ROBERT A. MILLIKAN, Ph.D., Sc.D., LL.D., Director, Norman Bridge Laboratory of Physics, California Institute of Technology.
Benjamin Franklin is perhaps the only American in that relatively small group of men of any time or country who, without having been either the head of a state or a military hero, have yet gained so conspicuous a place in history that their names and sayings are known the world over. Although he lived two hundred years ago in what was then a remote corner of the earth, far from any of the centers of world influence, yet his name and traits are still so widely known that the following incident could happen. Of what other American names, save possibly those of Washington and Lincoln, could anything like this be said? Franklin would have found it as interesting and amusing as will this audience.
One evening about two and a half months ago I was being shown by a devout Brahmin through the great Hindu temple at Madura in Southern India. There were many hundreds of Indians wandering about through the scores of rooms in the huge structure. Occasionally one of them would fall prostrate on his face before the image of the elephant god or the monkey god, or one or another of the multitudinous forms assumed by Krishna or Siva or their wives. In one of the rooms an expounder of the Yogi philosophy was passing around a printed page of directions for "the Yogi way of life" to a score or more of pupils. As I was looking on in the back of the room he approached and put one of the sheets into my hand. I glanced through it and saw that it was in English and consisted merely in a set of rules for physical exercise (mystically interpreted, however), for eating and sleeping and early rising, etc., etc. As I glanced down the page I read the injunction, "You are to spend some time each day, morning and evening, in reflection, as Benjamin Franklin did."