and night came the sound of the piano. He rejected wine and tobacco. "Wine," he wrote, "excites desires, and desires are the chief foes of a prisoner; besides, nothing is more boring than to drink good wine alone," and tobacco spoils the air in his room. During the first year the lawyer was sent books of a light character; novels with a complicated love interest, stories of crime and fantasy, comedies, and so on.

In the second year the piano was heard no longer and the lawyer asked only for classics. In the fifth year, music was heard again, and the prisoner asked for wine. Those who watched him said that during the whole of that year he was only eating, drinking, and lying on his bed.

He yawned often and talked angrily to himself. Books he did not read.

Sometimes at nights he would sit down to write. He would write for a long time and tear it all up in the morning. More than once he was heard to weep.

In the second half of the sixth year, the prisoner began zealously to study languages, philosophy, and history. He fell on these subjects so hungrily that the banker hardly had time to get books enough for him.

In the space of four years about six hundred volumes were bought at
his request. It was while that passion lasted that the banker received
the following letter from the prisoner: "My dear gaoler, I am writing these lines in six languages. Show them to experts. Let them read them.

If they do not find one single mistake, I beg you to give orders to have a gun fired off in the garden. By the noise I shall know that my efforts have not been in vain. The geniuses of all ages and countries speak in different languages; but in them all burns the same flame. Oh, if you knew my heavenly happiness now that I can understand them!" The prisoner's desire was fulfilled. Two shots were fired in the garden by the banker's order.

Later on, after the tenth year, the lawyer sat immovable before his table and read only the New Testament. The banker found it strange that a man who in four years had mastered six hundred erudite volumes, should have spent nearly a year in reading one book, easy to understand and by no means thick. The New Testament was then replaced by the history of religions and theology.

During the last two years of his confinement the prisoner read an extraordinary amount, quite haphazard. Now he would apply himself to the natural sciences, then would read Byron or Shakespeare. Notes used to come from him in which he asked to be sent at the same time a book on chemistry, a text-book of medicine, a novel, and some treatise on philosophy or theology. He read as though he were swimming in the sea among the broken pieces of wreckage, and in his desire to save his life was eagerly grasping one piece after another.


The banker recalled all this, and thought: "To-morrow at twelve o'clock he receives his freedom. Under the agreement, I shall have to pay him two millions. If I pay, it's all over with me. I am ruined for ever...."

Fifteen years before he had too many millions to count, but now he was afraid to ask himself which he had more of, money or debts. Gambling on the Stock-Exchange, risky speculation, and the recklessness of which he could not rid himself even in old age, had gradually brought his business to decay; and the fearless, self-confident, proud man of business had become an ordinary banker, trembling at every rise and fall in the market.

"That cursed bet," murmured the old man clutching his head in despair.... "Why didn't the man die? He's only forty years old. He will take away my last farthing, marry, enjoy life, gamble on the Exchange, and I will look on like an envious beggar and hear the same words from him every day: 'I'm obliged to you for the happiness of my life. Let me help you.' No, it's too much! The only escape from bankruptcy and disgrace--is that the man should die."

The clock had just struck three. The banker was listening. In Ike house everyone was asleep, and one could hear only the frozen trees whining outside the windows. Trying to make no sound, he took out of his safe the key of the door which had not been opened for fifteen years, put on his overcoat, and went out of the house. The garden was dark and cold. It was raining. A keen damp wind hovered howling over all the garden and gave the trees no rest. Though he strained his eyes, the banker could see neither the ground, nor the white statues, nor the garden-wing, nor the trees. Approaching the place where the garden wing stood, he called the watchman twice. There was no answer. Evidently the watchman had taken shelter from the bad weather and was now asleep somewhere in the kitchen or the greenhouse.

"If I have the courage to fulfill my intention," thought the old man,

"the suspicion will fall on the watchman first of all."

In the darkness he groped for the stairs and the door and entered the hall of the garden wing, then poked his way into a narrow passage and struck a match. Not a soul was there. Someone's bed, with no bedclothes on it, stood there, and an iron stove was dark in the corner. The seals on the door that led into the prisoner's room were unbroken.

When the match went out, the old man, trembling from agitation, peeped into the little window.

In the prisoner's room a candle was burning dim. The prisoner himself sat by the table. Only his back, the hair on his head and his hands were visible. On the table, the two chairs, the carpet by the table open books were strewn.

Five minutes passed and the prisoner never once stirred. Fifteen years confinement had taught him to sit motionless. The banker tapped on the window with his finger, but the prisoner gave no movement in reply.

Then the banker cautiously tore the seals from the door and put the key into the lock. The rusty lock gave a hoarse groan and the door creaked.

The banker expected instantly to hear a cry of surprise and the sound of steps. Three minutes passed and it was as quiet behind the door as it had been before. He made up his mind to enter. Before the table sat a man, unlike an ordinary human being. It was a skeleton, with tight-drawn skin, with a woman's long curly hair, and a shaggy beard.

The colour of his face was yellow, of an earthy shade; the cheeks were sunken, the back long and narrow, and the hand upon which he leaned his hairy head was so lean and skinny that it was painful to look upon.

His hair was already silvering with grey, and no one who glanced at the senile emaciation of the face would have believed that he was only forty years old. On the table, before his bended head, lay a sheet of paper on which something was written in a tiny hand.

"Poor devil," thought the banker, "he's asleep and probably seeing millions in his dreams. I have only to take and throw this half-dead thing on the bed, smother him a moment with the pillow, and the most careful examination will find no trace of unnatural death. But, first, let us read what he has written here."

The banker took the sheet from the table and read:

"To-morrow at twelve o'clock midnight, I shall obtain my freedom and the right to mix with people. But before I leave this room and see the sun I think it necessary to say a few words to you. On my own clear conscience and before God who sees me I declare to you that I despise freedom, life, health, and all that your books call the blessings of the world.

"For fifteen years I have diligently studied earthly life. True, I saw neither the earth nor the people, but in your books I drank fragrant wine, sang songs, hunted deer and wild boar in the forests, loved women.... And beautiful women, like clouds ethereal, created by the magic of your poets' genius, visited me by night and whispered me wonderful tales, which made my head drunken. In your books I climbed the summits of Elbruz and Mont Blanc and saw from thence how the sun rose in the morning, and in the evening overflowed the sky, the ocean and the mountain ridges with a purple gold. I saw from thence how above me lightnings glimmered cleaving the clouds; I saw green forests, fields, rivers, lakes, cities; I heard syrens singing, and the playing of the pipes of Pan; I touched the wings of beautiful devils who came flying to me to speak of God.... In your books I cast myself into bottomless abysses, worked miracles, burned cities to the ground, preached new religions, conquered whole countries....

"Your books gave me wisdom. All that unvarying human thought created in the centuries is compressed to a little lump in my skull. I know that I am more clever than you all.

"And I despise your books, despise all worldly blessings and wisdom.

Everything is void, frail, visionary and delusive like a mirage. Though you be proud and wise and beautiful, yet will death wipe you from the face of the earth like the mice underground; and your posterity, your history, and the immortality of your men of genius will be as frozen slag, burnt down together with the terrestrial globe.

"You are mad, and gone the wrong way. You take lie for truth and ugliness for beauty. You would marvel if by certain conditions there should suddenly grow on apple and orange trees, instead of fruit, frogs and lizards, and if roses should begin to breathe the odour of a sweating horse. So do I marvel at you, who have bartered heaven for earth. I do not want to understand you.

"That I may show you in deed my contempt for that by which you live, I waive the two millions of which I once dreamed as of paradise, and which I now despise. That I may deprive myself of my right to them, I shall come out from here five minutes before the stipulated term, and thus shall violate the agreement."

When he had read, the banker put the sheet on the table, kissed the head of the strange man, and began to weep. He went out of the wing. Never at any other time, not even after his terrible losses on the Exchange, had he felt such contempt for himself as now. Coming home, he lay down on his bed, but agitation and tears kept him long from sleep....

The next morning the poor watchman came running to him and told him that they had seen the man who lived in the wing climbing through the window into the garden. He had gone to the gate and disappeared.

Together with his servants the banker went instantly to the wing and established the escape of his prisoner. To avoid unnecessary rumours he took the paper with the renunciation from the table and, on his return, locked it in his safe.

March 02, 2023



She made utterly clear that existence is absolute, and now there is no escape from reality, she elevated FACTS to the level of reverential acceptance.

IN the history of philosophy, this basic fact has been incredibly obfuscated.


By “religion” as tradition that still continues. And in the subconscious in the best of people.

We are still not able to accept that we live simply in a universe that is governed by law through it is really known to be true in our century and in fact from the past 350 years.

Ayn Rand ended that obfuscation, and hence we are now freed!!

Simply and yet profoundly. It is really an astounding thing. But it will obviously take many more centuries to spred and take deep root.

All modern philosophers, gook the path of simply obfuscating and bringing in a nihilism. Mainly Kant, Hegel and Marx.

2) She emphasized the law of identity, in that she made it utterly clear that a thing is what it is, and hence follows its nature in action , and that is "why" there are no "contradictory" behaviours in entities.

3) She said--there is such a thing as knowledge and logic, and this aspect of her philosophy is the most un-understood/mis-understood. For her, knowledge, truth was not a dry thing...no!! But...

The very nature of man, and his power, and his value,hence, as MAN!! That LIGHT that shines when you get/grasp/understand something, she elevated that into a new religion, the religion of man, and ....

4) ROOTED that as his greatest VALUE. REASON the faculty that makes man, man and that operates naturally with FOCUS in us integrates NOT empty things, BUT the material that our inviolate senses give us, observations leads to deep GRASPING of things, THAT LIGHT inside.

That opening of EYES leads to grasping the whole world, where you HAVE to get the whole, and cannot rest till then, and that natural thinking in each of us, she not only released, but made it look so simple!! She truly made the TRUE IS THE WHOLE simple obvious and possible to be achieved by each of us.

5) Not only did she elevate this, she concretized this aspect, OH!! By 100s of pages in her action packed, bitter, beautiful novels where the HEROES HAVE TO triumph, even if they have to go against the whole world.

6) Courage? Yes, and more than that...a passionate dedication, exaltation of man's stature and power!! And yet, a down to earth philosophy, that ANYONE and everyone can/should and yes, would want to practice!! WHY EVER NOT?

7) Thus she opened the floodgates of the possibility, finally, of social activism, that celebrates happiness and integrity, honesty, and independence, productiveness, money, love, sex, pride....all of that simply rooted in our power of reason, in action, our obvious, now, commitment to rationality.

Thus, she celebrated man and his life, thus making living, not a drudgery, duty bound pain, but a freedom to feel NO fear/pain/ and especially no guilt..she made Man innocent, pure, chaste, and brought in the pure elements in religious/spiritual living to the fore, sacredness, worship pf Man, and self exaltation!!

9) She rooted finally all the above to a social philosophy that celebrated capitalism, outlining its incalculable energy, power released, and thus was a passionate advocate of Man's rights, and equally, by implication, exposed Socialism, to the core blind, power lusting evil it really is...

10) Thus she LIBERATED Man, and ultimately Men, and brought in a possibility of freedom, happiness, finally peace on earth, for man, of man, possible only BY man.

11) And thus she celebrated ARTS, all arts, opened up them all, giving profound ,meaning to each, its power to influence, give that METAPHYSICAL joy!! She showed ART as concretization of all of the above in graspable form, thus givng the highest pleasure, priceless to Man in his often constant struggle to bring his values to reality. Thuis she refuelled the fuel that is ART.

12) AND....she opened up ALL fields..you name it..Education, Science, Computers, Engineering,Medicine, Finance, Economics, whatever might be your field, her FUNDAMENTAL LENS takes you deep in it, and bring in innovation that are practically inexhaustible and begging, and any man can learn..and create..Thus she LEVELLED men, no more/less..each in his profound self respecting living, yet deep brotherhood, she gave a new, proper meaning to man as a social being..he is, is he not?

She ended all divisions, precisely because she brought man as the same entity....is that not brotherhood?

13) She has brought IN PRINCIPLE, benevolence, justice, clarity, happiness, unlimited discovery, innovation, to all!!

14) She brought in a Vision of Man and Life, finally, in a form, that is ideal and practical, both, as it ought to be, and could be....

March 01, 2023



Some Reflections

Her theory of knowledge gave me a remarkable power. .

What is knowledge and how do we really know things...what is knowing as such? And she gave me some remarkable insights....

1) The first thing is that we CAN know. This is no small thing for me or anyone. We are living in a world where nothing is really clear or knowable. This she gave with her absolute metaphysics. Existence exists and ONLY existence exists.


Because there is no mystery and cannot be. So we can know fully, clearly , exactly with utter certainty, and with no speck of confusion.

2) This means that the test of knowledge is the simplicity, rich and deep, but clear and true.

3) The very concept of truth is now clear. We need to have truth and there is no escape.

4) And I seek no escape and do not want to!! So my motivation to know is complete. I am good through and through, honest to the core, and profoundly independent and with utter almost natural integrity!!

Look at the connection to ethics here.



6) This means I cannot fool myself in the process too. No matter how difficult the concepts are, in the sense of how involved and interconnected they may be in their logic, I have to get it, grasp it, see it for myself.

7) Thus a natural discipline comes to me. I am driven and it is a life and death issue because THERE IS NO ESCAPE!!

Rand traps me and I like the trap, the highest in me, is awakened and truth is always welcome to man qua man as deep within, biologically, I know I need and would love to know.

I start really connecting things, Discovering the underlying, fundamental principles behind data/phenomena ....seeing that I can know and that pleasure is so intense ., feels so good, that that acts like a fuel and a virtuous circle and slowly that field of mine becomes CLEAR AND CONNECTED.



That my use of my mind, is a plain , clear and engaging, difficult but possible thing. And I begin to marvel at how I am BECOMING intelligent. I realize that intelligence is a personally passionate and , driven process. And that there is truly no limit.

11) The feeling of being in touch with reality, the feeling of reducing a complex data to simple principles, the feeling of power and values that is inherently there in the process, the feeling of being literally a Gulliver and really expanding my mind...is indecribable and I reach for her novels for confirmation, enjoyment and fuel!! And security and double certainty, a a sensory feeling floods me then, of being true and real and yes, flaming joy is mine.

12) I am serene, passionate...clam and energetic...wondering about how I got this power and knowing the process of knowing too...

Thus things become profoundly, deeply, simple. And the UNITization of things, the chip like thing I hold is too good and true too.

Rand gave all this to me, to anyone and everyone, in principle, mathematically (EXACTLY) covering and unifying the whole world, man and his life on earth........



Ayn Rand formulated a philosophy that she called Objectivism, and by the nature of that term she discovered and put that WHOLE in a form, that I can say at the very outset is TRUE.

Now this itself could bug somebody. He would think, who is she to tell and declare that this is the "final" truth?

And here the interesting thing is that her philosophy by its very nature answers this question too!!

So let us begin...at the beginning.

We live in a world, and she said and affirmed this world's existence. This might seem silly to many. The world exists, what is there to affirm in that. And that is the point she really made. Yes, this world exists, and only this world, because if you posit another world "beyond" this world, you would go into a void!!

So this world is all there is..and we are specific entities, with a consciousness that has a sensory apparatus, that can SEE, HEAR, TASTE, SMELL and TOUCH.

But we also have a wondrous and specific ability--to form words or as she called CONCEPTS. You see a table and another and another, and you have an ability here to arrive at the word(concept) - table...

The word TABLE refers to any and every table, otherwise the word /concept would be meaningless. That is all that she said, and any one who can speak cannot really disagree on such an elementary thing!!

So we have a whole language, and of course a grammar that covers all situations, we know how to form sentences and think/communicate.

Then what is knowledge?

Here I think, she made a deep, unique almost a new kind of contribution. Most of us think of reason and logic as piece meal. But she looked at LOGIC and REASON very profoundly as


This is not as simple as it looks. There are some issues here. What she said was that knowledge at any time is a SUM< even for a child. And you can claim it as valid knowledge only if one part of the seeming whole does not contradict any other part!! Thus she defined Logic as a non contradictory identification of the whole sum that you are holding at present.

The key word here, is the FULL context of your knowledge at present...is it a correct whole? If one part does not contradict another part, then, yes. So errors are allowed for some time, for the person to go through a process of THINKING, and relating and to arrive at his whole.

So it was in this way that all science is both absolute and contextual. It is not as if what Newton had discovered is not the truth, it is and it was. But later dicoveries EXPANDED THE CONTEXT...!!

Then in ethics, she looked at MAN. What does he need to LIVE well? But then to live well, is the context for a MORALITY in the first place. So morality cannot be RULES.

If what you are doing benefits you, it is GOOD...if it harms you, it is bad. Thus the ideal is the practical!!

But do you need to live for others...?

No she said, because by nature each man is literally alone!!

He needs others of course but HE needs them!!

So each person incredibly should live for himself not sacrifice himself for others or others to himself.

So morality of living for others she rejected as beyond any context of anything!!

She defined living for others not as a wrong morality but as NO MORALITY!!

How do people live together? They should preserve the individual, and here the concept of rights come in naturally. So each lives with right to his life, property and freedom to work, and produce and hold property. That system is full capitalism.

This is the whole she gave,and if you notice this whole is dependent of acceptance of reality, and the deep way she defined reason.

Of course people debate these issues, and to my mind,they debate because they DO NOT THINK IN FUNDAMENTALS.



Again existence exists. It is, so it is closed. Reason in the way I explained above is the way we hold / use knowledge. If it is true, it is true. So it is closed.

In ethics, we have silly debates that Rand was against charity and helping others. Was she? By the philosophy explained above she said, YOU are the end, to which the values should be directed.

Every human in the world to me, is an "objectivist" but it is precisely being NON ABSOLUTE about it that creates problems for each individual. Rand gave me certainty, simplicity and depth all at once!! And what else is needed for serenity and deep happiness...

THE LIFE AND GENIUS OF AYN RAND | The Vision and Life of Ayn Rand

The Vision and Life of Ayn Rand

It was 1905 and a child was born in Russia , named Alice. Later she would herself change her name to Ayn Rand.

From childhood, Ayn Rand seemed to have been with the power of natural thinking and questioning, wondering and formulating, and generalizing.

That is what she did. Those eyes, prodigious and deep, observed and grasped from books and the momentous historical events causing havoc.

In her very early childhood she discovered her UNIVERSE, the romantic world of super heroic stories.

She responded deeply, as if she had found the fount of life, and she had. She had grasped wordlessly, that THIS is life!!

And she need not and could not then on settle for less.

By the time she was 21 , she had thought out a lot about man and life and philosophy and what she could do in the world-show a vision of man , what can be and ought to be!!

Mercifully she could escape from Russia and in America she found work, love and a life time obsession and career in writing.

The seed of reason and romanticism grew to become a whole Philosophy to live on earth!!

She realized that it was precisely Objectivism that was needed by the world torn in Mind andf body dichotomy, and with falsehoods running amok.

She brought in a sanity into the modern madness of Kant-Hegel and Marx, and the fight is still on.

She took the world head on and solved every single important issue in Philosophy- reason and reality as absolutes and rational self interest as man’s natural moral function and Altruism as amoral.

She defended capitalism as an Unknown ideal,and stripped socialism for the death worshipping philosophy it is , in theory and practice.

She brought in VALUES—thinking, respect for man, glorification of the value of technology, business and money, integrating love and sex, being totally earth bound, and this worldly, profoundly researching and inductive, in love with one’s power to think, create and succeed without limit!!

Who was this woman?

What was her heartbeat?

What did she love?

How could she be so profoundly original?

Yet so simple?

She was and is the greatest enigma in history, and she has ushered in BENEVOLENCE, of a kind Unseen, UNknown, Unexpressed, YET so natural, and real, and ours….

Has she banished darkness or is it that light she has released?