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Catherine the Great
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Catherine the Great
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Catherine the Great was born in 1729, as Princess Sophia of Anhalt-Zerbst, the elder daughter of an obscure, noble German family. She died in 1796 as Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia. At the age of 33, she came to the throne and reigned thirty-four years, driven by a prodigious, superhuman life-force. Power once hers, she strove first and foremost to keep it. When her authority was assured, she gave herself up to her passion for ruling with eagerness and a fervour that compel admiration. She would make it her business to bring some order into the more than chaotic legislation of her empire. It was for everyone to see, especially diplomats, how her achievements in all directions were dictated by a genuine will to do the right thing. The opulence, she regarded as essential, had to be real. She managed to acquire it at the cost of incessant effort. Her decrees show a remarkable good sense, especially coming from a woman who was not a trained political economist. She succeeded in reorganizing trade; she managed to rebuild and repopulate practically dead cities, to centralize administration and colonize desert provinces. In the perspective of humanity's evolution, she stands as an example of what one woman's unshakable faith, confidence in her destiny and own inner lights, can achieve over obstacles, failures and enemies. For all in all, she governed alone, doing her utmost to the end when she collapsed of a heart attack. As a force in action, remarkably intelligent, intuitive and pragmatic, she had an uncanny way to see, to attract and to use only the people, things and circumstances that could serve her purpose. And her purpose was, to the last, to make Russia great. She was a visionary and had the power to manifest her vision; she was a creative force and a builder and therein lies her greatness.

Preface

The task of preparing teaching-learning material for value- oriented education is enormous.

There is, first, the idea that value-oriented education should be exploratory rather than prescriptive, and that the teaching-learning material should provide to the learners a growing experience of exploration.

Secondly, it is rightly contended that the proper inspiration to turn to value-orientation is provided by biographies, auto-biographical accounts, personal anecdotes, epistles, short poems, stories of humour, stories of human interest, brief pas-sages filled with pregnant meanings, reflective short essays written in well-chiselled language, plays, powerful accounts of historical events, statements of personal experiences of values in actual situations of life, and similar other statements of scientific, philosophical, artistic and literary expression.

Thirdly, we may take into account the contemporary fact that the entire world is moving rapidly towards the synthesis of the East and the West, and in that context, it seems obvious that our teaching-learning material should foster the gradual familiarisation of students with global themes of universal significance as also those that underline the importance of diversity in unity. This implies that the material should bring the students nearer to their cultural heritage, but also to the highest that is available in the cultural experiences of the world at large.

Fourthly, an attempt should be made to select from Indian and world history such examples that could illustrate the theme of the upward progress of humankind. The selected research material could be multi-sided, and it should be presented in such a manner and in the context in which they need in specific situations that might obtain or that can be created in respect of the students. The research team at the Sri Aurobindo International Institute of Educational Research (SAIIER) has attempted the creation of the relevant teaching-learning material, and they have decided to present the same in the form of monographs. The total number of these monographs will be around eighty to eighty-five.

It appears that there are three major powers that uplift life to higher and higher normative levels, and the value of these powers, if well illustrated, could be effectively conveyed to the learners for their upliftment. These powers are those of illumination, heroism and harmony.

It may be useful to explore the meanings of these terms -illumination, heroism and harmony - since the aim of these monographs is to provide material for a study of what is sought to be conveyed through these three terms. We offer here exploratory statements in regard to these three terms.

Illumination is that ignition of inner light in which meaning and value of substance and life-movement are seized, under-stood, comprehended, held, and possessed, stimulating and inspiring guided action and application and creativity culminating in joy, delight, even ecstasy. The width, depth and height of the light and vision determine the degrees of illumination, and when they reach the splendour and glory of synthesis and harmony, illumination ripens into wisdom. Wisdom, too, has varying degrees that can uncover powers of knowledge and action, which reveal unsuspected secrets and unimagined skills of art and craft of creativity and effectiveness.

Introduction

In England the period of the New Monarchy from Edward IV to Elizabeth, in France the great Bourbon period from Henry IV to Louis XIV, in Spain the epoch which extends from Ferdinand to Philip II, in Russia the rule of Peter the Great and Catherine were the time in which these nations reached their maturity, formed fully and confirmed their spirit and attained to a robust organisation. And all these were periods of absolutism or of movement to absolutism and a certain foundation of uniformity or attempt to found it. This absolutism clothed already in its more primitive garb the reviving idea of the State and its right to impose its will on the life and thought and conscience of the people so as to make it one single, undivided, perfectly efficient and perfectly directed mind and body.

Sri Aurobindo - The Ideal of Human Unity

Catherine was born in 1729, as Princess Sophia of Anhalt-Zerbst, the elder daughter of an obscure, noble German family. She died in 1796 as Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia.

At the age of 14, she was summoned to the Russian court by the Empress Elisabeth, to be groomed as the future bride of the Grand Duke Peter, son of Elisabeth and heir to the throne. Falling in love with her new country, and its people, she identified fully with it, revoking her austere Lutheran faith and whole-heartedly embracing the orthodox religion. For years, conscious of being no ordinary woman, she had nursed, deep within, the ambition to be great and do great things. Russia became her opportunity.

At the age of 33, she came to the throne and reigned 34 years, driven by a prodigious, superhuman life-force, which made the sec-ond half of her life undoubtedly the most spectacular, the most well-known, and the most brilliant, not only in Russia but throughout eighteen-century Europe.

Gradually stripping away her prejudices, scruples' and sense of shame, beliefs and principles of the past, she realised a dream few women in history have achieved: to rule as the absolute monarch2 of a great nation, that owed her crown neither to hereditary rights nor to the love of a reigning sovereign. As she herself said, she was a self-made woman, for the Grand Duke's wife might have easily suffered the fate of so many other princesses who were the victims of an unhappy marriage and court intrigues. She affirms it loudly in her memoirs: she struggled hard to maintain her position and survive; she did not go insane, she did not die of grief; she spent eighteen years allowing people to trample on her heart, swallowing insults, gritting her teeth, steeling her nerves and forging a heart of iron.

Power once hers, she strove first and foremost to keep it. When her authority was assured, she gave herself up to her passion for ruling with eagerness and a fervour that compel admiration: ten, twelve, fourteen hours of work a day: meetings of the Senate, councils of ministers, personally controlling all the machinery of government. Catherine insisted on being her own minister of finance, of war, of home and foreign affairs. Her ministers were to carry out her orders and were only occasionally called upon to advise her. She would read each paper submitted for her signature (she speaks with contempt of Elizabeth who nearly always signed without reading).

** Sample Pages**





Catherine the Great

Item Code:
NAR412
Cover:
PAPERBACK
Edition:
2004
ISBN:
8185636850
Language:
English
Size:
9.00 X 6.00 inch
Pages:
72 (Throughout Color and B/W Illustrations)
Other Details:
Weight of the Book: 0.14 Kg
Price:
$16.00   Shipping Free
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About the Book

Catherine the Great was born in 1729, as Princess Sophia of Anhalt-Zerbst, the elder daughter of an obscure, noble German family. She died in 1796 as Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia. At the age of 33, she came to the throne and reigned thirty-four years, driven by a prodigious, superhuman life-force. Power once hers, she strove first and foremost to keep it. When her authority was assured, she gave herself up to her passion for ruling with eagerness and a fervour that compel admiration. She would make it her business to bring some order into the more than chaotic legislation of her empire. It was for everyone to see, especially diplomats, how her achievements in all directions were dictated by a genuine will to do the right thing. The opulence, she regarded as essential, had to be real. She managed to acquire it at the cost of incessant effort. Her decrees show a remarkable good sense, especially coming from a woman who was not a trained political economist. She succeeded in reorganizing trade; she managed to rebuild and repopulate practically dead cities, to centralize administration and colonize desert provinces. In the perspective of humanity's evolution, she stands as an example of what one woman's unshakable faith, confidence in her destiny and own inner lights, can achieve over obstacles, failures and enemies. For all in all, she governed alone, doing her utmost to the end when she collapsed of a heart attack. As a force in action, remarkably intelligent, intuitive and pragmatic, she had an uncanny way to see, to attract and to use only the people, things and circumstances that could serve her purpose. And her purpose was, to the last, to make Russia great. She was a visionary and had the power to manifest her vision; she was a creative force and a builder and therein lies her greatness.

Preface

The task of preparing teaching-learning material for value- oriented education is enormous.

There is, first, the idea that value-oriented education should be exploratory rather than prescriptive, and that the teaching-learning material should provide to the learners a growing experience of exploration.

Secondly, it is rightly contended that the proper inspiration to turn to value-orientation is provided by biographies, auto-biographical accounts, personal anecdotes, epistles, short poems, stories of humour, stories of human interest, brief pas-sages filled with pregnant meanings, reflective short essays written in well-chiselled language, plays, powerful accounts of historical events, statements of personal experiences of values in actual situations of life, and similar other statements of scientific, philosophical, artistic and literary expression.

Thirdly, we may take into account the contemporary fact that the entire world is moving rapidly towards the synthesis of the East and the West, and in that context, it seems obvious that our teaching-learning material should foster the gradual familiarisation of students with global themes of universal significance as also those that underline the importance of diversity in unity. This implies that the material should bring the students nearer to their cultural heritage, but also to the highest that is available in the cultural experiences of the world at large.

Fourthly, an attempt should be made to select from Indian and world history such examples that could illustrate the theme of the upward progress of humankind. The selected research material could be multi-sided, and it should be presented in such a manner and in the context in which they need in specific situations that might obtain or that can be created in respect of the students. The research team at the Sri Aurobindo International Institute of Educational Research (SAIIER) has attempted the creation of the relevant teaching-learning material, and they have decided to present the same in the form of monographs. The total number of these monographs will be around eighty to eighty-five.

It appears that there are three major powers that uplift life to higher and higher normative levels, and the value of these powers, if well illustrated, could be effectively conveyed to the learners for their upliftment. These powers are those of illumination, heroism and harmony.

It may be useful to explore the meanings of these terms -illumination, heroism and harmony - since the aim of these monographs is to provide material for a study of what is sought to be conveyed through these three terms. We offer here exploratory statements in regard to these three terms.

Illumination is that ignition of inner light in which meaning and value of substance and life-movement are seized, under-stood, comprehended, held, and possessed, stimulating and inspiring guided action and application and creativity culminating in joy, delight, even ecstasy. The width, depth and height of the light and vision determine the degrees of illumination, and when they reach the splendour and glory of synthesis and harmony, illumination ripens into wisdom. Wisdom, too, has varying degrees that can uncover powers of knowledge and action, which reveal unsuspected secrets and unimagined skills of art and craft of creativity and effectiveness.

Introduction

In England the period of the New Monarchy from Edward IV to Elizabeth, in France the great Bourbon period from Henry IV to Louis XIV, in Spain the epoch which extends from Ferdinand to Philip II, in Russia the rule of Peter the Great and Catherine were the time in which these nations reached their maturity, formed fully and confirmed their spirit and attained to a robust organisation. And all these were periods of absolutism or of movement to absolutism and a certain foundation of uniformity or attempt to found it. This absolutism clothed already in its more primitive garb the reviving idea of the State and its right to impose its will on the life and thought and conscience of the people so as to make it one single, undivided, perfectly efficient and perfectly directed mind and body.

Sri Aurobindo - The Ideal of Human Unity

Catherine was born in 1729, as Princess Sophia of Anhalt-Zerbst, the elder daughter of an obscure, noble German family. She died in 1796 as Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia.

At the age of 14, she was summoned to the Russian court by the Empress Elisabeth, to be groomed as the future bride of the Grand Duke Peter, son of Elisabeth and heir to the throne. Falling in love with her new country, and its people, she identified fully with it, revoking her austere Lutheran faith and whole-heartedly embracing the orthodox religion. For years, conscious of being no ordinary woman, she had nursed, deep within, the ambition to be great and do great things. Russia became her opportunity.

At the age of 33, she came to the throne and reigned 34 years, driven by a prodigious, superhuman life-force, which made the sec-ond half of her life undoubtedly the most spectacular, the most well-known, and the most brilliant, not only in Russia but throughout eighteen-century Europe.

Gradually stripping away her prejudices, scruples' and sense of shame, beliefs and principles of the past, she realised a dream few women in history have achieved: to rule as the absolute monarch2 of a great nation, that owed her crown neither to hereditary rights nor to the love of a reigning sovereign. As she herself said, she was a self-made woman, for the Grand Duke's wife might have easily suffered the fate of so many other princesses who were the victims of an unhappy marriage and court intrigues. She affirms it loudly in her memoirs: she struggled hard to maintain her position and survive; she did not go insane, she did not die of grief; she spent eighteen years allowing people to trample on her heart, swallowing insults, gritting her teeth, steeling her nerves and forging a heart of iron.

Power once hers, she strove first and foremost to keep it. When her authority was assured, she gave herself up to her passion for ruling with eagerness and a fervour that compel admiration: ten, twelve, fourteen hours of work a day: meetings of the Senate, councils of ministers, personally controlling all the machinery of government. Catherine insisted on being her own minister of finance, of war, of home and foreign affairs. Her ministers were to carry out her orders and were only occasionally called upon to advise her. She would read each paper submitted for her signature (she speaks with contempt of Elizabeth who nearly always signed without reading).

** Sample Pages**





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