TEACHING OF THE MASTERS #6

TEACHING OF THE MASTERS #6 

The omnipotence of God has been mentioned previously but not discussed. Omnipotence in Hindi is sarv shaktiman. The word is derived from the Latin omni (all) and potentia (power, energy). In this essay we will look at what omnipotence is so that we can form some idea of this ‘all power’ and how it operates in the universe. I must admit here that I am not a physicist, so the discussion would be simple and, hopefully, understandable by the average reader.

Energy was mentioned before. We would now discuss it in more detail. Scientists say that energy manifests in four ways – gravitation, electromagnetism, strong force and weak force. Gravitation is what gives us weight, and this is due to the fact that gravitational force attracts two or more bodies of matter towards one another. The earth’s gravity acts on all things so they all have weight. Each one of us also pulls on the earth due to this gravitational force, but we are so small that our pull on the earth is negligible. The force of attraction between any two bodies of matter is proportional to their masses, but this attraction decreases when they are farther apart. The farther apart two bodies are, the less is the gravitational pull. So the very heavy space vehicle on earth becomes weightless in space. That is how the space station remains in orbit. You may be familiar from watching television that astronauts float around in their shuttle in earth orbit due to weightlessness. Another example would be a person’s weight on the moon that has about one/sixth the mass of the earth. A person weighing 150 pounds on earth would weigh only 25 pounds on the moon. Just so all celestial bodies exert gravitational pull on one another, and they maintain a certain ‘balance’ by spinning in orbits. The orbital velocity balances the centripetal and centrifugal forces to keep them in their orbits. This gravitational force operates in the whole universe.

The second force is electromagnetic force. This force acts on electrically charged particles and holds electrons and protons together in atoms, and holds atoms together in molecules. Unlike electric charges attract, and like charges repel each other. Similarly, unlike magnetic poles attract and like poles repel each other. Electricity and magnetism act on each other so that a wire moving in a magnetic field will develop electricity, and also if a magnet is moved towards or away from the wire. The electromagnetic force operates in the atoms so that the electrons spin around the nucleus of the atoms, and that the protons are held together in the nucleus of the atoms. Atoms combine to form molecules due to this force. Molecules of the same kind that are held together form an element such as gold, copper, oxygen etc. Molecules of different kinds combine to form compounds such as sugar, flour, cement, medicines etc. All the matter in the universe consists of atoms and molecules in different combinations.

The other two forces are the strong and the weak that are in the nuclei of atoms. The strong force holds the subatomic particles, mostly quarks, together, and the weak force causes radioactive decay of atoms. Quarks are particles that are held together by the strong force to form protons and neutrons in the nuclei of atoms. The power contained in the nuclei of atoms is revealed in the nuclear bombs that can each destroy a city as happened in the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan by United States during the second world war.

Scientists theorize that all these four forces together arise from the unified force or unified field theory. This is not yet confirmed. Scientists also theorize that there is a ‘God particle’ (In 2012 this particle, the Higgs Boson, was discovered at CERN the large Hadron Collider under the French-Swiss Alps) that is fundamental to all manifestations. It is reasonable to say that all the energy or force in the universe must have a single source from which they manifest in different ways. We can call the ‘source’ God or the Absolute Being, or any other name, since God has nothing to do with what name we give to ‘Him’. Since all the energy in the universe is from God, we must admit that God is omnipotent. It is His omnipotence that keeps every particle, and every process and function, from the non-living to the living, working in harmony. We are part of the universe and take part in this universal harmony.

 

Dr. Jagessar Das

Omnipotence, God Particle, Energy, matter, Force, quarks

 

 

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INTERFAITH HARMONY

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TEACHING OF THE MASTERS #5

(Part of this was posted previously about karma. Here it is a continuation of a series.)

TEACHING OF THE MASTERS #5

Apart from the more metaphysical and transcendental subjects discussed previously, we would now look at a subject touching all of us all the time. Whether we choose to ignore it or pay attention to it is our choice. This is the Law of Karma. We would need to refer to the previous discussions from time to time to make a “rounded” whole of spirituality if, perchance, such a whole is possible. The Masters have laid a great emphasis on Karma, as we all know, that as we sow that is what we would reap. Guru Kabir said, “ped bowai babul ka, toh am kahan se hoi” (If you plant the thorny acacia tree how can you reap mangoes). This is also a scientific law that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Now let us look at karma and how it operates.

Life is full of conditions, events and life situations that are hard to understand. Sages, philosophers and scientists have tried to find answers with varying results, and the answers found by one are not usually the same as those found by the others. Thus, there are often different streams of thought regarding the same subject such as what is the mind or the soul? Who or what is God? Why is there suffering when God is supposed to be loving and caring? Why is there sin and virtue, or other pairs of opposites? These are some of the questions many people ask. Is there any reasonable answer to them?

Scientists dealing with matter and energy can produce consistent results when they use the same materials, under the same conditions, but they cannot produce the same results when they deal with the mind, soul, God and all the different occurrences and inequalities in life. Study of these subjects fall in the realm of psychology, philosophy, religion and spirituality. These disciplines also do not provide good answers until they delve into the law of cause and effect or the law of karma. This law states simply that we reap what we sow. Since all people do not sow the same things in thoughts, words and deeds, they will not reap the same results. It has to be understood that the law of karma transcends birth and death, and goes along with the eternal soul in an astral form as samskars or latent impressions that will manifest during each lifetime. It is because of these samskars that we see all the variations in every aspect of peoples’ lives from conception to death.

Keeping the above in mind, if we wish good things to happen, we have to do good things. We cannot have anger, hate, greed, violence, egoism, lust, jealousy and evil intentions and expect good results. Yet all people expect good things to happen to them, even when they display all the bad and negative behaviour. It simply will not happen. So the violence occurring in the world simply feeds itself in a self-perpetuating manner, as does all negative activities. Good and positive activities will also perpetuate themselves. Bad things in the world will cease only when they are replaced with good, and sufficient time is allowed for the negative karmas to work themselves out in peoples’ lives. This may take several lifetimes, but the start has to be made, otherwise there will be no progress in the positive direction. The good must be in thoughts, words and deeds. It all boils down to the fact that good will not produce bad, and bad will not produce good.

Considering the above, how do we decide what is good and what is bad? Different people can have different interpretations of good and bad. We give “value”, whether negative of positive, to everything in life. Whatever brings happiness, comfort, self-esteem, respect, enjoyment and good health we say is good. Whatever brings suffering, stress, depression, anxiety and illness we say is bad. We mould our behaviour according to the “value” we give to things, and according to our behaviour, we reap the fitting results, good or bad.

How do we change our behaviour? First, we need to assess our actions in thoughts, words and deeds and decide if they are good or bad, and make the necessary changes. This will require diligence and perseverance. Second, we need to seek the company of those who can guide us in the “good” direction. Third, we need to get in touch with the “source” of our being. That source is indescribably good, and has given the gift of life. That source is within each of us, but in order to tap into it we need to do a sincere and meaningful introspection. We would then begin to grasp the teaching of the Masters, and steer our life to liberation.

Dr. Jagessar Das

Surrey interfaith council

 

Karma, Teaching, Liberation, Introspection, Mind, Soul, God

 

 
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DIET AND HEALTH

Diet and Health

 

The word “Diet” asks, “Do I Eat That?”

It’s a question appropriate for mindful eating.

Since food is our lifelong sustenance,

It should not be a source of disease.

Yet increasing weight is a global problem,

And obesity is a cause of killer disease.

The excuse often made to assuage guilt:

“It’s my thyroid,” “It’s my slow metabolism.”

The real cause is conveniently ignored.

Think of lifestyles displayed by sedentary habits,

And overindulgence in calorie laden repasts.

Look at the first three letters in diet- D I E,

Should food be the cause of this demise?

But food can be the cause of one’s end,

Or at least the harbinger of disease,

And their attendant chronic morbidity.

Increasing body weight increases diabetes,

Heart disease, hypertension, and arthritis,

Strokes, gout, gallstones and sleep apnea.

But this is not the end of the list,

Since we have to add eleven types of cancers.

Add complications of these diseases,

And you are a veritable bundle of dis-ease.

The obese uses 18% more natural resources,

Though he has no clue that he does.

This would appear not to be fair use,

Of resources God has given equally to all.

Can food be blamed for overindulgence?

Not really! Food is equal unto all beings.

Is it craving or lack of self-control,

That pushes one to unneeded calories,

Whether from sugars and fats, or large servings?

What need is there for second helpings,

Or rich deserts that tantalize the taste buds?

Our health is in our own hands,

Or better yet, we can say in our own minds.

So let food serve its proper purpose,

To maintain life, health and wellbeing.

You can see then that DIET forbodes no ill,

But is a source of nutrients for health.

So with your next plate of delicious food,

Make sure you are mindful of D. I. E. T.

 

Dr. Jagessar Das

 

(….analyzing these 12 studies, the team determined that there was an association between body fat and 11 cancer sites: esophageal adenocarcinoma; multiple myeloma; and cancers of the gastric cardia, colon (in men), rectum (in men), biliary tract system, pancreas, breast (postmenopausal), endometrium (premenopausal), ovary, and kidney. (Medscape Family Medicine, Feb. 28, 2017)

 

 

 

 

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Environmental Ethics in Sant Kabir’s Philosophy

Views on Environmental Ethics in Sant Kabir’s Philosophy

The world of our experiences may be divided into two: The Given World and The Created World. There is something which is given to man, which he has not created, and there is something which he creates out of the given. (Prof. V. N. Jha, Dhimahi, pp. 118). Under this viewpoint we can say that the Environment that surrounds us is the given one. It may be for the worse or for the better than that of the present world. From times immemorial, irrespective of ages, humans have lived ‘in it’, ‘with it’ and created or invented many things ‘out of it’ that remained part of it, or as an independent entity, having a special identity. But we as human try to live ‘with it’, ‘in it’ and create ‘out of it’. And thus, it establishes a relationship between the environment and us. We are living ‘with it’ means that it is a separate entity with which we are living, and we may also live without it, and vise-versa. Whereas, living ‘in it’ means that we are a part of its totality, and we may also end with its end. And creating ‘out of it’ means we are adding value to our surrounding i.e. ‘Environment’. And in this way our relationship with the environment depends on the basic thought of our “identity” with the environment.

We can build relationships in many ways with the environment. But do we need to consider the ‘Environment’ through the lens of ethics? Do we think of Environment as an independent entity? Do we have any ethical relationship with it? How did our ancestors understand the ‘Environment’? Did they have the same problem as we are facing now?’ ‘Do we find answers for today’s problems in our ancient literature or philosophies?’

In this essay we limit ourselves to India, and not going beyond the medieval period of the ‘Bhakti Movement’, and with particular emphasis on the teachings of Sant Kabir.

Before we enter into a discussion of Sant Kabir’s view on Environmental Ethics, let us briefly look into the meaning of Environmental Ethics.

Environmental ethics is a newly developed philosophy. It deals with ‘Nature’ or ‘Environment’ yet, essentially, it talks about ‘Human’ relationships and concern with ‘Nature’. The American environmentalist, Aldo Leopold says, in his book ‘Sand County Almanac’ that, “We can be ethical only in relation to something that we can see, feel, understand, love or otherwise have faith in.” I Totally agree with Leopold’s statement. Yes, we are ethical only with what we see, feel, understand, love or have faith in. Obviously, we can see and feel the environment directly. But the question is HOW? The question can be understood by the discussions to follow.

To be continued.

Sudha J. Pandit

(Written when she was a Ph. D student,

University of Pune)

 

Kabir, Environment, Ethics, Relationship

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SPRING: THE RENEWAL OF LIFE

SPRING: THE RENEWAL OF LIFE
 
Springtime is quickly approaching in the northern hemisphere. What a magical time it is when life that lay dormant through the winter, is renewing itself to manifest in its varied beautiful form for the summer. Springtime symbolizes the renewal of life in nature. It lifts the spirit of people and they feel happier and more cheerful. In winter many people suffer the “winter blues”. Some research has shown that this is due to the decreased amount of sunlight that people have in winter. Many animals hibernate in the winter and become active again in spring. Trees that had lost all their leaves in the fall are now sprouting new shoots. The flowering bulbs such as crocus, tulips and daffodils are springing up to display their beautiful magic everywhere. The birds that had migrated to warmer climates are returning to their summer homes in the north. It is really a wonderful time when we can all anticipate the coming of summer and the “great outdoors.”
 
All of nature works in cycles. The seasons are cyclical. There is spring, summer, autumn and winter. Annual plants germinate, grow, and flower and then die. They germinate again from the seeds of last summer. Perennial plants enter a stage of dormancy in the winter, and spring to life in spring, and produce their flowers and fruits in the summer, and then decline in the fall, only to be renewed the next spring. These annual cyclical and seasonal changes are caused by the tilting of the earth on its axis, and as the earth goes around the sun once each year, the four seasons manifest themselves in the northern and southern hemispheres.
 
There are also cycles caused by the rotation of the earth every twenty-four hours. Thus we have darkness followed by sunrise, sun light, sunset then darkness again. Just so, there is darkness, moonrise, moonlight, moonset and then darkness. Just so, we have star-rise and star-set due to the rotation of the earth.
 
These cyclical changes have certain effects on humans. In the winter most people spend a great deal of time indoors. The summer tan of the skin fades into a winter pallor, only to be renewed next summer. People replace their summer games with winter games. People cannot grow fresh crops during the winter, so they eat foods grown in hothouses, imported, stored from the summer, either in bulk, or frozen, or preserved in other ways. Psychologically, people feel happy in the summer and gloomy in the winter. However, this psychological change that afflicts some people is partly caused by their own outlook or understanding of the cycles of nature. They need to develop equanimity of the mind, so that they do not have the various mood swings according to the changing seasons. Nature does its work in a harmonious way. We need to understand that, and not be affected in any negative way.
 
Humans also go through cyclical changes. More properly, I should say that the soul takes part in cycles manifesting as the human body. After life, there is death, and then there is life again, as the soul proceeds into another body. This is due to the Law of Karma that none of us can escape. A person starts life in infancy from innocence, and then grows into knowledge by awakening of the intellect, and then deteriorates, both physically and mentally, and enters a “second childhood” followed by death. This is followed in the next life as another cycle. It is important for us to understand that the Inner Sunlight that brightens our life in the summer, is entirely in our own hands. We must not allow the darkness of ignorance to overshadow the Sunlight that manifests from within us. That Sunlight is the Light of the Soul that is Divine in its attributes. This Sunlight can be realized by awakening from spiritual ignorance to spiritual enlightenment. How much of this we can accomplish depends upon our own dedication and application in purifying ourselves in thought, word, and deed, in living righteously, and in awakening into spiritual enlightenment. So, as the spring is soon to start outwardly in the Northern hemisphere, let it be symbolic of the spring that shines new light into our spiritual life!
 
Dr. Jagessar Das
 
www.kabir.ca
 
Spring, Renewal of life, Soul, Cycles, Seasons. Karma
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KAL AND NIRANJAN

KAL AND NIRANJAN

A devotee was questioning the role of Kal and Niranjan as is taught in some religious circles. It can be confusing. My explanation to him is perhaps not the ultimate, but it serves to keep my mind clear and focused. jd        

You have asked a lot of questions that need extensive explanations. But I will explain briefly to clarify some of them. You have read a lot of books, and they have become confusing.

You have read about Kal or Niranjan. Kal is time and death. Niranjan is the mind. Niranjan is also said to be the father of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Now Brahma is Rajoguna, Vishnu is Satoguna and Shiva is Tamoguna. These are qualities in all creation and all beings, including human beings. These gunas are from the beginning of creation. So you can say that they came from Parmatma.

It is better not to think of Kal as a great power somewhere in the universe that does harm to us. Kal and Niranjan, and all the gunas are in us, and they work though the mind. Birth and death are natural processes arranged by God, and are influenced by our karmas. We don’t even have to worry about Kal, Niranjan or any other powers. There are no powers greater than God’s power. So pay attention to your karmas in thought, words and actions. Clear your mind of all the confusing ideas, and do your meditation.

You also want to know about Ram, Krishna, and other prophets and their teachings, that they are creations of Kal. This depends on what you understand by Kal. Kabir Saheb said they are works of Kal. The scriptures taught by these great teachers or avatars, do not give you “Atma Gyan” or “Brahm Gyan” that give Moksha. No scripture in the world can give you Moksha. You have to seek a qualified guru who can teach you the way of life, of meditation, of study, and of realization of Reality, or God, or Brahm within yourself. Since they do not give you Moksha, but people spend a lot of time and effort on them, great teachers would say that they are all the work of Kal. People stick with the external practices and do not find the treasure that is within. To find this treasure within that Kabir Saheb called the “anbedha heera” all the scriptures become helpless.

When you study a subject in school, there are two parts to the subject, a theoretical part and a practical part. The theoretical part teaches you what to expect, and the practical part shows you how to get the result. Similarly, in religion, if you do not do the practical part, the scriptures will not give you the result.

Spiritual life is to realize who you are as the Spirit of God. This is the Atma, beyond birth and death. This Atma is the Real you. Meditate on this and give up your confusion.

Different religious groups will have different interpretations of religious teachings, and they can become confusing. It is better to have a holistic or overall view: God and Soul (Atma and Parmatma) are never separate. There is no power, not even Kal, that can break this connection.

I hope that you find this explanation helpful.

 

Dr. Jagessar Das

www.kabir.ca

Kal, Niranjan, Atma, Parmatma, Gyan, Brahm, Gunas

 

 

 

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INTERFAITH HARMONY

How Can Interfaith Communication Enhance Harmony?

  1. U. N. Interfaith Harmony Week, Feb. 1 – 7

 The global clergy Association in partnership with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints celebrated the United Nations interfaith harmony week on February 4, 2017. The theme of the conference was “How Can Interfaith Communication Enhance Harmony?” The church is located at 10122 140Street, Surrey.

 Dr. Das made the following power point presentation on the topic:

 What is Communication?

A conversation full of pleasantries is most often devoid of useful information, whereas communication is meant only for the exchange of information.

APJ Kalam (former president of India)

 Means of Communication

Communication is by:

Action, Words, Mind, Spirit

Action Communication

  • Action:
  • Invite people of other faiths to your place of worship. Visit other places of worship
  • Start a phone circle with people of other faiths
  • Share meals with people of other faiths
  • Share your skills with those of other faiths
  • Plan picnics or other outings with them

    Verbal Communication

  • Words:
  • Use words that are inclusive and friendly
  • Exchange teachings of your faith with friendly, open minds. No attempt to claim superiority
  • Avoid criticisms or condescending remarks
  • Your words must be welcoming and put others at ease 

    Mental Communication

  • Mind:
  • Acceptance of people of other faiths as equal to you
  • Know that people of all faiths are on their spiritual journey just as you are
  • Let your attitude towards them be one of love, cordiality and understanding
  • Be positive towards others. Send positive vibrations. Create positive karmas for yourself.

    Spiritual Communication

  • Spiritual:
  • People of all faiths are spiritual beings
  • The spirit is the same in all people and can never be differentiated
  • Pray for the welfare of people of all faiths
  • Read the scriptures of all faiths with an open mind
  • Be neutral towards the ritual observances of others 
  • MEDITATE – find the Reality within
  • The same Reality is in all beings, human and non-human
  • In whatever life is manifesting, there is Reality
  • Reality is Consciousness. Consciousness is the attribute of God
  • Therefore see the commonality of all. You are in it just as “they” are

    What is Religion?

  • Religions are a negative force when they fight among themselves, but they can become a positive force when they work together
  • Remember religion is to unite, not divide. From Latin: re=again, ligare=to unite. Let us all be true to our re-ligion and live in HARMONY

  Quotes to Remember

  • Quotations:
  • God builds His temple in the heart on the ruins of churches and religions….Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • He who does not find a temple in his own heart, will not find his heart in any temple – Mikhail Naimy
  • The gift of religion exceeds all gifts; the sweetness of religion exceeds all sweetness; the delight of religion exceeds all delight; the extinction of thirst overcomes all things – Lord Buddha
  • Religion is the manifestation of divinity in man – Swami Vivekananda
  • Be Divine. Live in Universal Harmony!

 Credits

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RELIGIOUS ETIQUETTE

There are certain types of etiquette that are appropriate at certain places. In a marketplace it is normal to a move about, talk, shop, and come and go whenever you please. At a party, you are also free to enter into discussions, to eat and drink, and move about. In an open house, you may come and go as you please. The same behavior is not appropriate in a place of worship. You go to a place of worship in order to elevate yourself spiritually. Many people, however, do not go to their respective temples with a devotional attitude, and do not derive the spiritual benefit that should result from their going to their temples.

Going to a place of worship is a spiritual activity, and one must go with a devotional attitude, and with humility. Otherwise such an activity is a waste of time, effort and money. But to cultivate such an attitude, means that one needs to have a spiritual outlook in life on a daily basis. If this is not the case, then it is difficult to cultivate it on the day one goes to church for one or two hours. I feel that this is an important reason why religions do not have much effect in the lives of their followers. Along with this devotional attitude, there are certain behaviors that need to be observed.

It is common to note that when people go to temples, many go quite late, sometimes near the end of the program. Some will leave during the program, while others will walk back and forth. Children are often not supervised, and they create a disturbance. Some go to the temples to socialize, not remembering that they have about 66 hours a week in which to fit in social activities. It is an insult to God, to the temple, to the priest or other religious personality, to the preacher, and to the rest of the congregation if you are not attentive, and carry on a conversation, or move about and do not supervise the children. If such is the case, then it is better to stay home or go to the market.

The following is a list of conduct that will generally be appropriate in a religious life:

  1. Go to church or temple on time, and leave at the end of the program, unless it is urgent to leave before.
  2. Maintain peace, and do not move about. Have respect and pay attention to what is going on, and participate as necessary.

3   Leave your ego outside the door. Humility is essential in a religious life. When you are      leaving, make sure that your ego does not jump back into your heart.

  1. It is not enough to bow down at the altar, at the Murtis and the Guru Granth Saheb. You need to have love and devotion in the heart.
  1. Always treat your seniors, religious people and guests with respect and honor. Do not let your ego, even unconsciously, put you ahead of them.
  1. When serving food or other items, always serve the holy people, seniors and guests first before serving yourself. This will show your humility and patience.
  1. Always wash your hands before handling or eating food. It is a good habit for hygiene and health. Medically, it is known that washing the hands helps prevent the spread of disease.
  1. When serving food do not let your serving spoon touch the plate, especially if one is eating from it.
  1. When serving yourself in a buffet lineup, do not start eating while you are still serving yourself. It is bad manners and is not hygienic.
  1. When sharing prasad, wash your hands first, or use a spoon to maintain cleanliness of the blessed item.
  1. Make offerings to temples, ashrams, service organizations and other nonprofit groups that help to promote human welfare.
  1. Practice cleanliness of your clothes, body, mind, home, environment and places of worship. You have heard it said that cleanliness in next to Godliness.
  1. Conserve natural resources, energy, food, water and other useful items. Do not be wasteful. There is a great deal of wastage of these items in the developed countries.
  1. Spend some time in reading and study to gain knowledge and wisdom that will improve your life. Thirty minutes of meditation in the morning is a great spiritual practice.
  1. Practice nonviolence in thoughts, words and deeds. Have reverence for life. Violence has not place in a spiritual life.
  1. Have love for one another and for all of God’s creation.
  1. Let your karmas be noble. Life is like a school. We will need to graduate and obtain a “spiritual certificate” before we leave this world.

This article is meant to remind all of us that we must be vigilant in our religious and spiritual life, and not make it a hollow show of devotion.

 

Dr. Jagessar Das

www.kabir.ca

Etiquette, temple, church, worship, spiritual, religion

 

 

 

 

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TEACHING OF THE MASTERS #4

Previously, matter and energy were discussed briefly, and spirit was mentioned. Actually, spirit is the basis of all existence in the universe. Spirit has no form, location, dimension or any other measurable property, yet it is the greatest force in the universe. And since energy is involved in every ‘activity’ or motion in the universe, we can say that spirit is the basis for the manifestation of all other forms of energy. In this part we will discuss spirit manifesting in us, and try to understand how it can be used to overcome tragedies affecting the world 

In order to understand the problems of the world, it is necessary to understand the human being. How does a person understand himself and his relationship to others? Is he merely a physical being that possesses a mind, emotions and intellect, or is he, perhaps, a spiritual being, possessing these attributes? Ordinarily, we see people as individuals with their individual personalities, likes and dislikes, motivations, aspirations, behavior and so forth, and accept them at that level. We do not see people at the deeper level, that they are spirit. Is it not valid to say that we are spirit that possesses the body, mind, emotions and intellect? If we look at people as spiritual beings, then we would realize that this spirit is of the same essence in all of them. We can say that the spirit of God dwells in all beings. This allows us to see our brotherhood in all. But in order to understand the spirit we need to examine our sense of ‘being’.

In every person, there is a sense of being, a sense of awareness of the self. A person instinctively knows that he ‘is’ and that he ‘exists.’ This knowledge manifests in two ways: #1 – the physical, external and superficial awareness of the self as the body with a form, a name, a race, and a gender, and other external characteristics, and #2 – the spiritual, internal and deep sense of awareness of the self that cannot be defined by any external characteristics. The first is common knowledge to all humans, and people will describe themselves with the external, physical characteristics. If someone is asked: “Who are you?” the person will most likely respond by giving his name, or his profession, or his relationship to a significant person. This is how he observes himself, and also how others observe him. He fits into a label that has been fostered by himself, his family, society and religion. For nearly all practical purposes, this definition of a person is adequate, and places him in a context, which he, himself, and others readily perceive and understand. However, this definition does not persist under all circumstances, as we shall see.

If the knowledge of the self were dependent on the physical being, then this knowledge should change with changes in the physical being. In childhood, there is a total awareness of being, and this same awareness persists throughout growth into adulthood, old age and even up to the time of death. The knowledge of being or existence remains constant, though the body has undergone significant changes. Another example: A person weighs 150 lbs and has an awareness of his being. He now gains 150 lbs and weighs 300 lbs. His awareness of being still remains the same. Now if he loses 100 lbs his knowledge of being still remains the same. It did not double with doubling the weight, nor did it decrease by reducing the weight. We can see then that the self does not depend on the physical aspects of a person. There must then be another attribute by which to understand a person’s being. This is where the second or spiritual attribute enters.

 There is an underlying basis by which the self becomes aware of being. This basis is non-physical but spiritual in nature. This attribute is called the spirit, or the soul or the Divine Spark that gives life. It is on the basis of this that a person has his physical existence, and is described by external characteristics. In spiritual life, we need to understand the immanent, self-existent soul that is connected with Infinite Being i.e. God. It is this connection with God that is the same for all people, though agnostics and atheists may not agree. This realization confers brotherhood, harmony, love, peace and unity.

Now, returning to the problems of the world, if people can see the basic unity of the self as spirit that is the same in all beings, then people will see themselves ‘reflected’ in other beings. It is like looking into a mirror and seeing the reflection of your physical self. Spiritual knowledge will allow the spirit to be reflected from and in each living being

Some people may argue that a spiritual life like this is not practical, and that the physical is the practical way. If we look throughout history, we would find that the purely physical has not brought about the desired state that we would like. We also know instinctively that if we live the spiritual life, then the world will certainly be a much better place. Dedicated spiritual people have achieved a great deal of peace, love and harmony, and they have shared these with other people. If all people would develop the same attributes as spiritual people, then we can indeed have a better world. All the current violent problems externally, and the problems internally, will definitely decrease or be abolished. We would then begin to understand and live according to the teaching of the masters.

Dr. Jagessar Das

www.kabir.ca

Masters, Awareness, Spirit, Knowledge of Being

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