SATGURU KABIR

SATGURU KABIR

Satguru Kabir is widely known as one of the foremost mystic saints of India. He taught that God dwells within you as the Soul, and the only place that you can find God is within yourself. He taught that nobody was ever able to find God by searching elsewhere. And he laid great emphasis on finding God within. He impartially said, “I, Kabir, stand in the public marketplace and I wish the welfare of all people; I am neither a friend of anyone nor am I an enemy of anyone.” When he was asked whether he was a Hindu or a Muslim, he said, “If I say that I am a Hindu, I am not; if I say that I am a Muslim again I am not. What am I? I am this body made of the five gross elements and the great mysterious power of God dwells in me.”

In India, at his time, there were great turmoil and misunderstandings within two major world religions – Hinduism and Islam – and he observed that each one fought in its own way to preserve its identity, and to uphold certain religious beliefs, traditions and rituals. He observed that the Hindu say that to him Lord Ram is very dear; and the Muslims say that it is Rahim, or Allah, but they fight and kill one another, and neither of them fathoms the mystery of God dwelling in the hearts of both of them. He told them both, “O my dear brothers, from where have you found two gods? Don’t you know that you worship the same God?” In his teachings he further stated, “You and I are of the same blood, and the same life force manifests in all of us. The same God produced all of us. By what type of cunning intellect have you separated yourselves?” He taught that all people, no matter to what race, culture or religion they belonged, ultimately worship the same God, and the same God is equally accessible to all people, regardless to their castes, creeds, traditions, and cultures.

I would like to quote a great scholar, Professor Charlotte Vaudeville, a French writer, who stated, “Kabir is one of the best known and most revered name in Indian tradition. From the Punjab to Bengal and from the Himalayan frontiers to South India, he has long been hailed by Hindus and Muslims alike as a great mystic and bold religious reformer. His name has travelled far and wide in the Indian sub-continent and, thanks to the admiration of Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore, he is not completely unknown even in the west today. In the literary field too, Kabir ranked very high. He is often hailed as the father of Hindi literature and even some times placed on par with the greatest Hindi poet Tulsidas, the author of the great epic – Ramayana. In Indian religious history Kabir is unique; to the Hindus he is Vaishnava Bhakta, to the Muslims a Pir, to the Sikhs, a bhagat, to the sectarian Kabir Panthis he is an avatar of the Supreme Being, to modern patriots, Kabir is a champion of Hindu/Muslim unity, to neo-Vedantins a promoter of the modern religion i.e. the religion of man, in modern progressive circles today, Kabir is held in high esteem as a social reformer, a bold enemy of Brahmanical pride and caste distinctions, a revolutionary whose scathing attacks on caste prejudices, the principles of untouchability and all forms of social discriminations are forever famous and comforting to the enlightened Indian mind, like a breeze of fresh air. To modern India Kabir appears as a symbol of non-conformity, of all that is free, noble and challenging in the Indian tradition.” (A Weaver Named Kabir, Charlotte Vaudeville)

I would like to quote another writer, Ezekiel, in the book entitled Kabir: the great mystic, “Within the range of reason, Kabir is a most uncompromising rationalist. In the intellectual field he is the most clear brained intellectual. Among the learned he is the most learned, though he is ignorant of the alphabets. He quotes the Shastras, the Puranas and the Vedas with an authority before which the learned shiver and the betrayers of holy lore call for the hangman’s rope. Kabir’s songs seek nobody’s approbation, they seek no sanction, ask for no approval, search for no popularity, invite no commendation, crave no compliment. They stand independent of these considerations, and they constitute the most uninhibited literature, the freest of free writing ever produced by a saint. They are the most fearless of hymns, for they launch assault on the very foundations of institutional religion and the self-appointed custom officers of the gates of heaven.”

Charlotte Vaudeville again observed that there is hardly an ethical or spiritual truth in northern India that has not taken the form of a sakhi ascribed to Kabir. The biographer Nabha Das, who has written on the life of many saints, states in his book “The rosary of the saints”: “He held that religion without devotion was no religion at all. And that asceticism, fasting and alms giving had no value if not accompanied by adoration.” Satguru Kabir is often called the Indian Luther, for he tried to change the hypocrisy and the false piety that was being practiced in the name of religion.

Another writer J.S., a British scholar, wrote, “His best utterances are probably the loftiest work in the Hindi language. And hundreds of his couplets have laid hold of the common heart of Hinduism.” Another researcher and writer on Indian saints named Dwivedi (a modern critic) thinking of Kabir’s genius, said, “Tender as a flower, hard as a diamond, his poems are embodied with diamond-like quality, the transparency, multifaceted brilliance and mysterious flow of the pure diamond. They also have the piercing quality of the diamond pointed arrow.” In S.S. Das’s words, “They pierce the hearts of the listeners and remain there. Kabir was undoubtedly a great poet, one of the greatest in India. As a mystical poet he has probably never been surpassed.”

Dwivedi further stated, “Kabir was a dictator of language. Language trembled before him. Another writer W.G. Orr stated, “For share vigor of thought and rugged terseness of style, no later bhakti writer can be brought into comparison with him.”

We see from these foregoing quotations that Satguru Kabir held a very high place in spiritual circles, in literally circle, and in devotional literature. When the former President of India, Shri Zail Singh visited Kabir Chaura in Varanasi, he said that the teachings of Satguru Kabir was of such great value for uniting humanity in love and brotherhood, that he wished that his works could be translated into all languages and be made available to all the people.

Really, what Satguru Kabir wanted to teach people was to find God, for God is the source. God is your inner being. God speaks intuitively within you, and there is no point in your wasting your time, effort and money in trying to find God anywhere outside of you. He said that if you were truly searching for God, you would find Him in a moment, as He is in the breath of your breath, and he is the source of your consciousness and life. He taught to love one another. He said that people speak of love, but they do not have love in their hearts. It’s merely words. But those who are truly immersed in God twenty-four hours a day, are the knowers of love.

When people were being pedantic and argumentative about their book learning, he said, “O my brother! You are quoting to me what you have read in the books, and what I am telling you are the facts I have seen with my own eyes.” He further stated that people have read thousands of books, but they have not become truly learned. If they learned the one word “Love”, they would be truly learned. On humility he taught, “O Kabir! I am just like the dog in the hands of God. His leash is around by neck. Wherever He pulls, I willingly go.” He further stated that water never stays in the high places, but goes to lowest. If you are thirsty and you stoop very low you can quench your thirst. But if you stand tall and proud, you will remain thirsty. On devotion he said, “The person whose mind is full of lust, anger, greed and attachment, cannot do devotion to God. Only the brave one who can free his heart from caste distinctions and lineages can really do devotion to God. Essentially, Satguru Kabir taught non-violence, and it is comforting to know that Mahatma Gandhi, whose mother was a Kabir Panthi, is said to have sucked in non-violence from his mother’s milk, and that is why he was so famous in India for his non-violent methods, in trying to liberate India from the British rule. Further the poet laureate, Rabindranath Tagore, also recognized Satguru Kabir as a great teacher. The late Martin Luther King Jr., USA, an ardent follower of Mahatma Gandhi, practiced the same principles of non-violence taught by Satguru Kabir. The father of the Indian Constitution, Dr. Ambedkar was born a Kabir Panthi and he fought strenuously to free the oppressed masses from ostracism and suppression practiced by the high castes. He taught that they all have God within them, and caste before God is non-existent, for God created them all. God is their father, and we are all His children, and as his children we owe allegiance to Him and to one another. He taught us to perform service, to feed the hungry, to clothe them and not to be condescending but loving towards them.

Satguru Kabir’s teachings hold a very important place in our lives, and his teachings will be well followed if people all over the world would take the time to learn about the teachings of this great spiritual master of India, Satguru Kabir.

 

Dr. Jagessar Das

 

 

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U. N. INTERNATIONAL DAY TO ELIMINATE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

U. N. INTERNATIONAL DAY TO ELIMINATE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

“One of the most devastating human rights violations:

Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in our world today.
Gender inequality persists worldwide. Achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls will require more vigorous efforts, including legal frameworks, to counter deeply rooted gender-based discrimination that often results from patriarchal attitudes and related social norms, as stated by the UN Secretary-General, in his latest report on progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.

“Some intolerable facts:

Violence against women is the most extreme form of discrimination. According to the aforementioned report, on the basis of data from 2005 to 2016 for 87 countries, 19 per cent of women between 15 and 49 years of age said they had experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner in the 12 months prior to the survey. In the most extreme cases, such violence can lead to death. In 2012, almost half of all women who were victims of intentional homicide worldwide were killed by an intimate partner or family member, compared to 6 per cent of male victims.” United Nations

Domestic violence occurs in all parts of the world, in all countries, in all cultures, in all socio-economic groups, and in all religious and non-religious groups. We need to examine why domestic violence occurs and what are the possible remedies to alleviate this grievous situation that occurs in so many homes. Families are disrupted and broken; they are subjected to economic, social and emotional hardships. It is a problem common to human beings everywhere. In this article I shall examine domestic violence from different angles and try to make a coherent sense out of it, and suggest possible solutions.

First of all we can categorize domestic violence into (a) Physical (b) Verbal and (c) Passive. Physical violence is immediately obvious and results in direct use of physical force, and often with weapons. Physical violence results in physical injuries and/or death. Often various weapons are used such as guns, knives, iron bars, wooden bats etc. I have knowledge of a husband who stabbed one of my patients in the abdomen with a knife. He was arrested and imprisoned. We are aware of several Indo-Canadian women who were murdered by their husbands in the last several years. We are sadly aware of the Bangladeshi professor, Rumana Manzur, who was studying at U. B. C. for her master’s degree in political science, and was blinded by her husband on a visit to her home in Bangladesh. This year she graduated from U. B. C. with a law degree.

Verbal violence is also immediately obvious and takes the form of verbal abuse, criticism, insult, defamation, shouting and impoliteness. It often results in lowering of self-esteem of the victim, and a lack of emotional and psychological support, as well as chronic anxiety and depression.

The passive violence may be called passive aggressive violence. It is not immediately obvious and consists of passive resistance to the needs or expectations of others. It also consists of withdrawal of love and emotional support, apathy, and manipulation of events in order to cause emotional or perhaps physical harm to the victim.

The physical and verbal violence can be thought of as direct violence because they are quite obvious that the perpetrator of the violence is attacking the victim. The passive aggressive type of violence is indirect and it is not immediately discernable. For example, if one partner in a marriage has a certain need, then the other partner will deliberately not fulfill that need, without necessarily saying anything. A simple example would be that the wife would like her husband to buy some ice cream, but he purposely “forgets.” Another example may be between two friends, one of whom would like to go to a party, and the other sabotages the going by making some excuse about having other commitments. Passive aggressive violence often manifests as procrastination, sulking, irritability, and argumentativeness, deliberately doing everything very slowly or protesting without justification. There is often resentment and obstruction of efforts of others, and also unreasonably criticizing or scorning people in authority. Some of these characteristics are contained in the diagnostic criteria for psychiatric problems.

Perhaps we can try to figure out the causes of domestic violence. It is quite obvious that anger is involved. Hate, ego and pride are often also involved. Anger can occur very quickly, at the spur of the moment, so to speak, whereas hate, pride and ego are more pervasive and long lasting. Other conditions such as greed, jealousy and selfishness are also present in committing domestic violence.

Since it is common human nature to love that which is good, and which brings peace and happiness, and to dislike that which brings harm, it is obvious that whatever can remove domestic violence will be a great asset to all humanity. Foremost among the attributes to be developed is love and compassion for others. There must also be respect and good communication. It is essential to allow other people to express themselves and to achieve self-actualization and growth. In other words, one must not stifle the aspirations of another. To achieve a state of peace one must exercise self-control. Self-control does not occur automatically by merely thinking about it. One has to constantly practice self-control of all the negative emotions that lead to violence. One of the surest antidotes for domestic violence is to live a spiritual life. This recognizes the intrinsic value of other people. In the final analysis, if you truly love others as you love yourself, then you will definitely not practice violence. The golden rule is not to do to others what you would not like them to do to you. Treat others with love, understanding, compassion and forgiveness, and your life will be enriched, and the lives of those around you will also be enriched. But these attributes need to be taught from childhood by parents, teachers and religious authorities for them to serve a useful purpose in later life.

Dr. Jagessar Das
Email: dasj.kabir@gmail.com

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KABIR SAHEB’S RELIGIOUS PHILOSOPHY

KABIR SAHEB’S RELIGIOUS PHILOSOPHY – A WAY TOWARDS COMMUNAL HARMONY

I was introduced to the poetry of the mystical saint, Kabir Saheb, from my 9th standard Hindi textbook and since then, his poems have remained a deep inspiration for me. Hence, it was this impact of Kabir Saheb’s poetry that inspired me to study Kabir Saheb’s life and philosophy in my 12th standard History Research. Through my project, I tried to evaluate the importance of Kabir Saheb’s legacy today, and how his religious teaching can inspire us to move towards communal harmony.

I am from India, where Hindu – Muslim rivalry is an ongoing topic of discussions. There are constant communal riots where innocent people are killed in the name of religious fanaticism. In this context, Kabir Saheb’s Philosophy came to me as ray of hope towards peace and tolerance. For instance, Kabir Saheb says in one of his sakhis that “He resides neither in the temple nor in the masjid or church.” This highlights Kabir Saheb’s appeal to the masses for one God. He drew ideas from a range of religions to express this idea of an Ultimate Reality – from Islam, he took the terms Allah and Khudha, from Hinduism – he draws the concept of Nirankar and Atman. His teaching of Nam-Simran has also become a Sikh practice. This diversity of terms used by Kabir Saheb conveys the message of unity amongst the religious groups.

Another aspect of Kabir Saheb’s philosophy that touched me was his criticism against empty ritualism. At a time when Brahmanical norms and orthodox Islamic laws were very strong, Kabir Saheb raises his voice against the practices adopted by Hindu and Muslim groups. He advocates the inner devotion for God, and a natural unity with Him, rather than mindlessly praying to God without any belief and love for Him.

Kabir Saheb, for me, is not only a preacher of religious harmony but also a source of knowledge and everyday inspiration. I always remember Kabir Saheb’s doha of “aisee vani boliye, mann ka apa khoye. apna tan sheetal kare, auran ko sheetal hoye.”

Whenever I converse with people, Kabir Saheb’s teachings help me to speak in a positive way. Also, during the times when I start procrastinating in my work, I remember his doha, “kaal kare so aaj kar, aaj kare so ab. pal mein parlaya hoye gi, bahuri karoge kab.” This teaches me the importance of time, and motivates me to start working hard again.

During my research, I also had the opportunity to visit the Kabir Mandir on Idgah Road in Delhi, and I distinctively remember looking at the idol of Kabir Saheb, which was adorned with plain white clothes, and it gave me a feeling of adoration on how mere simplicity can look so peaceful and beautiful. The visit to the Mandir will always be memorable to me.

I would really like to give special thanks to Dr. Jagessar Das of Kabir Association of Canada for answering my queries and guiding me throughout. I am glad to say that I have learnt a lot from this project, and it has broadened my knowledge about life and, I am sure, Kabir Saheb’s philosophy will keep on inspiring many more young students like me in the coming generations.

Shimuran Kitahara
Delhi

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CHRISTMAS AND SPIRITUAL LIFE

CHRISTMAS AND SPIRITUAL LIFE

Christmas is fast approaching and many people, all over the world, are caught up in a frenzied activity to “prepare” for Christmas. This season has some sort of magic to make some people happy, in anticipation of family get-togethers, exchange of gifts, Christmas dinners, celebration of the birth of Jesus, etc. The same magical power also makes other people unhappy because of loss of loved ones, loneliness, poverty, illness, and those who dislike the frenzied activity, in the name of a significant religious event. It will be interesting to take a brief look at what Christmas is.

Christmas is, popularly, observed to celebrate the coming of Jesus to teach people a spiritual way of living. Essentially, his teaching is: “Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and all thy mind and all thy soul,” and “Love one another,” and “Love thy neighbour as thyself.” His teachings appear simple enough and anyone can understand them. However, observing the conditions prevailing in the world, it does not appear that people understand his simple teachings, and to live by them. If people truly loved God then they could not help but love one another, because we are all “children of God.” We should not bear any anger or animosity towards our own brothers and sisters, no matter to which religion, race or culture they belong. But how can people love a God whom they do not know? They are told that God dwells in heaven and the people do not know where heaven is. God, thus, becomes an abstract entity, that is not ever-present, and the most immediate power in the lives of his children. People are also told that God is vengeful or gets angry and will punish people in hell and with fire and brimstone. Basically, the people do not know God, nor do they know where God is. How can they then have a deep and abiding love for God with all their heart and mind and soul? Dr. Albert Schweitzer stated: “To make up to itself for the fact that it does so little to prove the reality of its spiritual and ethical nature, the Christianity of today cheats itself with the delusion that it is making its position as a church stronger year by year. It is accommodating itself to the spirit of the age by adopting a kind of modern worldliness. Like other organized bodies it is at work to make good, by ever stronger and more uniform organization, its claim to be a body justified by history and practical success. But just in proportion as it gains in external power, it loses in spiritual.” Such a strong statement from a devout Christian and humanitarian goes a long way in pointing out a certain deficiency in people who try to promote and practice the teachings of Jesus.

It becomes obvious that people who follow any religion, in the superficial way that most do, that their hearts and mind and soul are not in their practice. If people were truly religious, they would ‘love one another’, but in the world we see more like ‘hate one another’. Jesus taught: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, which is the golden rule. But what do we see? It is more like, “Do unto others before they do unto you.” In other words, take advantage of people and situations so long as you can benefit yourself. Who really understands the teachings of Jesus?

Christians of all denominations comprise 2.4 billion people, or 33.5% of the world’s population. If they all put their hearts, wisdom and aspirations in the proper place, I am sure that the world will be a much happier place. But, instead, we see divisions and schisms among those who follow the teachings of Jesus. In one suburban yellow pages of the telephone book I counted forty denominations of the Christian church. I doubt that this book listed all the denominations in Christianity. How happy would Jesus be if he were to be on earth right now observing what is going on in his name? Certainly he would have been disillusioned and sad, but being a person of great spiritual stature and enlightenment, he would have imputed the situation to peoples’ spiritual ignorance or naiveté, and he would have regretted that people continued to remain ignorant, and do not make sincere efforts to be awakened spiritually.

As Christmas is approaching, it will be worthwhile for all people celebrating this event to reflect, truly, on the teachings of Jesus and to make those teachings a working part of their lives. He did not teach God to be somewhere in the abstract in a remote place. He said: “Know ye not that ye are gods and that the spirit of God dwelleth in thee,” and, “The kingdom of heaven is within.” If you realize that God dwells in you, you will also realize that God dwells in your brothers and sisters. Would this not be a marvelous realization? Would it not then truly make Jesus’ teaching meaningful to you? Would the world not then be a much happier, compassionate and loving place for all of us? Let the true spirit of Christmas be awakened in the hearts of all!

[I first wrote this article in December 1989, and I have updated it for this posting. Please note that I wrote this for Christmas, but similar ideas can be expressed for adherents of all religions.]

Dr. Jagessar Das

(In pursuit of Truth in spirituality)

https://www.facebook.com/JagessarDas

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MAHATMA GANDHI – A GREAT SOUL OF OUR TIMES

MAHATMA GANDHI – A GREAT SOUL OF OUR TIMES

Gandhi Jayanti 2017

Every year not only India, but also the world, celebrates the birth anniversary of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, popularly known as Mahatma Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi, a man of small stature, experimented with his thoughts and ideas and gave to the world a philosophy for all of humanity. He not only preached the tenets of ‘satyagraha’ but lived and acted them. He showed by actual examples how these basic principles could be transformed to make the world a better place. Mahatma Gandhi made his thoughts and ideas more powerful than empires. According to one writer who stated, “If Gandhi had lived in India thousands of years ago, his life would have wrapped in myths and miracles.” But Mahatma Gandhi was a great soul of our times, “which shows that his origin was ordinary, his childhood normal, his student days uneventful and his early professional career unsuccessful.” Such was the description for this great soul who became a statesman not only for India, but also for the world.

From about the fifteenth to the eighteenth century Britain and other powerful nations of Europe, had intensified their quest for empire building, and as a result expeditions were sent out to conquer lands and people, and to take whatever wealth they gained back to Europe. Whether it was gold or silver, silk, tea, sugar or spices, they were taken to Europe to finance wars, beautify the women and enhance the exotic tastes of Europeans. With such aims in mind, certain countries became prized possessions for the foreigners. India was one such country.

Beginning with trading posts that opened up trade with India, Britain eventually gained political control over India. The conscious ‘foreign’ element was always in the mind, if not in all, but in a majority of Indians. According to one historian who states, “from the time the British took political control over India, Indians whatever their religions, castes, or regional origins may have been were immediately conscious of the ‘foreign’ character of the white Christian sahibs who ruled their land.” With foreign minds alien to the Indian social, economic and political conditions, one sees the influx of missionaries, English education replacing the Indian education, and trade with the outside world as a process of British unification and modernization. Such changes only served to intensify Indian perceptions of their ‘native’ differences, cultural, socio-economic and political, from the British rulers. Under such conditions men like Surendranath Banerjee, Rande, Gokhale, Phadhe, Mehta, Naoroji and others began to emerge. Later men like Basu, Tagore, Roy, Tilack, Nehru, Patel, Bhave, to mention only a few, rose to rally with Mahatma Gandhi not only to free India from foreign domination, but also to kindle a re-awakening of the deeply rooted thoughts and ideas found in the ancient Indian philosophical system. As the famous Martin Luther King in describing Gandhiji said, “Gandhi was inevitable. If humanity is to progress Gandhi is inescapable. He lived, thought and acted, inspired by the vision of humanity evolving towards a world of peace and harmony. We may ignore him at our own risk.”

Professionally, failures in India caused Gandhi to accept a post in South Africa where he was legal counsel to a leading Indian entrepreneur. It was when he was there that racism awakened his consciousness to national identity. He developed the unique system of ‘satyagraha’. ‘Satyagraha’ according to one writer, is a non-violent method of non-cooperation and civil disobedience, and tapped the deepest roots of India’s cultural heritage. His ideas of ‘satyagraha’ further expanded to include ancient yogic powers of truth, ahimsa (non-violence to any living things in thoughts, word and deeds), meditation, fasting and silence. It is therefore a force born of truth and love. Such thoughts of Gandhiji gave him a tower of inner strength to stand against the might of the foreign power that ruled India, to be honored with the title of Mahatma, to bring social changes to India, and to be ranked amongst the statesmen, not only of modern times, but of all times.

Mahatma Gandhi was a man with inner wealth, and allowed an insurance policy on his life to lapse. When his wife was given an expensive piece of jewellery as a gift in South Africa, he stayed awake all night thinking about its safety. Eventually, all the expensive gifts given to himself and his wife were sold and the money was used for the establishment of a fund for the benefit of the Indians in South Africa. His simple attire of loincloth, wooden chappals, a bowl and a walking stick were the possessions of this politician cum saint. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the Bhagavad Gita became his spiritual dictionary that probably exercised the greater single influence on his life. Aparigraha (non-possession of material wealth) inspired Gandhiji so immensely, that it was not surprising that he did not see material wealth as the answer to his problem, nor the problem of humanity. By his action one cannot deny the fact that he was a Karma Yogi.

The word ‘truth’ which forms the basis for Gandhiji’s experiment, is derived from the concept that nothing exists in reality, except ‘Truth.’ Truth is God and God, Truth. Gandhiji sees God as an “indefinable mysterious power that pervades everything.” Furthermore, Gandhiji sees God in everything around him and though everything is ever changing and ever dying, there is underlying all that, that change is a Living Power which is changeless, which holds all together that creates, dissolves, and re-creates. This Living Power is God (Gandhiji). His thoughts on the Unseen Power transcend the senses. He stated that for God to be God He must rule the heart and transform it. If Gandhian concept of God – which is universal – is realized, then the transformed heart will transform the world.

In honoring Gandhiji today, let us pay homage to this politician who became a saint of modern times, and always reflect on his teachings for the good of humanity.

 

Urmila Das (My Wife)

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SPIRITUAL MEANING OF SERVICE

SPIRITUAL MEANING OF SERVICE

DO WE QUALIFY?

All religions teach that to serve others is of paramount importance. Some people feel that we must first serve God, then we can serve others. But if we examine service to God properly, we would find that we cannot really serve God. God is not in need of anything. In fact in, one way or another, God supplies us with all of our needs. We can then say that God is serving us. To truly serve God we must serve others. God needs only our love and our submission to his will which really means to submit to the laws of cause and effect. Whatever we sow, that is what we will reap. In other words, we are creating our own destiny, and we need to accept whatever comes to us as a result

Service may mean different things to different people. For example, some people feel that when they are engaged in their job, that is, rendering service. For example, in Canada 73% of people are listed as employed in “services.” In contrast, China and India list 60% and 63% of the population engaged in agriculture. This does not leave too many people employed in the “services.” Canada lists only 3% of the population engaged in agriculture. This is to show that the services I am discussing in this article are not the employment of people in order to earn their living. People in all countries need approximately the same degree of “services” rendered in a religious or spiritual sense. It is in this latter sense that I am discussing services in this article. But in order for service in this sense to be rendered adequately, there are certain guidelines that we can list as follows:

Service done for personal gain is not service
Service done to impress others is not service
Service done to satisfy ego is not service
Service done in a condescending manner is not service
Service done with strings attached is not service
Service done with hesitation is not service
Service done grudgingly is not service
Service done after persuasion is not service
Service done with boasting is not service
Service done with criticism is not service
Service done because of guilt is not service
Service done as lip service is not service
Service done for fear of criticisms is not service
Service done only to earn a living is not service

Perhaps it is good to mention here what Satguru Kabir said about service:

“Service rendered without being requested is equivalent to milk.
Service rendered after being requested is equivalent to water.
Service rendered after being requested, and you argue about it, is equivalent to blood.”

Perhaps you can add others along the same lines to show what are not services as long as there are personal motives involved; then we can say that it is not really service in the sense in which this article presents the subject

We may then ask the question what is service? We can give an approximate meaning of what service is. We can say that service is any activity, in thought, word, or deed, which is rendered unselfishly, purely for the welfare of others. It means to give of yourself in every way possible to promote the welfare of others. It is in serving others we can truly serve God. In this context it would be well to remember John Wesley’s Rule which states the following:

Do all the good you can
By all the means you can
In all the ways you can
In all the places you can
At all the times you can
To all the people you can
As long as ever you can.

(John Wesley was an 18th century Christian Methodist leader in the Church of England)

There are many examples in the world of people rendering this kind of service. A notable example is the late Mahatma Ghandi of India who remained poor, but served others unhesitatingly. All the great spiritual teachers, saints, and prophets have served others not for any personal gain but only because of love for others. There are many people who volunteer their services, often in foreign and poor countries, for the welfare of others

Why is service so important? Service to others enables us to purify our own actions. We must not have ego and seek personal gain. We need to realize that the soul dwells in all, and that the soul is divine. Recognizing this divinity in all beings allows us to serve them purely for the love of God and his creation. This type of service gives a sense of wellbeing and meaning to life. It makes life sublime and divine.

Jagessar Das

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CORRUPTION

CORRUPTION

 

We hear of corruption in high places,

But it is equally present in “low places.”

It’s a cancer eating away at spirituality,

And it does not spare morality.

The ones in high places are those in power,

Whether in government, or religious calling.

They abuse their power in seeking bribes,

Or peddle influence on the unwary.

They deviate from the ideals of society,

Selling their souls for transient gains.

Where is empathy, where is compassion,

When others must innocently pay the price?

Corruption is a cancer that invites itself

Into the hearts of the heartless!

It has the power to cloud judgment,

And to lay aside God-given intelligence!

It drives away guilt and shame,

And makes entitlement the alluring goal.

Sad to say! Their karma lies in wait,

And will inflict severe punishments!

Loss of good character inevitably follows,

And loss of goodwill becomes a calumny.

But there is corruption in “low places” too,

As is evident in the thief and drug gangs,

In domestic violence and elder abuse,

In cheating spouses and children’s abuse!

Should we not mention modern slavery,

And people-smuggling as a trade?

And black marketing when others starve?

The mind grows weary with mental fatigue,

If we ponder on the web of corruption,

That has ancient roots, and still viable.

So to maintain composure and self-respect,

Let us allow karma and our justice system,

To fulfill their legitimate calling!

 

Jagessar Das

 

Prakashmani Gita

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REALIZING GOD ENDOWS SELF-CONFIDENCE

In the line of Indian saints, Satguru Kabir Saheb’s name is at the top. That is why he is known as “Sant Shiromani.” His 14th-century teachings are relevant and a real pathfinder even today.

In the context of mushrooming of personal Deras, and the so-called, ‘religious shops’ Kabir’s one Doha is an eye-opener and a panacea of all the evils and can save humanity from religious catastrophe.

“jyon til mein tel hai, jyon chakmak mein aag,

tera sain tujh mein, jaag sake to jaag.”

Just as oil is in sesame, and fire is in the flintstone, just so God is in you. Realize it if you can!

The full explanation is given below:

Zile Singh

Ambassador (Ret’d.)

 

Believe Yourself

“Believing in oneself is a Magic.

If you can do that, you can make anything happen.” – Johann Goethe

In the English language, the word Believe is a Verb. It means to accept something as true or as conveying the truth, and have faith in the existence of something that can perform acts of providence. Belief, on the other hand, is a Noun meaning faith, conviction, an opinion or an assumption.

Beliefs are thoughts underlying our conscious and sub-conscious mind. We start to gather and build up beliefs from our childhood. Belief may not necessarily be correct or accurate based on logic and facts. In order to establish one’s belief, one may consciously or unconsciously look for evidence, or other coincidental incidents that may confirm and reinforce that belief, and save oneself from being wrong. The outside environment, which can be religious or non-religious has made all efforts to take you out of your inner nature of logic and practicality, to make you believe in anything according to the norms and conventions of the society at the cost of your own will and individuality. In other words, the belief and faith have been acquired at the cost of one’s intuition, free will and self-inquiry. Over time, the correct or incorrect belief system becomes so strong that an individual finds it impossible to get rid of it. Instead, it becomes an inseparable part of day-to-day life and takes the form of rituals and superstitions. In religious field some beliefs compelled human beings to perform human and animal sacrifice to propitiate deities. There have been numerous social evils in the name of beliefs.

There is no unanimity of beliefs in different regions and religions. Belief systems have affected people and societies to a large extent. Almost all people believe in something or the other; like fate, afterlife, previous life, destiny, hell, heaven, gods, omens, ghosts etc. People go after a belief when they feel that they have nowhere else to go to get some relief from their illness, or some benefit in business. Belief justifies their actions and brings them comfort. To justify and uphold their beliefs, religions and sects have fought with each other for supremacy. History is witness to the fact that humanity has suffered a lot on account of false beliefs. Whosoever tried to awaken the masses against these rituals, blind faith and illogical practices, had to face severe difficulties in their lives.

To protect society from such unfounded beliefs, it is necessary to understand the value of “Believing in Yourself.” Believing in oneself is a magic that dispels the darkness of blind faith, and paves the way for a clear understanding. If you do not believe in yourself, you sabotage yourself. It induces in you a lethargic and inferior complex, dependent on outside forces, including non-existent phenomena. And inferiority complex pushes you towards failure and self-pity as you start believing in certain non-existent power. Dependence on any outside element, especially an unfounded belief, leads to slavery and low esteem. The world is trying to make you somebody else than your own-being. To be nobody but yourself is to fight, and fight the hardest. But by nature, an individual has avoided genuine struggle as far as possible. Therefore, it is necessary to respect yourself enough to walk away from anyone or anything that no longer serves you, empowers you or enhances you. Also, remember that a person who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The man who walks alone is likely to find himself in a place that no one has ever been before. That is why it is necessary to “Believe in Yourself.” It is SOS vs SOS situation. Save our Souls vs Sense of Self. In the former case, you pray to somebody else for your safety, whereas in the latter case your own effort is the panacea for all difficulties. We have to create a society where we are not swept away under the carpet by manipulative and cunning elements all around in the name of false beliefs. Flood of thoughts and emotions, based on false assumptions, needs to be managed carefully. Scientific attitude and believing in oneself are the handy tools to overcome the age-old false assumptions based on blind faith. Nowadays there is mushrooming of sects and congregations that are taking advantage of the innocent public in the name of religion, ethics, morality and spirituality. Outwardly, these establishments look appealing, but inwardly these are dens of corruption whether it be moral or financial or both.

Believe in yourself and walk on a track carved out by your own logical understanding, and the calling of your own conscience based on scientific temper. Your destiny is in your hands. You are the maker of your fate.

The following two quotes will sum up the article:

“I do not want to give advice to people about their religious beliefs, but I do think that it is not smart to bet against the power of science to figure out the natural world. It used to be a thousand years ago that if you wanted to explain why the moon moved through the sky, you needed to invoke God”. – Sean Carroll.

“The medicine for my suffering I had within me from the very beginning, but I did not take it. My ailment came from within myself, but I did not observe it, until this moment. Now I see that I will never find the Light unless, like the candle, I am my own fuel.” – Bruce Lee

Zile Singh (Ambassador ret’d)

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LIVING BY THE GRACE OF GOD!

LIVING BY THE GRACE OF GOD!

(Guest Blog)

We often hear many people say the phrase “By the grace of God” when they refer to their life going not well. They are actually expressing an implicit faith in God being thankful to God for everything that is going on in their life. In broader terms, it is the acceptance that everything that is happening is by virtue of God’s will to which we have to submit. It requires a lot of courage to declare the same phrase when people are hot hard by life. Would people say “By the grace of God” when calamities like hurricanes, floods, storms decimate their livelihoods? Although the implied meaning of that phrase is to accept whatever happens as God’s will.

To be conscious or having consciousness is by grace, It is not by coincidence or by our own will. In Kabir Panth, we strongly believe that being in the company of Saintly people, by welcoming Saints and Sages in our homes, by visiting our Guru, we are attracting grace in our life. It is the harmony which is created by being with Saintly people that makes us feel the grace of God.

“Saadhu bare parmaarathi, jyon ghan barse aaye
Tapan boojhaawe aur ki, apnon paaras laaye”

Saintly people are benefactors who want the welfare of everyone just like rain clouds which benefit everyone indistinctly. As benefactors, Saintly people relieve people of their sufferings and at the same time transform devotees into pure souls. Similarly, prayers are not answered because of the prayer itself, but by the grace of God. In other words, everything happens by the grace of God; we need to be in harmony with our true Self to be attuned to that grace. One does not wake up in the morning because of his/her actions (good or bad); the time for him or her to depart from this worldly plane has not come, therefore one continues to breathe. Being thankful to the breaths we take is acknowledging the grace of God which allows us to fulfill our mission in this world.

But then we may ask the question : “If everything happens by the grace of God or by God’s will then why should we do prayers?” Acts of devotion such as prayers, selfless service, worship and so on are reminders of our human existence, of our identity, of the Universal presence of God and of our duty to perform good actions to ultimately attain our goal of salvation. Even people who have committed sins their whole life and happen to realise that they were on the wrong path and intend to redress themselves, they can be graced by God.

There was a noble gentleman who was kind, and always helped the poor and needy. He was always involved in doing good actions. However, he never prayed or went to temples. Everyone knew him as a very kind and loving person. It so happened that he was framed and was caught by the King’s soldiers, accused of theft. In the King’s court he was sentenced to life imprisonment. He became very sad and upset and thought to himself that God does not exist. As he was serving his sentence in the prison, his wife who was very religious went to her Guru, explained the situation and asked for the Guru to help her husband to be freed. The Guru told her that by the grace of God, everything will be fine. The Guru further requested that he visits her husband at the prison. After a week, the Guru was granted permission and went to see the gentleman at the prison. The latter was so upset that he did not want to meet with the Guru in the first place. Finally, he accepted to meet with the Guru. The latter told him that he should believe in the grace of God and he will soon be a free man. The Guru gave him a prayer mat and asked him to do prayers daily and that in 3 weeks or so, he will be free. After the Guru left, the prisoner thought to himself how he is going to do prayers, he who has never prayed in his life. Nevertheless he opened the mat daily and looked at it. After 10 days or so, he realised that the design on the mat was in fact an escape plan from the prison. Thus after studying the plan on the mat he was able to find his way out of the prison and was a free person again.

Of course this is just a story, but it contains a fundamental message of how being in contact with saintly people we can find our path to liberation. Just being in the presence of Sants, Sages, Saadhus we experience the positive vibrations which make us live by the grace of God. Saguru Kabir Saheb taught us to find God in the form of Saadhus and Sants.

“Jo Chaahe saakaar tou, Saadhu partach dev
Niraakaar nij roop hai, prem priti se sev”

God is formless (niraakaar) so we cannot see Him; but if we want to see God in form (saakaar), then meet with Saadhus/Sants. They have all the divine qualities that God has. Sants grace us by their presence and bring relief and happiness to us. Just like in the story, Sants unlock the door to liberation for us. It is our duty to perform selfless service to them. Their grace in indescribable yet immensely beneficial to us.

Mahant Jay Jaggessur
Kabir Association of Toronto, Canada

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Satguru Kabir Saheb and the Indian Constitution

Satguru Kabir Saheb

and the Indian Constitution

Shri Hazur 1008 Ardhnam Saheb, a monk who studied at the Banaras Hindu University and obtained his Shastri and Sanskrit Philosophy degrees previously known as Vijay Das, was appointed in 2007 as the eighteenth Acharya of Satguru Prakatya Dham, Kabir Bagh, Varanasi. Shri Hazur Saheb visited Surrey from August 24 to September 2, 2017. He delivered three Parvachans at the Kabir Association Canada situated at 14473, 58   Avenue Surrey. Dr. J. Das, President, Kabir Association, invited me for one of the Parvachans on August 24. For me it was an opportunity to listen to the teachings of Sadguru Kabir Saheb. Kabir’s teachings are evergreen and very much relevant even today. I spoke on “Satguru Kabir Saheb and the Indian Constitution” a subject somewhat new and unknown to many.

The Constitution describes India as a secular and welfare State and guarantees certain Fundamental Rights to all citizens. The Directive Principles of State Policy further strengthen the concept of a welfare State as they are to be borne in mind while making laws and implementing them. Social welfare and wellbeing of all the citizens are the essence of the Indian Constitution. In this context the teachings of Satguru Kabir Saheb are quite relevant even if these were preached in the 14th. Century. Kabir perceived certain ideals to be the first foot- steps on the path to a welfare state and to eradicate inhuman exploitative practices during that time. He was not only a religious teacher but also a social reformer for Hindu-Muslim unity, equality of caste and gender and, at the same time, a revolutionary against the blind faith in the forms of illogical practices and rituals performed both by the Hindus and the Muslims. To sum up, as an enlightened visionary, he advocated a new social order on the basis of Equality, Liberty and Fraternity.

Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, the Chief architect of the Indian Constitution was greatly influenced by the lives and teachings of the Buddha, Kabir and Jyotiba Phule. Dr. Ambedkar was brought up in a family who were the followers of Satguru Kabir. From his childhood Dr. Ambedkar was well aware of the significant role Satguru Kabir played in awakening the consciousness of the ignorant masses. Dr. Ambedkar enshrined the essence of Kabir’s teachings in the Constitution. Kabir’s logic and Ambedkar’s scientific approach are the same. Right to Equality is an important Fundamental Right provided in Articles 14 – 18 of the Constitution. Article 15 states that no person shall be discriminated on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.

“Kabira khada bazar mein, sab ki mange khair.

Na kahu se dosti, na kahu se bair.”

Kabir stands in the open market place and impartially wishes the welfare of all. He is neither a friend nor a foe to anyone. All are equal to him. It is worthwhile to note that Kabir is not making a sermon from a temple, mosque or a Dera but from a place easily accessible to everyone. Market is a place frequently visited by all irrespective of religion, caste, gender and social status.

On Equality, Kabir further teaches:

Awal Allaah noor Upaaya Kudrat ke sab bande.

Ek noor te sab jag upjaya, kaun bhale kaun mande. Kabir logically emphasized that everyone is the creation of God. All are equal to Him. The division and classification of the society is man made and is in violation of the Law of the Supreme. How beautifully Kabir said on gender equality: Nari ninda na karo, nari ratan ki khaan. Nari se nar hot hai, Dhruv, Prahlad samaan.

Further the Constitution enumerates the Right to Liberty. Kabir, throughout his life, practiced the liberty of thought, expression and profession. He took the liberty to exhort both the Hindus and the Muslims about their way of worship:

Pathar puje Ram mile, to mein puju pahar.

Tate chakki bhali, pees khai sansar.

Also: Kankar pathar jor ke, masjid lai banai.

Uppar chad mulla bang de, bahra hua khudai?

Kabir loved his profession, thought to be low, till his last.

How beautifully Kabir Saheb described Fraternity (Prem: love) in his following Dohas:

“ Poothi padh padh jag mua, Pandit bhayo na koye

Dhai aakhar prem ke, jo padhe so pandit hoye.”

“ Kabir yeh ghar prem ka, khala ka ghar nahin

Sees utaare hath kar, so pasey ghar mahin”

Reading and writing do not make any one wise, but love, harmony and tolerance are required to be wise. This land is a house of love. It is not your Aunt’s house. Only those who have dropped hatred and ill-will can stay here. Fraternity among all citizens is required. It is an attitude of respect and reverence towards all human beings. In her book ‘A Weaver Named Kabir’ Professor Charlotte Vaudeville stated, “Kabir is one of the best-known and most revered names in Indian tradition. From the Panjab to Bengal and from the Himalayan frontiers to South India, he has long been hailed by Hindus and Muslims alike as a great mystic and bold religious reformer….In Indian religious history, Kabir is unique: to the Hindus, he is a Vaishnava bhakta, to the Muslims a pir, to the Sikhs a bhagat, to the sectarian Kabir-panthis an avatar of the Supreme Being; to modern patriots, Kabir is the champion of Hindu-Muslim unity, to neo-vedantins a promoter of the Universal Religion or the Religion of Man…” He was, as he once said himself, the son of Allah and of Ram.

Zile Singh

Ambassador (Retd.)

 

Kabir, Ambedkar, Indian Constitution, Allah, Ram, Hazur Ardh Nam, Hindu-Muslim Unity.

 

 

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