ABORTION: Pro-life or Pro-choice?

The supreme court of the US has just overturned laws that restricted abortions. The logic is that a woman has the choice to control her own body. That is called Pro-choice. Would it not be a better choice if she chose not to get pregnant by using one of several contraceptive methods available? I do not think that choosing abortion and destroying a potential first class world citizen is a good choice.

The abortion issue is a very emotional one especially in North America and other developed countries. It has often become a political issue and is debated in the governments of countries. It is also the cause of confrontations between those who are pro-life, and those who are pro-choice. Many abortions used to be for the mother’s health. Most of the women who undergo abortions will not suffer severely, if allowed to proceed with their pregnancies. Most of the problems have a way of being solved by making a mental adjustment to the fact. Support is also available from family members and other support groups through counseling, financial aid and temporary shelter, etc.

Many reasons are given for requiring an abortion. A frequently given reason is the wellbeing of the mother-to-be. She is often depressed, or suffers anxiety and remorse. These problems can be dealt with reasonably well through counseling, emotional support and medication. There are much worse cases of depression and mental suffering in non-pregnant women and men, and they are dealt with through counseling, medication and other support systems. Another reason often given is financial. Either one or both parents are unemployed, or that they have too many bills to pay, or that there is just not enough money to support an additional child. Although there is poverty in the affluent countries, it is not likely that anyone will starve, have no clothing, or a dwelling place. Help is available through government and other social agencies. Economic adjustments can be made, and are made everyday, by people to meet changing circumstances in their lives. Another reason offered is damage to a future career. I have known young women who have decided to have their babies, even though it meant changes in their future plans. The parents of most of these young women have been very supportive, and have helped to take care of their babies. The babies could also be given up for adoption, without unduly interfering with the young women’s future plans. In North America there is a great shortage of babies for childless couples, who have to wait a number of years before any chance of having a baby, and even then many do not have a chance at all, unless they adopt from a third world country. Sometimes, abortion is used as a method of birth control for those who choose to be careless about contraception. It is not uncommon to find a woman undergoing two or three abortions. Abortions, required because of incest and rape, are really very few.

Sometimes the reason for seeking an abortion is the physical health of the mother. Such reasons would include cancer, heart disease, kidney disease, among others. The majority of these women can go through with their pregnancies with careful medical supervision. Some time ago, one of my patients had one of her breasts removed because of cancer, which had already spread to her lymph glands. She became pregnant shortly afterwards and she decided to keep her baby. She had a beautiful child whom she loved a great deal. She underwent chemotherapy. She died, but that baby was indeed fortunate to be granted life.

When women think that they need an abortion, and can be persuaded to forego it, they are happy and thankful. Once the baby is born the parents fall in love with the newborn. I have patients whom I have been able to dissuade from having an abortion. After their babies were born, they were happy and thankful that they did not have an abortion.

To understand the issue of abortion it is important to keep in mind certain generally accepted principles:

  1. Life is sacred. Every living thing, no matter how insignificant they may appear to us, wishes to maintain its life.
  1. A person will not undergo an operation to remove a healthy organ such as appendix, gallbladder, spleen, kidney, or even a finger. An abortion is a surgical procedure dealing with a normal process within the uterus. It would appear to be illogical to undergo a surgical operation to remove what is normal in the body.
  1. The fewer the babies that are born, the fewer will be the young people in the world. The elderly population will proportionately increase. This places a greater burden on society and government resources to look after an aged population. The elderly will increasingly be put in nursing and senior citizens’ homes away from loved ones.
  1. Every action will have a reaction. This is known as the Law of Karma. The more negative the action, the greater the negative consequences the person must face. In generally accepted laws of life, an abortion is definitely not a positive spiritual action. People who seek abortions know that there is a developing life. It only needs a maturing of the physical components of its body in order to manifest that life.
  1. All souls are born into a physical body for a certain reason. That reason is to unfold to a higher level of consciousness, and also to endure whatever must come to that soul because of its previous karmas. All things in nature tend towards growth and unfoldment of their potential. By an abortion that emerging soul is deprived from fulfilling its life as Divinely ordained.
  1. Every living being manifests the spirit of God. God is Omnipresent and is thus within the fetus, and in the mother. That Consciousness expresses itself through the soul that is given the opportunity to assume a physical body. The spirit of God is present from the moment of conception because without it conception and growth are not possible. Actually, conception takes place solely because the soul is exactly matched with the parents to be, and with all the circumstances of time, place, relations and other conditions, so that all karmic consequences are fulfilled according to the Divine Law of Karma. Those who seek abortions are ignorant of this fundamental law of God, and that He is never, even momentarily, separated from every living being. The soul embodied in the fetus has always existed, and is only undergoing one of its ‘phases’ in an Eternal existence. The soul, which is of God, cannot be destroyed any more than energy can be destroyed. The soul needs only maturity of its developing organs in order to maintain a separate existence from the mother. The soul does not ‘enter’ into the body with the first breath, nor does the soul enter the body at any time during fetal development. The soul is ever present from conception, and it must be allowed to manifest through a body in order to work out its karmas according to Divine plan.

Abortion is widely practiced in many parts of the world and countless potential humans are destroyed. In 2005, Canada had 97,000 abortions, and in 2010 it had 64,000 abortions. Canada has only 34,000,000 people. Can you imagine the number of abortions in the world? Here are figures from WHO, “According to WHO, “Every year in the world there are an estimated 40-50 million abortions. This corresponds to approximately 125,000 abortions per day.” (See link <http://www.worldometers.info/abortions/>

A more logical way of controlling birth would be proper practice of contraceptive methods that are widely available today. If a pregnancy results, the mother-to-be and society should welcome that pregnancy, and if the mother is really incapable of caring for the baby, then offer that baby up for adoption to some unfortunate, childless couple who are yearning to have a baby. Much less violence will be perpetrated, and all people will develop a greater reverence and empathy for life. This will inevitably result in a nobler way of living, and one that will karmically bring less negative effects in life. This is the whole purpose of human life – to grow mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

May God’s blessings be with you and may His Spirit be allowed to manifest life in this world.

Dr. Jagessar Das

dasj.kabir@gmail.com

www.kabir.ca

 

 

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CULTURE AND TRADITION

People’s lives are governed by traditions that are stories, beliefs, customs, practices, etc. handed down from generation to generation. They have the effect of an unwritten law, and are observed in different ways by different people who belong to different religions, cultures, countries, or different groups or societies. Traditions are interwoven with religion and culture and even with politics. They are observed almost automatically without much thought given to their origin, necessity, usefulness or obsolescence. However, people do follow traditions, so it will be useful to take a look at traditions in general.

Traditions have their origin from ancient times, but traditions also develop to satisfy changing human needs, development, value-systems and experiences. A tradition may first be formulated by some authority figure, then followed by other people, and then handed down orally from generation to generation. Some traditions are entirely stories, but other traditions involve doing something such as religious rites and ceremonies. Some traditions will dictate a certain type of art or architecture, such as classical music or painting, or Gothic cathedrals, or building tall spires on churches. Some cultures wear dark clothing as a sign of mourning whereas others will wear white. Still others accept white as a symbol of purity and dark as a symbol of impurity. The changing of guards in front of Buckingham Palace has become an established tradition. Going to church on Sundays is also a tradition. The unwritten religious code and doctrine handed down from Moses is a tradition for the Jews. Similarly, the unwritten teachings handed down by Jesus and his apostles form a tradition. Various religious rites and ceremonies amongst Hindus and Buddhists have become established traditions. The covering of the head in some churches and temples and not in others also forms a tradition. Eating certain types of foods at certain times during celebrations are also traditions. It is often difficult to determine when a tradition got started. It has, however, taken on a motive force and has continued to be practiced in various ways by various groups of people. Any attempt to flout a tradition can bring on severe consequences, such as being expelled from a group, or being chastised or punished in other ways. Even sin and hell may be pronounced on someone who breaks certain traditions.

It is important to realize, however, that man has created traditions. In turn, man has become enslaved by his own created traditions. He often does not know the origin or the reason for the traditions but he, nevertheless, conscientiously practices his traditions. How can anyone judge whether the tradition he is practicing is really the right tradition, or if it will produce the desired results? It is well known that many people follow traditions unquestioningly and often gullibly, and people following other traditions will often ridicule those who follow other traditions. They themselves, however, are also caught up in the same trap of traditions.

It is obvious that traditions help to maintain unity and identity in a certain group, religion or society. However, traditions tend to be static but the human mind, consciousness and spirit are not static. They are continually evolving. Should not traditions also evolve to keep pace with the evolving mind and consciousness of humanity? Can’t there be a universal tradition?

Because traditions depend on human value-systems, languages, religious affiliations, cultures, etc., it will be difficult to have a universal tradition. Yet, many values and needs are common to all people. These are the need for love, respect, fulfillment, worship of a Divine Being and other basic necessities of life such as food, clothing, shelter, etc. In other words, basic humanity remains the same. Life remains the same. The soul remains the same. God remains the same. The whole earth remains the same. It is thus important to realize that although traditions vary, they should not take on a greater importance than those values that are common to humanity. God is not interested in people’s traditions. He is interested in people’s basic humanity, motivated by a quest for purity and spiritual enlightenment. Let us thus rise above traditions and see life as a unity with God being at the center.

 

Dr. J. Das

dasj.kabir@gmail.com

 

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OUTER AND INNER WORSHIP

There are two kinds of worship – Outer and Inner. People of all religions take part in one or the other. However, most religious people will engage in the outer form. In the outer form, there are:

  1. Places of worship: church, temple, mosque, gurdwara, a holy shrine etc.
  2. Scriptures: Quran, Bible, Torah, Guru Granth, Gita, Buddhist Canon, etc.
  3. Prayers: Every religion has a number of prayers in various languages. They are directed to God or to the founder of the religion, or to some saint, in order to derive some type of benefit.
  4. Rituals: People of the different religions have their prescribed rituals to propitiate various gods and goddesses, or to powers of nature, in order to gain some benefit.
  5. Repetition and chanting: There are certain sacred words or mantras that religious people will recite, sing or chant with or without music, or the use of a rosary (mala).
  6. Pilgrimages: Devotees of the various religions have certain holy shrines, temples, rivers, mountains, relic sites or saintly abodes, where they go on pilgrimages, and feel that they have derived spiritual benefit.
  7. Fasting: Different religions have different days or months for fasting, often based on     the lunar calendar. During fasting, people try to purify their thoughts, words and deeds. They try to become more spiritual.

There are of course other forms of outer worship depending on the religion e.g. ancestor worship, idol worship, scripture worship etc. The common denominator in all of these types of worship is that they are external. They depend on a place, use of articles, a language, a travelling, a use of money, a holy personage, a congregation, a priest, music etc. The mind and senses are generally interacting externally. The mind may even wander and not be in tune with the worship. The worship may become mechanical (empty rituals), and not taken to heart. The anticipated benefit may not follow, since the worship has not created a change in the heart. People may spend a lifetime in such worship and show no spiritual growth. This is regrettable.

Now let us look at Inner Worship. The mind and the senses are withdrawn from all external things, and turned inwards. You no longer worship outwardly as described above. You now control the mind and its thought waves and, in stillness, centre the mind on consciousness of the soul and God’s presence within. Certain inner values need to be developed:

  1. Deep feeling of love and unity with God.
  2. Deep feeling of unity with all beings.
  3. Surrendering the ego and developing humility.
  4. Surrendering all material possessions to God, and be like a manager of all that you possess, and use them wisely.
  5. Develop a non-violent nature towards all living beings.
  6. Meditate with a pure mind, free from all passions, and realize your true and eternal nature as the soul. You transcend the body consciousness. Soul and God are always united, and there is no duality. Atma is eternal, and Paramatma is eternal Atma, so both are the same in spiritual nature. This is enlightenment or liberation, or moksha. Satguru Kabir said to Dharam Dass: dharam dass pat khol dekho tattva men nihatattva hai; kahe kabir nihatattva darse awagawan newarie (O Dharam Dass, remove the veil and see that in the body made of the five elements is the Being beyond the elements. When you realize that which is beyond the elements, then you will be free of birth and death).

In worship, you need to look at the mind. Does the mind have pure thoughts? It is the mind with thoughts that make you do things. In outer worship, your mind is going outward, concentrating outward: You see and hear things outside. You are looking at that temple, or at that mountain. You are interacting outward all the time. But in inner worship the mind goes inwards. You withdraw your senses from the outside, and begin to purify the mind, character, conduct, habits, desires, and tastes, and improve yourself in every way possible. You do all of these through the mind. But first you have to know the path to get there.

People all over the world are doing the outer worship anyway. But how many do the inner worship, and touch the soul by going into meditation? When you withdraw your mind from the outside and bring it inside, then you will find that that is where God dwells. You concentrate on a point between the eyebrows with eyes closed. This point is the trikuti, or spiritual eye. When you withdraw your mind from everything outside, and centre it there, then you will find there is nothing outside of you anymore; you are not aware of anything. Your mind is totally concentrated in your own self as pure consciousness. When you reach that state of inner consciousness, there is only peace. When you get in touch with the soul, there is no hate, greed, jealousy, or violence. All these are discarded, because the soul is free of them. The soul is pure. But the soul is trapped in the body, and the body is trapped by the senses, passions, desires and ego. The body makes you do all kinds of wrong things, but when the mind is pure, it can control the body to do the right things. But the mind has a controller too; it is called intellect or buddhi. When the buddhi acts on the mind, the mind does the right things. When the mind does the right things, then the body will begin to do the right things. When the body does the right things, your conduct will become right. Then you will realize the merit of meditation. When you experience meditation, then you will understand what Guru Kabir said: bund samana samund men, janat hai sab koi; samund samana bund men, jane birla koi. When your soul, like a drop of water mixing with the ocean, connects with God, and God connects with the soul, the two become one. Hardly does anyone realize this. Again Guru Kabir said: jal men kumbh, kumbh me jal hai, bahar bhitar pani, phute kumbh jal jalahi samana, aisa gyan birle jani. A jar is in the ocean, and water is in the jar; break the jar and both waters become one. Just so, when you transcend the body and ego, you will find that the soul and God are already united. Get rid of the idea of only the material life, and know that you are a spiritual being and have right understanding. When you get right understanding and knowledge, you will realize your connection with God, and all the barriers will break, and you will be free. You will have spiritual knowledge. But you are not getting it because you are too busy doing outward worship; you do not have time for inner worship.

From the above discussion it becomes clear that outer worship is good, but it does not confer the inner awakening of knowledge that sets you free. The whole world is suffering due to negative karmas. Guru Kabir said: jahan dekha mai duhkiya dekha; sukhiya dekha na koi. (Everywhere we look, we see suffering; we do not see true happiness). If we wish to have peace and happiness, then the inner path is the way to go.

 

Dr. J. Das

dasj.kabir@gmail.com

www.kabir.ca

 Worship, Rituals, Meditation, Suffering, Kabir, God

 

 

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SATGURU KABIR

SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICANT FACTS ABOUT SATGURU KABIR

                           On The Occasion Of His 618th Jayanti

The name KABIR means very great

Kabir Saheb appeared in Lahartara Lake amongst lotus flowers in 1398. About 6 KM outside Varanasi.

Swami Ashtanand was meditating and he saw a beam of light descending on the lake. He Reported to Swami Ramanand who understood what it meant.

Kabir Saheb said that he came from the Unconditioned State (avigat) to liberate the people. (ab ham avigat se chale aye, koi bhed marm nahin paye. na ham janme garbh basera, balak hoi dekhlaye…. )

SANT GARIB DAS SAID:

Gagan mandal se utare, satguru satya kabir,
Jalaj mahi poudhan kiye, dou din ke pir.)
(Satguru Satya Kabir descended from the heavens.
He lay among the lotus flowers, and was the Pir (guru) of both religions.

WEAVER/POET:

-Foster parents – Niru and Nima who were Julaha (weavers)

-Kabir was a weaver and he sold cloth in the market.

-He was a gifted poet, though he never went to school, nor did he write anything.

-Composed Ramainis, Shabdas, Bhajans, Sakhis and others with deep spiritual meanings.

DISCIPLES:

-Disciples gathered around him to hear his teachings, and memorized them.

-Chief disciple was Dhani Dharam Dass, a wealthy businessman.

-Kamal and Kamali whom he revived after their death.

-Much of the teachings consist of dialogues or questions from Dharam Dass, and the Satguru answers.

SPIRITUAL STATUS:

-Father of Hindi poetry

-Started Nirgun Bhakti (Devotion to God beyond form and attributes)

-Initiator of modern Sant tradition (Santmat)

-Emphasized Sahaj Yoga – Sahaj Samadhi

-Taught vegetarianism – non-violence and non-killing towards all beings

-Taught Inner path to God realization

-Master of Surat Shabd Yoga

-A social reformer in India who denounced the caste system
-For Hindus- Vaishnava Bhakta
-For Muslims- Pir
-For Sikhs- Bhagat
-For Patriots- Champion of Hindu-Muslim unity
-For Vedantists- Promoter of Universal Religion
(The last six are from Charlotte Vaudeville in “A Weaver Named Kabir”)

ESSENTIAL TEACHINGS:

-We are spiritual beings and God is in all of us:

-Sab ghat mere saiyan, suni sej na koi…. (God dwells in every heart; no one is devoid of Him).

-Tere saheb hai ghat mahi, bahar naina kyon khole (Your Master is in you. Why do you look elsewhere?).

-Pavak rupi saiyan sab ghat rahe samai…. (God is like the fire in the flintstone. Your consciousness does not ignite so it keeps going out).

-Ghat ghat vaha sain ramta, katuk bach mat bole….(God is in every heart. Do not speak cruel words).

BIRTH/DEATH:

-Jab ham paida hue, jag hanse ham roye….(Earn good karmas so at death you are happy while others mourn).

-Jis marne se jag dare, mere man anand….(Death that scares people makes me happy. It takes me to the state of eternal bliss).

-Marte marte jag muwa, maran na jane koi….(Everybody dies without knowing how. Die in such a way that you do not have to die again).

-After his “death” in Maghar, only flowers were found under the shroud. His body was never found.

IMPORTANCE OF GURU:

-Ramanand Swami was Guru of Kabir Saheb.

-Ram krishna se ko bada, unahun toh guru kinh….(Ram and Krishna were great in the three worlds but they bowed at the feet of the guru).

-Guru saman data nahi yachak shish saman….(There is no giver greater than the guru, and no beggar greater than the disciple. Guru gives the wealth of the three worlds – Atma Gyan).

COMPASSION:

-Jiv mat maro bapura, sab men ekai pran….(Do not kill any being; they all have the same life force as you).

-All living beings belong to God – insect to elephant. Protect them.

DIVINE LOVE:

-Prem prem sab koi kahe…. (Understand the word  love and you will be a great scholar).

-Prem na bari upje…. (Love does not grow in the garden or sold in the market. Give up the ego and find love).

-Ghunghat ka pat khol…. (Remove the veil of illusion and see your Beloved is with you).

UNITY OF ALL PEOPLE:

-Ham tum ekai lohu…. We all have blood and the same life force.

-Awwal allah noor upaya- God’s Divine Light produced all of us. Who then is high and who is low?

-Pawak rupi saiyan…. just as fire is in the flintstone, just so God is in our heart.

SUMMARY:

-Earn good karmas by pure thoughts, words and deeds.

-God is in you. You are Divine. Divine Love is in your Heart.

-Realize God in this life. You cannot after death.

-Go within in meditation to realize God.

-See God in all beings- God is Omnipresent (sarvvyapak).

-Merge into God consciousness as a drop merges in the ocean.

-This realization is liberation (moksha) and a blissful life (sat-chit-anand).

 

Dr. Jagessar Das

www.kabir.ca

dasj.kabir@gmail.com

Kabir, Jayant, Ramanand, Unity, Love, Compassion, Sant, Shabd

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NATURE

Imagine a life amidst flowering gardens,

Where fragrance abides to greet the visitor.

Trees and shrubs and flowers of great variety,

Awaiting to soothe the restless and wearied mind.

How pleasant it is to wander in delight,

Savoring every flower’s fragrance and beauty!

Pausing here, enquiring there, in joyous mood,

Learning the secrets hidden in nature’s alchemy.

In the garden, enchantment sits on every bough,

If you truly know how to perceive.

There the creatures of nature truly live,

Surviving with the bounty the garden gives.

The seasons change but life goes on,

And every dawn ushers in a new day.

The humming bird with iridescent feathers,

Flies to and fro relishing the nutritious nectar.

The squirrel, frisky and industrious,

Gathers food for winter’s freezing degree.

Children’s playful voices are wafted in the air,

As they play happily and feeling carefree.

Forget your woes and join the merry throng,

Enjoy the beauty that is heavenly sent.

Tomorrow your present woes will be past,

And you will greet another joyful day.

So adorn your face with a happy smile,

And live life with a blissful heart!

 

Dr. J. Das

www.kabir.ca

dasj.kabir@gmail.com

 

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DOWRY OR MARITAL BLISS?

The dowry system is practiced in many countries as shown in Wikipedia:

“A dowry is a transfer of parental property at the marriage of a daughter.[1] Dowry contrasts with the related concepts of bride price and dower. While bride price or bride service is a payment by the groom or his family to the bride’s parents, dowry is the wealth transferred from the bride’s family to the groom or his family, ostensibly for the bride. Similarly, dower is the property settled on the bride herself, by the groom at the time of marriage, and which remains under her ownership and control.[2]

Dowry is an ancient custom, and its existence may well predate records of it. Dowries continue to be expected, and demanded as a condition to accept a marriage proposal, in some parts of the world, mainly in parts of AsiaNorthern Africa and the Balkans. In some parts of the world, disputes related to dowry sometimes result in acts of violence against women, including killings and acid attacks.[3] [4][5] The custom of dowry is most common in cultures that are strongly patrilineal and that expect women to reside with or near their husband’s family (patrilocality).[6] Dowries have a long history in Europe, South Asia, India, Africa and other parts of the world.[6]” Wikipedia

 

It is shameful for a bridegroom or his parents to demand a dowry. Here is an article I wrote a long time ago and it is still relevant today:

The Vancouver Sun newspaper of Friday May 16, 2003 has an article on the dowry system titled “Plucky Hindu bride sparks dowry ‘revolution’”. At the time of the wedding the bride called the police to arrest her husband-to-be when her future in-laws tried to extort more money, and treated her father badly. All of this occurred in front of two thousand guests.

Marriage is a sacred ceremony joining a bride and bridegroom in what is called ‘holy matrimony’. The marriage ceremony varies according to the different religions and cultures in which they are performed. But the common factor is that a male and a female have been united for mutual love, support and procreation of children for the maintenance of the human race. One of the important but illegal aspects of marriage is the dowry. This is property that the bride takes to the bridegroom and to his family. The Encyclopedia Britannica states: “in many pre-modern societies the dowry serves as a reciprocal gesture by the bride’s family to the groom’s kin for the expenses incurred by the latter in payment of the bride wealth (wealth paid by the bridegroom). These exchanges are not purely economic, as they serve to ratify the marriage and consolidate friendship between the two families.”

Let us examine what dowry is:

  1. It is one-sided from the bride to the groom.
  2. When the bride’s parents are poor the dowry is a real hardship.
  3. The dowry is one of the important reasons why daughters are considered by Indian families to be a liability. Girl babies are sometimes thus abandoned or killed or, where possible, aborted.
  4. India has an estimated twenty-five million fewer eligible brides compared to eligible bridegrooms as shown on a television documentary some time ago.
  5. The dowry system is driven by greed of the husband or his family, and can go on after marriage for some indefinite time.
  6. If the demand for more dowry is not met, the bride is often punished, sometimes death by burning. In Delhi there is about one bride burning everyday (7,000 dowry deaths in India in 2001 – Vancouver Sun May 16, 2003)
  7. The dowry system overshadows or destroys the happiness a married couple should share.
  8. It reduces holy matrimony to an unholy greed for material possessions.
  9. Most Indian marriages take place at the bride’s parent’s home, thus they are already saddled with greater expense.
  10. Dowry system often serves to destroy friendship between the two families.

 

Although the dowry is outlawed in India, it is still widely practiced. The dowry system has a long history and seems to be ratified by tradition. But from a religious and spiritual point of view, the dowry system is wrong. If any property or money is to be given to the newly married couple, it should be given by both sets of parents, according to their means, and the sole function should be to give the young couple a start in life.

In order to solve some of the difficulties associated with the dowry system, it is important to recognise a few important things about marriage. In marriage a husband and wife are equal partners. Any culture that makes the wife subservient or inferior to the husband is spiritually and morally wrong. God has made males and females. Both are equally necessary for procreation of the human race. Though the duties of husbands and wives may differ, yet they complement each other to make a “whole life” for both of them. Marriage must not be conditional on the availability of the dowry. It is said that marriage is made in heaven. We can say that it is the karmas of the bride and bridegroom that brought them together. Marriage is thus a spiritual event, and it should not be marred by the necessity of a dowry.

Let us try to be reasonable and logical when looking at the dowry system. When the bride gives a dowry to the bridegroom, she in fact has ‘purchased’ the bridegroom. The bridegroom or his family demanded a price for the bridegroom. Once this price is paid, the bridegroom belongs to the bride, and he should go and live with the bride’s parents, and serve them. It is not logical for the bride to have to pay in order to leave her home to go to live in the bridegroom’s home, where she may face harsh treatment.

The most reasonable marital arrangement must be one that recognizes that a bride and bridegroom are joined as equal partners. Both parents of both sides can contribute according to their means to help the young couple. Parents of both sides must recognize the sanctity of marriage, and treat the bride and the groom with equal respect and dignity. If they can bestow love on the young couple, then both families can maintain a solid relationship.

 

Dr. Jagessar Das

www.kabir.ca

Dowry, Marriage,  Marital Bliss, Bride, Bridegroom, Family

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DOES RELIGION HAVE A PURPOSE?

When dealing with religion, it is an exercise in determining how well our life is adjusting spiritually. This is necessary because religion has no other purpose than to elevate the spirit that we are, to the realm of consciousness where we realize our union with God. The word religion is derived from the Latin “re” and “ligare” which means to re-unite. Thus the soul (spirit) realizes its unity with God. Once this is accomplished, religion has fulfilled its purpose. To help us along the way, scriptures and teachers of religion have given us aphorisms or guidelines that point the way to reaching that spiritual goal. Here are a few quotations from different sources as examples:

Every scripture inspired of God is profitable, for the teaching, for reproof, for correction for instruction which is in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work. (Bible)

We believe in what hath been revealed to us and revealed to you. Our God and your God is one and to Him are we self-surrendered. (Koran)

Father of all! May Thy Supernal Light inspire, illuminate, and guide our minds! We open them to let thy glory in. (Vedas)

Grant us long life, Great Lord! and fortitude and the right mind, and show us the straight path o’er which thou broodest and which leads to Thee. (Zend Avesta)

O for Great Heaven! We call Thee our father and our mother. (Confucianism)

We are born in the same way from the mother. You and I have the same blood and the same life force pervades us. By which knowledge did we become different? (Kabir)

All human beings are driven by the same basic inner forces. A few great souls who have managed to escape the narrow intellectual and materialistic aspects of life, and realized the Eternal Reality which is universal, have become the teachers of mankind. They have all taught us to live a noble and righteous life of love, harmony, tolerance, service, humility, forgiveness and so forth. Although people who may be “non-religious” can have these attributes, religion has them as foundational attributes, along with devotion, compassion, prayer and meditation.

As we proceed along our life’s journey, a time comes when we need to evaluate the direction in which we are going spiritually. We really cannot avoid this evaluation if we are truly interested in our spiritual welfare. People often spend a great deal of time and money in religious pursuits, but do not obtain the spiritual treasure that religion promises. This occurs because people do not examine their progress in this direction, but they nevertheless continue their religious practices. None of us would like to keep on doing something if we are not reaping positive results. Just so, we need to see positive results derived from our religious practices. This positive result occurs when we experience that we are spirit, everyone is spirit, all creatures are spirit, God is spirit, and there is only unity in the universe. This experience endows us with freedom from doubt, illusion, hypocrisy, “-isms” and false teachers and teachings, and takes us into the light of Enlightenment.

 

Dr. Jagessar Das

www.kabir.ca

dasj.kabir@gmail.com

 

Religion, Kabir, Unity, Spirit, God

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DISUNITY

This world is fraught with the problem of disunity, in spite of the fact that all people would like to live in unity. What is it in human nature that creates a situation that he does not like, yet he continues to propagate it? In order to understand this problem, it is essential to understand the basic nature of our Being. Being consists of three basic attributes: 1. Existence, 2. Consciousness and 3. Bliss. On careful analysis, it becomes obvious that no one can exist without Existence. Similarly, no one can exist without Consciousness. And it is the basic nature of the Self-existent Consciousness to be Blissful. These three attributes belong to God. The fact that we also share the same attributes, attests to the fact that God dwells in us as Pure Being. This being so, it becomes obvious that all of us are really united, and therefore should live in unity. What then happens to create the disunity and all its attendant problems that we face daily in our lives?

The first problem that afflicts us as human beings is ignorance of the above attributes, which consists of our Real or Essential Being or Nature. This ignorance can be more properly stated as Nescience. This nescience is brought about by the great illusory power of Maya. Maya, in itself, is a vast topic and requires to be discussed elsewhere. Once this ignorance has established itself in the human heart, a person begins to identify with his personal ego. His personal ego requires satisfaction because it has developed desires and cravings. He uses his five sense organs as instruments to satisfy them. We all know of people being selfish and self-seeking, and they will endeavour to promote their own welfare at the expense of others. This appears to be a common human nature. Once this has taken hold of a personality, it is very easy to see that disunity must be the end result.

People, by their very nature, like to follow the path of least resistance when using their minds. Anything that requires effort seems to be beyond their capability, as long as it has to do with self-improvement. James Allen in his book: ‘The Gift of Inner Peace” states: “When mental energy is allowed to follow the line of least resistance, and to fall into easy channels, it is called weakness; when it is gathered, focused and forced into upward and difficult directions, it becomes power; and this concentration of energy and acquisition of power is brought about by means of self-control.” He again states: “Man is; and as he thinks, so he is. A perception and realization of these two facts alone – of man’s being and thinking – lead into a vast avenue of knowledge which cannot stop short of the highest wisdom and perfection.” As human beings, are we not capable of following such simple and straightforward precepts in order to improve ourselves?

Weakness of the mind is prevalent, and we can see it everywhere around us. People develop undesirable habits that they have a difficult time controlling. Examples are smoking and alcoholism. Just as we can say that people are alcoholics, just so we can say that people are chocoholics because they crave chocolates. Similarly, we can think of foodoholics, smokeoholics, greedoholics, hateoholics, prideoholics, egoholics (egomania), sleepoholics, lustoholics, etc. You get the idea. All of these people, with proper thinking and effort, can do better. If doing better becomes a habit, then obviously these people will become better human beings, both for their own benefit and for the benefit of others around them. Remaining weak is a grave disservice to themselves and to others.

This discussion appears to digress somewhat from the initial subject of unity. But it was necessary to discuss the subject along these lines, to indicate a certain general weakness in human beings, that keeps them from developing into true and full human beings that they were intended to be in the first place. Just having the human form and a few human attributes is not the entire goal of life. All life must evolve and progress towards a higher level of Being. And what is the higher level of being for a human? It is really the understanding of his own nature that was stated initially as Existence, Consciousness, and Bliss. This is spoken of in Sanskrit as “Sat-Chit-Ananda.” When one realizes his essential nature, he also, at the same time, realizes that the same nature exists in all, in spite of external differences, such as race, colour, creed, religious affiliations, and other superficial attributes. Once we realize our own essential nature, it is inevitable that love must pervade our hearts. This great love was taught by Satguru Kabir for all of humanity. He said: “All the people speak of love, but there is hardly anyone who knows what it is.” It was also taught by Jesus. Lord Buddha taught it as compassion, and Confucius taught it as sympathy. The prophet Mohammed taught it as mercy. If we can manifest these attributes in our own lives, is it difficult to see that unity will prevail among all of us?

 

Dr. Jagessar Das

dasj.kabir@gmail.com

www.kabir.ca

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A DEVOTEE’S PRAYER

Dear Lord! You are the eternal master.

You are the source of the universe, and all life.

Your laws maintain universal harmony.

And you manifest in all things, animate and inanimate.

We are your humble, innocent children,

Driven by many forces which are negative-

Passions of hate, anger, greed, and ego assail us,

And we, weak in mind and resolve, are at their mercy.

Cruelty, inhumanity, hate, violence and prejudice,

Are daily manifesting in this world – your wondrous creation.

Loss of love, respect, caring and compassion are with us,

And unwittingly, or deliberately, we become their victims.

Wars are erupting everywhere creating havoc with life.

The powerful prey on the weak, their hearts devoid of mercy-

The mercy that you bestow on all of us with love.

You have shown us the way to eternal peace, joy and bliss,

But our passions and desires overpower us,

And we suffer as battles rage in and around us.

Our mind and intellect grow weak, and do not grasp your majesty.

We selfishly expend great effort and lose inner tranquility.

We humbly beseech you, O lord, to enlighten our minds,

And strengthen our weakening resolve,

So that we may follow the righteous path,

And know that you dwell in our hearts,

And shower your love, grace and mercy on us freely.

Please awaken our slumbering mind and dull intellect,

So we may accept your gifts with humility.

O Lord! Help us awaken to your divinity-

The divinity that manifests in all of us.

May we always walk on the path of love and compassion!

May we have the vision to see you manifesting everywhere!

May we have peace in our hearts, and extend it to everyone!

May we be your obedient and loving children!

Deserving the bounty you generously bestow on us!

May we live as brothers and sisters, as one human family!

Guided by love, compassion, sharing and understanding!

 

Dr. Jagessar Das

www.facebook.com/jagessardas

 

 

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CONGRATULATIONS DR. DAS!

“Let truth enlighten your life, and behold the Supreme Spirit in you. Grab hold of the silken thread of realization, and climb to the Eternal Abode.” – Guru Kabir

Today we celebrated the decades of interfaith work that Dr. Jagessar Das has contributed to our community and to the global interfaith movement.

This is the 20 year anniversary of the “Religious Horizons” series that first aired on Rogers TV in 1995-1996. The series explores the beliefs of twelve different world religions: The Bahá’í Faith, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, the Kabir Path, Sikhism, Taoism, Unitarianism and Zoroastrianism. You can view the series online here.

The opening words for the gathering were taken from Dr. Das’ poem “Fast”:

“Fast is society’s well being threatened,
Unless we act fast to make amends,
And halt the rising tide of suffering,
“Let us give our life substantial meaning,
To counteract these strong, subtle foes,
Let us fast become truly spiritual,
And fast build our noble character.
Let us share heartfelt love for others,
And resolve to create a pleasant world.
Let us nip fast-growing problems in the bud,
And improve life fast for everyone.
So let us fast be there for me and you,
And for family, friend and society too.”

Connie shared the following summary of Dr. Das and his work:

“Dr. Das was born in Guyana and now resides in Surrey. He is a retired Medical Doctor who graduated from UBC in 1962. He did family practice for 42 years in North Delta/Surrey. Prior to, and since retirement, he has been involved in interfaith and religious activities, speaking on religion, spirituality and the search for truth in weekly congregations at the Guru Kabir Centre until it closed.

He also lectures in other cities, very recently returning from a speaking engagement in Trinidad and Tobago. He produced three TV programs commemorating Guru Kabir’s Jayanti celebrations and a 13-part series on world religions titled “Religious Horizons” for Rogers TV, wrote a number of books on the mystical teachings of Guru Kabir, and presented a paper titled “Religions as the Gateway To Peace” at a Montreal Conference named “World Religions After September 11.”

In 2010 he received the Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award. He is the president of Global Clergy Association of Canada and Chair of Board of Trustees of the Guru Kabir Association of Canada.”

We took turns sharing our gratitude for the many ways that Dr. Das lives his life with devotion, generosity and kindness.

Roslyn read a “Certificate of Recognition” that was provided by MP Randeep Sarai honouring Dr. Das for his contributions to religion and spirituality in Canada.

We are grateful to everyone that helped organize and host this event. A special thanks to Suzanne and the team of volunteers from Amazing Tutors for providing the space and taking care of the event decorations and logistics.

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