DUTY

Duty beckons! Yes it beckons you!
You have life, so duty inevitably follows.
Remember your duty to the giver of life,
And to nature for sustaining it!
Do not pollute and destroy your environment,
And you will be abundantly rewarded.
You are a part of nature,
So always dwell in harmony with it.
Let your heart be thankful,
Filled with love, devotion and caring!
Do not forget your duty to health –
Let your diet be moderate and nourishing,
Taking nothing noxious in the temple of your being!
Show dutiful respect to parents and elders,
And to friends, family and society too.
In work you show keen interest,
And display affability with co-workers.
Work well done is its own reward.
Pile up the rewards and reap contentment.
Make your inner nature pristine.
Do not stain it with lust, anger, greed and hate!
Educate yourself in every discipline you can,
For it is your duty to know the art of living!
Your life is a most precious gift,
Endowed with mind, rationality and intelligence.
So dutifully embrace it with love and humility,
Fulfilling your destiny in peace and harmony!

Dr. Jagessar Das

Facebook /Jagessar Das

Twitter  @Jagessar Das

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DAAN – GIVING  

Daan is the act of giving, and can be seen in various ways i.e. giving a gift to someone, parents giving their daughter’s hand in marriage, giving service to the community, doing an act of kindness to others, and also even giving good thoughts to others, and so forth. In whatever form the giving takes place it can be called daan only if it is done unhesitatingly and without expecting anything in return. When the act of daan is done in this manner then it becomes a noble and spiritual act.

Today gift giving is a viable enterprise in the business world. When it is Diwali, Holi, Christmas, Mother’s day, Father’s day, Grandmother‘s day, Grandfather’s day, Secretary’s day, etc., the business world reminds us that it is time for gift buying. While this kind of giving has its merits, this act of giving must be done for the love of giving, and not because we are reminded to give a gift. In this essay, I will discuss the act of giving in a spiritual context.

The concept of daan is an integral part of the Hindu way of life. It is not only physical but, more importantly, spiritual. Our scriptures, saints and sages have taught us to acquire wealth with a hundred hands and distribute that wealth with a thousand hands. Alexander, The Great, went to conquer India, but instead India conquered him with its noble philosophy. At the time of his death he instructed the people to outstretch his arms to show the world that he brought nothing into the world and he is leaving with nothing. Whatever we have, was given to us by someone else, and that someone else is God, or a Higher Power. No one, not even our parents or grandparents, or their parents have brought anything into the world. God has supplied all our needs over the ages. He has given us intelligence, strength and the ability to acquire whatever we need to sustain life on this earth. God has showered His wealth on us from all sides. Therefore we can reciprocate God’s act of daan only by truly making it an integral part of our life.

Since God has given us intelligence, strength and the ability to acquire whatever we need to sustain life on this earth, we have a moral duty to support charitable organizations that work for the betterment of humanity. The moral support of such organizations is a daan for the welfare of all people. We are taught that to live only for oneself is a selfish act, but to live for the welfare of others is a noble act. Therefore use the intelligence, strength and the ability that are God-given for the upliftment of humanity. Saint Francis of Assisi says, “For it is only in giving that we receive.”

Another aspect of daan is giving of ourselves to others in thought, word and deed. Noble and uplifting thoughts are also a form of daan. As Swami Sivananda says, “Thought is a vital living dynamic power. What is this world, after all? It is nothing but the materialization of thought-forms of Hiranyagrabha or God”. When we inculcate good thoughts, those good thoughts do good to us and to the world. We infuse good thoughts with whomsoever we come into contact, and those good thoughts help others. This is a unique way of giving something of a spiritual nature to others.

Daan is a noble and spiritual act of giving materially and spiritually, of oneself to humanity. Like a well, the more water one takes from it the more it gives. Therefore the more we give to humanity, whether it is material, mental and spiritual giving, the more our blessings and ability to give multiply. It will be like that well that keeps on giving water. Similarly, God being the greatest giver keeps on giving. He gives in abundance the air, water, sunshine, energy, food, life, love, compassion, sleep and recuperation, and all things that make the world habitable, and asks for nothing in return. If we give likewise, according to our ability, we will become God’s ambassadors in this very important aspect of our life or, shall I say, daanwalas.

Saakhis (Dohas) on daan:

 Anmaange mile toh doodh baraabar, maange mile toh paani;

Kahe Kabir wahh khoon baraabar, jaame aincha taani.

 (Unasked giving is like milk; asked giving is like water; asked and argumentative giving is like parting with blood, says Kabir)

 

Cheedi chonch bhar le gayi, nadi na ghateo neer;

Daan dewe dhan na ghate, kaha gaye daas Kabir.

 (A bird’s beakful of water does not diminish the river; Kabir says that giving similarly does not diminish your wealth)

 

Giving, spiritual act, thought, charity, St. Francis of Assisi

 

Urmila Das (Dear wife of Dr. J. Das)

 

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IMMORTALITY

How can we speak of immortality

When death is lurking close by
And can strike us at any moment?
Yet, immortality is an ancient doctrine,
And is ingrained in the human psyche.
It is spoken of in religions and scriptures,
And by sages who are wise.
Perhaps there is a way of understanding,
To decipher the meaning it conveys.
Let us look at life’s ingenious composition:
The body, most obvious, is of the earth,
And the mind is intricately hidden in it.
Where can we place emotions and feelings
That are prominent features of life?
Life is complicated indeed!
From where does it come, so we live?
How does consciousness inhabit us
To make us aware and sentient?
Spiritual wisdom names God as the source,
And He dwells in us as the Omnipresent soul.
So consciousness is an attribute of the soul,
And the soul is immortal –
As immortal as its source.
But the soul is our inner being,
So we are inherently immortal.
Let us not identify the Self with the body,
Or with the mind, feelings and emotions.
These are temporary “tools” of the Self.
We are the Masters, not the tools,
So let us enlighten ourselves with knowledge
That although we live in the world,
We are residents of the immortal realm.

Dr. Jagessar Das
Twitter Jagessar Das

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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
Twitter: @Jagessar Das
LinkedIn: /jagessar das

 
 
 
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RIGHTS OF MOTHER EARTH

It has become increasingly necessary to protect the earth and our environment form pollution and degradation in order to sustain a healthy ecosystem. This includes us. See this link to read about the rights of Mother Earth:

<http://therightsofnature.org/universal-declaration/>

For A Universal Declaration Of The Rights Of Mother Earth

On 22 April 2009 President Evo Morales Ayma of Bolivia called on the General Assembly of the United Nations to develop a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth. His proposal has received backing from nine countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA). The recent UN General Assembly resolution approved in December now calls on all countries and the Secretary General to share their experiences and perspectives on how to create “harmony with nature.”

April 22 is celebrated annually as Earth Day worldwide. Among human beings it appears necessary to single out certain days in order to focus attention on the importance of that day, and what it symbolizes. It is appropriate to single out a day and call it Earth Day, because this is the only Earth we have, and we need to protect it in order to ensure our own survival. But in order for Earth Day to have a real impact on our lives, we must have deep and abiding respect and reverence for Earth. That is why, in many cultures, Earth is regarded as Mother. At the global conference on survival of the planet held in England, the Dalai Lama stated that we must recognize the Earth as a Mother. In India, the earth is spoken of as “Dharti Mata” or Mother Earth. Among the Greeks, Gaea was held to be the Mother Earth. When Moses went to receive the Ten Commandments on Mount Sainai, God told him that this is ” Holy Ground.” Many places in the world are accepted as places of pilgrimage or for temples, and the homes of many people are considered to be “holy ground.” This is one reason why you cannot wear shoes in their homes. Whenever the late Pope John Paul visited a country, he kissed the ground because the ground is “holy” and is the source and sustenance of life. All living beings, including humans, derive life and sustenance from the earth. It is thus necessary to recognize the unique and irreplaceable function the earth has for all of us.

The earth must be thought of as a living organism in which every being of every description forms a part or organ of the living Earth. It is similar to the hair or nails, or the blood cells, or the various organs of the body. All are part of one living body. Just so human beings, animals, trees, water, mountains and so forth, form one living being called the Earth. This is formulated as the Gaea Theory. In nature all things must live in harmony and balance just as every part of the human body maintains a harmony and a balance for the survival of the being. All life is contained on the earth in a zone called the biosphere. This extends below the earth up to where living organisms can survive, and also into the atmosphere as far as living things can survive. Thus all living things on earth are contained in the biosphere or the “sphere of life.”

Let us extend our vision from Earth day to other days. People celebrate mother’s day and father’s day. They celebrate secretary’s day and holi-day. They celebrate birthday and put up with income tax day. As people need to specify days in order to focus attention on the importance of those days, there should similarly be “grand parent’s day” and “brother’s day”; “sister’s day” and “cousin’s day.” In terms of nature there should be “water day”, “air day”, “fire day”, and “food day.” In terms of maintaining health there should be “smoke free day” and “liquor free day” and “glutton free day.” And just as we give importance to “birthday”, we should recognize “death day” which none of us can escape. In order to maintain mental health we should recognize “anger free day”, “hate free day”, “worry free day”, “anxiety free day” and “relaxation day.” If we name a day to recognize the necessity of all the facets of our existence, then every day of the year will likely become a day to observe the importance of various things in our life. In other words, we need to live in such a way that we recognize the value of everything in nature, from the sunshine to the rain fall, and the lightning; from the mountains to the trees and the dirty marshes; from the bacteria to the animals and humans; from family relationships to social, cultural and spiritual relationships. Ideally, in spiritual life, we must be cognizant of the importance of all these days, in each and every day. That is the only way in which we can say that we are living in harmony with our own selves, and with all of nature. God will not have it any other way. If we think we can live and do as we please, and get away with it, then we are deluding ourselves. If we do not live in harmony with every aspect of nature, and with each other, as is taught by spiritual teachers of all religions, then we are surely headed for the celebration of “doomsday. ” As Satguru Kabir said, “Oh man! Wake up! It is already morning. Why do you continue to sleep in ignorance.”?

Let us realize that God is the Reality present everywhere in the universe, including the Earth, and all of us. Let us then truly have respect and reverence for Mother Earth on Earth Day and every other day!

Dr. Jagessar Das

Earth Day, Rights of Mother Earth, Celebration of other days, Doomsday

www.kabir.ca

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R A C I S M

Racism is alive and working its mischief in the 21st century. Would people one day become enlightened to the fact that all races belong on one earth? Kabir Saheb said that you cannot be a brave spiritual person unless you give up adherence to caste, race, colour and proud lineage. Remember that the soul is the same spirit in everyone, and it has none of the labels that cause confusion in people’s mind.

Here is a poem on RACISM that I composed several years ago:

R A C I S M

Repulsive, Atrocious, Cruel, Inhuman, Schismatic, Malicious – 
These are apt terms for Racism, thankfully not contagious.
They have no place in civilized human conduct, 
For in them is no trace of the humane heart.
Racism is an invention of self-centered people.
They pretend superiority of their race.
But the idea lacks virtue, and is replete with inferiority.
It is not nature’s law to have racial uniformity,
As is plain, if we look at her diversity.
All horses are not of the same breed and color.
In creating species differences, God has no blame.
All roses are not of the same fragrance and hue,
For nature, in her wisdom, created immense variety.
Look at insects, birds, the lowly mold and majestic tree,
Look at mountains, lakes, meadows and the sea.
You do not see a boring, repetitive monotony,
But nature’s beauty governed by superlative laws.
Why should the human intellect fall prey
To inhumanity and disobey nature’s law?
The welfare of all lies in abundant love, 
For God loves all, and all are dear to Him.
Don’t racists then work against God’s plan,
In trying to propagate the superiority of a race?
Should humans stoop so low in repulsive deeds,
Driven by a zeal that’s irrational and compulsive?
The flowering of humanity lies in sublime virtues,
Ordained by God’s will, through His divine laws.
Let filial love fill the misguided human heart,
For we dwell on one earth that we call our home.

Jagessar Das

www.kabir.ca

Twitter: @Jagessar Das

Racism, Species differences, God’s will, Humane heart, Divine Laws

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ELUSIVE FREEDOM

Freedom is one of the inalienable rights of the human being. Every person has a right to pursue life, liberty and happiness. There is freedom of expression and the press, and freedom of religion and assembly. Many people in the world, however, are not really free such as in totalitarian states, and fundamentalist religions. Note the developments in East Germany, where people were restricted politically and by the Berlin wall. When the Government removed travel restrictions to the West, practically the whole of East Berlin went over to West Berlin in one weekend. East Berlin was practically deserted. The Berlin wall was erected to keep East Germany from sharing the freedom of West Germany for political reasons. This example demonstrated that people do like to have freedom and, sooner or later, people will agitate for it.

Let us try to understand what freedom is. Freedom is defined as the state or quality of being free, especially from control by some other person or power. It is freedom from arbitrary restrictions on a specified right, whether civil, religious or political. There is also freedom from imprisonment and freedom from various other obligations. There are many types of freedoms that belong to people, but the most obvious one appears to be the need for physical freedom, or the freedom of movement. There is also need for political freedom where people are free to choose their representatives to govern them. This occurs in a democracy. People in totalitarian states dream of such freedom. But there are other freedoms that are important. For example, freedom of speech or thought; freedom of worship; freedom of choice, and mental, spiritual and social freedoms to which people have rights. Why is freedom such a great issue in many parts of the world, when God created all men free and equal?

We may ask the question, what do we want freedom from, freedom from the Government, freedom from the church, freedom from other people, freedom from the devil, or sin, freedom from pain, freedom from hell, freedom from want? What freedom are we really looking for? And once we obtain freedom, do we enjoy that freedom with an equal degree of responsibility? Many people expect freedom, but without an equal sense of responsibility, and then that freedom creates problems for others. Freedom, in the real sense, does not mean liberty or license to do as you wish. It does not even mean independence because no one is really independent of everyone else.

God created man with freedom of the mind and spirit. The body can never really be free because it is bound or limited by space, time, gravity and its physical needs. But that does not mean that the mind and the spirit are not free. Freedom, essentially then, is a state of one’s consciousness. One can be in the middle of a repressive regime and still feel free, and one can be in the midst of the greatest democracy and still feel bound. But he will be bound not by a wall outside of himself, but by creations of his own such as ego and greed; intolerance and bigotry; anger and hate; or by the confines of his religious, social or cultural groups. He will not really find himself to be a free person, although he may think that he is free. Freedom consists in the freedom of the mind, and no wall can circumscribe it. Nehru wrote the world history while he was in prison. Mahatma Gandhi conducted much of his political work for the freedom of India from within a jail cell. Similar references can be made of other such personalities in the world.

Although freedom of movement and freedom of elections are important, it would appear that the greater freedom which people need, in order to remain happy and peaceful, is the freedom that lies within. Examples are freedom from anger, hate, greed, egotism, hypocrisy, gullibility, doubt, fear, and many others. All of these are like dead weights sitting on our mind and imperceptibly rob us of freedom.

Since all of us want freedom that manifests in different ways in our life, let us look into ourselves (introspection) and be aware of the cheaters of freedom. Once we are aware, we can make changes that lead to the freedom that is our birthright.

Dr. Jagessar Das

www.kabir.ca

Twitter: @Jagessar Das

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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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