REALIZING GOD ENDOWS SELF-CONFIDENCE

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

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

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

tera sain tujh mein, jaag sake to jaag.”

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

The full explanation is given below:

Zile Singh

Ambassador (Ret’d.)

 

Believe Yourself

“Believing in oneself is a Magic.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The following two quotes will sum up the article:

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

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

Zile Singh (Ambassador ret’d)

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LIVING BY THE GRACE OF GOD!

LIVING BY THE GRACE OF GOD!

(Guest Blog)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mahant Jay Jaggessur
Kabir Association of Toronto, Canada

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Satguru Kabir Saheb and the Indian Constitution

Satguru Kabir Saheb

and the Indian Constitution

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

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

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

“Kabira khada bazar mein, sab ki mange khair.

Na kahu se dosti, na kahu se bair.”

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

On Equality, Kabir further teaches:

Awal Allaah noor Upaaya Kudrat ke sab bande.

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

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

Pathar puje Ram mile, to mein puju pahar.

Tate chakki bhali, pees khai sansar.

Also: Kankar pathar jor ke, masjid lai banai.

Uppar chad mulla bang de, bahra hua khudai?

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

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

“ Poothi padh padh jag mua, Pandit bhayo na koye

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

“ Kabir yeh ghar prem ka, khala ka ghar nahin

Sees utaare hath kar, so pasey ghar mahin”

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

Zile Singh

Ambassador (Retd.)

 

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

 

 

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SAHAJ YOGA OF KABIR SAHEB

SAHAJ YOGA OF KABIR SAHEB

Late Mahant Jagdish Das Shastri
Jamnagar, India

(The first quality was Friendliness, previously posted in FB)

The next quality is compassion. Compassion is the hallmark of the saints. Read the stories of their character: Compassion of Mahavir, compassion of Buddha, compassion of Guru Kabir and others. When you have compassion you will like to improve the world. You will like to help someone else who is in trouble, who is in pain. Have you ever seen any child who is crying on the street and you go and wipe his tears. If you can do that you are following the path of compassion. And because of compassion, a person becomes a saint. When Christ was crucified he said, “O God, forgive these people for they know not what they do.” He said more than that. He said, “O God, please forgive me, for saying to forgive these people. O God, these people are very good really, and what they are doing is removing the distance between you and me. So I am very grateful to them”. And when that kind of knowledge is there, that is really compassion, which also comes from the inside.

Think of Mahavir. People tortured him, threw stones on him, and nailed his ears, but he did not say anything against them. He had only compassion for them, as that was his nature. His nature was just like that of a tree. You throw stones on the tree laden with fruit, and it will return fruits. He was vivasht -unable to do what other people can do. He could not return their cruelty, because he had no hatred.

There was a saint Al Hallaj Mansur. There is no saint in the world who was tortured like him. The king did not want him to live on his land, and also wanted to kill him. First, he ordered that people should throw stones on him. Everyone threw stones on him as he walked down the street. His gurubhai (spiritual brother), Junaid, knew that Mansur was not wrong, but if he did not throw something, then the king will punish him. So, instead of throwing a stone he threw a flower, and Mansur cried out in pain saying that the stones did not hurt him, but the flower did, as it was thrown by one who loved him, whereas the others knew no better. Mansur’s skin was peeled off, his hands and legs were cut. His eyes were dug out, and ultimately he was put on a pointed iron that pierced his body. At that time he said, “O Lord, I know that these people cannot take away love from me. This king cannot take this love from me, and I know that you are here. I have love for you and I am coming to see you now. And I know that you are coming to me.” He said that the pointed iron was the staircase to enter into his Father’s kingdom. He had no hatred. He was full of love and compassion.

Now comes the third quality which is cheerfulness. Cheerfulness is very important in order to have pure emotions. When your emotions are pure then you will be cheerful. When your emotions are impure you will never be cheerful, even if you try. But it is better to be cheerful.

A man in Bombay had a gloomy face, so when he took over his father’s business he started to lose business because his face was always gloomy, never laughing. People did not want to talk to him. Then somebody told him that he should learn to smile to improve his business. But the man said that his face was like that – and he could not smile? Then his friend advised him to get plastic surgery to make a smiling face. He liked the idea and had the plastic surgery, and his face was now smiling all the time. Now his business started to grow and he became rich. Whether people bought of not, he was smiling, and people liked his smiling attitude. One day he got a telegram from the village that his mother passed away. He went to see his mother and everybody was standing around his mother’s dead body and was crying, and he was smiling. Everybody was asking why he was smiling? He said, “I am crying.” They said that he did not look like he was crying, but smiling. They did not like his smiling at such a time, and they threw him out. You should know where you have to smile. You cannot laugh at a person who is falling down. If you laugh at that person it means that you don’t have compassion. You need to know where to be cheerful by using your discretion. Some saints taught that you have to live in this world with happiness and spread happiness all over.

There was a saint in India who was always joyful. Whoever came in contact with him experienced that joy. He said that nobody should have a gloomy face. Have cheerfulness, have joy, rejoice in the world. He had many followers. They loved him very much because he was always full of joy which he shared. A time came when he was about to die. Three days before, he called all his disciples and told them that he was going to leave this body and that they must not cry. Make his death jubilant, enjoy it, and celebrate it. For three days he told many jokes, and made the people laugh heartily. On the final day he called them and said, “When you place me on the funeral pyre, do not remove my clothes, and do not bathe me. Just place my body on the funeral pyre. They obeyed his instructions, but they were feeling sad. When the fire ignited, fireworks were displayed. He had worn a long coat with many pockets in which he had hidden firecrackers. The people were surprised and marveled at the display, and they all laughed. Even in death this saint made people cheerful. All saints do not want people to be unhappy. They themselves endured suffering with equanimity, and have taught others to accept adversity with cheerfulness.

The last quality to develop is gratitude. Can you imagine how you would feel if someone is ungrateful to you when you have done something good for him? Gratitude encourages people to be helpful towards others. When someone is ungrateful you do not feel like doing anything for him. But gratitude should go way back to God for giving you the gift of life and the air, water, sunshine and food that grows by His power. Next you should be grateful to parents who brought you into the world, loved, and nurtured you. You need to be grateful to teachers who are the means for you to get knowledge. Similarly you need to be grateful to the government, the police force, the civil authorities that take care of various needs of society, and also to anyone who shares your sorrows, or has words of wisdom for you. To be grateful requires the giving up of ego, pride and vanity. Develop humility, and gratitude will become natural to you.

Once you develop the above qualities, make them a natural part of your personality, and sense the presence of God in your heart, and in the hearts of all beings, then Sahaj yoga is your natural accomplishment. Peace, contentment and happiness will be your rewards.

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RELIGIOUS BELIEFS AND PRACTICES- MY OBSERVATIONS

RELIGIOUS BELIEFS AND PRACTICES- MY OBSERVATIONS CONT’D

(First written in 1990)

Many people, throughout the world, follow certain practices for which they do not have any logical understanding or foundation. We must examine our religious practices and try to follow those which make universal sense. They must also adhere to the basic precepts taught by all the major religions, e.g. the sanctity of life, non-violence, love for God and all beings, kindness, etc. Let us examine some more practices.
Take for example the sacrifice of animals to God, or to various other deities. Before sacrificing animals one should ask a few simple questions. Who or what is God? Does He require your sacrifice of animals? Where is God to whom you offer sacrifices? If God created the animal, as he did you, then would He not much more prefer to see the animal living than it being killed? Isn’t the religious teaching “thou shalt not kill”?

God does not take pleasure in smelling the burnt offerings made to Him as was practiced in ancient Rome. God does not have nostrils like you and I, or even like the slaughtered animals so that He may smell the “aroma”. God does not take pleasure in seeing the spilt blood of the fearful animal that is killed forcibly, when it is in a helpless state. All other deities or gods are creations of man’s mind under the influence of “Maya”. It is funny that man should create deities that have no real existence, and then kill animals which do have a real existence, and offer up the innocent lives to imaginary beings.

Let us come back to where God is. God is universally said to be Omnipresent. When God is Omnipresent, is God not present in the animal being sacrificed? God is that indwelling “life force” or spirit manifesting in the animal as it also manifests in you. Realizing this, is it not foolish and sinful to sacrifice an animal to which God gave life by putting Himself as the life force in the animal? Isn’t the animal’s life dear to it, as yours is dear to you? Are we not supposed to have reverence for life? That life is also in the animal! After offering the sacrifices, people usually eat the meat or drink the blood themselves. What benefit does God derive from such a practice? Let us try to be loving towards God’s creatures and lighten the burden of our karmas.

Many people of various religions automatically either say or point that heaven is above and hell is below. One should then ask where is above and where is below? The earth is spinning at the rate of approximately one thousand miles per hour at the equator. If you point your finger upward to indicate up then, as you are standing on the surface of the earth, your finger is drawing a circle. So the direction you call up is changing from moment to moment. If you hold your finger up for twelve hours then you end up pointing in exactly the opposite direction from which you started. Where then is up? Similarly, when you point down, where is it that you are pointing? You may be pointing towards the center of the earth or through the center of the earth to the other side. If it is towards the center of the earth, science knows that the core of the earth consists of molten iron and nickel. If your pointing goes through to the other side then, if you are in the northern hemisphere, you are pointing to countries in the southern hemisphere, such as New Zealand and Australia, or South America. Certainly those countries are not hell. Similarly, somebody standing in New Zealand or Australia and pointing down likely will be pointing to where you are at in the northern hemisphere. Certainly you are not in hell.
Suppose we assume that your pointing indicates only under the surface of the earth or even to the center of the earth. Would that be the place where sinners would go after death? If we can say that sinners go to the inner core of the earth where there is molten iron and nickel, then we can also say that those sinners go into volcanoes where there is molten lava containing rocks and minerals and metals. But we never assume that sinners go into volcanoes. Then again, if God is Omnipresent and present everywhere in this universe, then isn’t God also present inside the earth? Or is he present only on the surface of the earth? Because of His Omnipresence God is also present inside the earth. What is wrong then with a soul going below the earth when God is also there? But of course things are not as we think they are because, as human beings, we are subject to delusion. It was thus that Guru Kabir stated that there was no up and no down; no back and no front; no east and no west; no sunrise and no sunset. Try to understand these concepts, and free the mind from beliefs and practices which are really of no help to you in your spiritual life.

[These essays are an attempt to find “Truth” in spirituality]

 

Dr. Jagessar Das

 

Religious beliefs, sacrifice of animals to God, heaven, hell, burnt offerings

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CHRISTIANITY AND ISLAM – MY OBSERVATIONS

CHRISTIANITY AND ISLAM – MY OBSERVATIONS

ON TWO CONCURRENT RELIGIOUS EVENTS

(I first wrote this article in 1990)

This is a very special time in the lives of the followers of two world religions – Christianity and Islam. For Christians it is the time of Good Friday and Easter that mark the death and the resurrection of Jesus. For Muslims it is the month of Ramadan when all devout Muslims observe a fast, from sunrise to sun set each day, and then feast at night. We shall examine the significance of each of them in this essay.

Jesus was a great spiritual personality, who was born nineteen hundred and ninety four* years ago (4 B.C.) in Bethlehem. Christians accept him as the Son of God and the saviour of the world. Unfortunately, many people do not know of most of the life of Jesus. They know of his birth, and when he was taken to Egypt to escape death by Herod. They know about when he was brought to Jerusalem at the age of twelve, and when he confounded the Rabbis in the Sanhedrin. The next time they learn of him is at the age of thirty, when he began to preach on the banks of the Sea of Galilee. His teachings culminated with the Sermon on the Mount.

As happens with nearly all saints, saviours and prophets of the world, the average people and the established church or religion, do not understand them. This happened in the case of Jesus when he was persecuted by the chief priest Caiaphas and was handed over for trial to Herod and Pontius Pilate. He was eventually hanged on the cross on Mount Golgotha.

There is evidence that Jesus travelled in those ‘missing’ years to Egypt, the Middle East and to India. He studied the Upanishads of India, and the Yogic practices and psychic healing. One teacher of spiritual healing mentioned in this relationship is Udraka 1. Jesus also learned from travelling holy men with whom he had discussions, as he was growing up.

Concerning his death on the cross, there is some doubt. He belonged to a very close-knit group of Essenes. During the storm which arose, and when all the Roman soldiers fled for shelter, it is felt that his Essene brothers removed him from the cross and nursed him back to health. It was thus that he was subsequently able to visit his disciples, to comfort them and to give them further teachings. If he rose from the sepulchre on the third day and ascended to heaven, then why did he, or what need did he have, to appear to his disciples on earth? He had already instructed them in everything that they needed to know and to do after his departure.

For the Islamic people the fasting in the month of Ramadan is one of the five pillars that must be observed by the faithful. The other four pillars are: (l) to accept Allah as God and Mohammed as His Messenger; (2) to pray five times a day, turning towards Mecca; (3) to give alms for the welfare of the less fortunate people and (4) to go on pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in one’s life time.

It is all well and proper to observe certain rites and ceremonies, in order to uphold the standards of one’s religion. By fasting the whole day and eating at night has some merit in it, as it teaches forbearance and discipline. But some Muslims eat delicacies at night and gain weight which would negate the good done by the fasting. Another practice of Muslims is ‘Id-al-Fitr’. This is a feast celebrated at the end of Ramadan when animals are slaughtered and, in a festive mood, the people enjoy a sumptuous feast. In order to carry through with their spiritual gain through the month, it would have been more appropriate if they treated the animals by giving them a feast, instead of feasting on them. I think that a loving, merciful, humane and compassionate Allah would like that much better. After all, it is our duty to protect innocent animals, as their lives are just as important to them as ours are to us. The commandment “thou shalt not kill” is not observed in these practices at all.

Recently in our local newspaper, there was a lengthy article on eating to protect the environment and the earth. It gave many reasons why people should not eat meat but should be vegetarians. In that article Dr. Klaper, whom I had known before he moved to the United States, stated: “I will not eat anything that can run away from me and have sex.” This may be a humorous way of looking at the situation but it does make sense. It excludes all animals from the diet.

First and foremost, religion is a path towards a goal, and what one does in religious practices must be geared towards increasing knowledge and understanding of a spiritual goal. It must not bring harm to any living creature. Religion must be understood properly, and people should not feel guilt or fear and thus follow the religion. Christians are told that they are all sinners and that Jesus died for their sins. Driving such guilt into the hearts of adherents is not the way of God. The same Bible also teaches: “As you sow, so also you shall reap.” How can Jesus die for your sins, when you have to reap what you have sown in your life? How can Jesus, who died nearly two thousand years ago, save you from your sins at this time, or save those who existed before him, or those who never heard of him, and who had no clue about him at all? The positive way of accepting Jesus is that he was a God-realized person who gave his teachings for the salvation of humanity, and not to lull ourselves into believing that he died for our sins.

God is All Merciful and Loving and would also like his devotees to be merciful and loving. Both Muslims and Christians will agree with this. Yet, both of them slaughter animals and perpetrate religious wars; some even use chemical and germ warfare against their fellow human beings. Do they think that they can get away with it? How can God be satisfied with their behavior? We must weigh what we are doing and see whether it makes universal sense. Does is fit in with ‘natural law’ which is the preservation and improvement of all life. Does it increase love, understanding, compassion, humility and forgiveness in our hearts, and does it remove the selfish, greedy, hateful and killing instincts from our minds? Be your own judge.

 

  1. #3 And Jesus sought to learn the Hindu art of healing, and became the pupil of Udraka, greatest of the Hindu healers. 4 Udraka taught the uses of the waters, plants and earths; of heat and cold; sunshine and shade; of light and dark. 5 He said, The laws of nature are the laws of health, and he who lives according to these laws is never sick. (The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus, Chapter 3)

 

*as of 1990

 

Christianity, Islam, Ramadan, Good Friday, Thou shalt not kill, Jesus, Mohammed,

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NATURE- THE BEST RECYCLER

NATURE – THE BEST RECYCLER

Think of a world filled with man-made garbage,
Then think that you have to live with it.
And as time inevitably goes by,
You find yourself choked for healthy space.
Non-biodegradables are now companions,
That threaten your health and wellbeing.
You begin to think “What a mess we made,”
But it is now too late –
Since land and water are polluted,
And noxious gases spew into the atmosphere.
That is the land and the water you use,
And you merrily breathe the polluted air.
Then you become sick and wonder why?
You will not blame yourself as the cause,
Since it is the farthest thing from your mind.
Here comes the research scientist and declares,
“This environment is polluted: toxic chemicals abound.”
“Why does the government not clean up the mess?”
You find yourself musing, not accepting the blame.
It would have been supremely wise,
If you had recycled and prevented the pollution.
Now to the rescue comes the city – the guardian angel,
And institutes recycling by political decree.
A cleaner environment is a blessing to all,
And we can now enjoy the cleaner outdoors.
But wait: did nature not teach us to recycle,
As she has done for countless eons.
Perhaps we failed to be keen observers.
She recycles everything that is born and dies.
She recycles you and me, animals and plants too.
The earth is the source of all physical beings,
That are the abode of the spirit and consciousness.
And all have to return to the earth – our mother earth!
Nature also recycles water, and we call it the water cycle.
It evaporates from the waters on earth,
Then returns it as rainfall to support life.
Think of the carbon dioxide we breathe out.
It fills all plants with joy. They grow luxuriantly.
They pay us back with oxygen so we can live.
All things in nature follow cycles – a recycling.
Let us then follow nature’s perpetual recycling,
And diligently recycle to a better and healthier life!

Dr. Jagessar Das

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MAYA

 

MAYA

 

Maya is a beautiful and poetic name,

And it is an apt name for a darling girl.

But the beautiful name beguiles us,

Blinding us to her innate complexity.

In common parlance Maya is attractive,

Urging our hungry senses for fulfillment.

We seek her in possessions and pleasures,

And in fame and in honorific titles.

We seek her in sophisticated company,

And in pursuit of an exuberant lifestyle.

She beckons us to enjoy the worldly life,

Forgetting that we have a higher purpose-

To know our divine and eternal Self,

And to awaken to a state of Nirvana.

Consider what the ancient sages taught,

And what modern mystics intuitively know,

That the body is a vehicle for the soul.

The body perishes as inscribed in the genes,

But the soul is divine and it cannot die.

The soul is a ray of God’s divine energy

That energizes all visible and invisible things,

Whether on earth or in the majestic universe.

But Maya is more than all of these!

She is God’s projecting power to “create”

As is made clear in India’s Vedantism.

Without her the differentiation into “things”

From God the primordial, Eternal Being,

Just would not manifest in endless variety.

Let us then accord to Maya her due status –

She has the power to project endless variety,

But also to veil the Reality from our senses.

So to understand her and to escape her guile,

We must still our senses that are ever outgoing,

And through meditation, go on an inner journey.

There we will see that we are in Divinity,

And we will bask in the bliss of this knowledge.

We will see Maya’s role in the scheme of things,   

And feel empowered as we savor the taste of freedom!

 

Dr. Jagessar Das

 

maya, mystics, Eternal Being, Vedantism, eternal,

 

 

 

 

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TEACHING OF THE MASTERS #8 – RELIGION’S ULTIMATE GOAL

TEACHING OF THE MASTERS #8 – 

 RELIGION’S ULTIMATE GOAL

 

RELIGION! The very word conjures up the positive feelings of faith, hope, reverence and salvation. In many others it conjures up the negative feelings of brainwashing its adherents, priest-craft, moneymaking, unproven dogmas, and that religion preys upon the gullibility of people. Still, there are others in whom religion conjures up hardly any sentiment at all. Such diversity of reactions, or lack of them, depends on the varying levels of religious awareness of people. Some people believe, without questioning, in what is written in their holy books, or in what they are taught by religious teachers. Some people question all the basic tenets on which religion is based, and, by not finding adequate answers, they relegate religion to the “dusty storage areas” of their minds. Some people become atheists and deny the existence of God, while others become agnostics because they do not know whether or not God exists. Thus there are these four categories of people:

  1. Those who believe in God and adhere to a religion;
  2. Those who are atheists and deny the existence of God, and thus follow no religion;
  3. Those who are agnostics, not knowing whether or not God exists, and thus they “sit on the fence”, and
  4. Mystics who get only a fleeting glance, or none at all from the public. The reason is that its adherents follow no organized religion, and seek no praise or recognition, but quietly endeavor to realize God within themselves and in others. To this group belong the saints and saviors of the world. To this group God is the only Reality on which the transitory manifestations of the world and the universe depend for their existence. In this article I shall outline what religion really is, and how it can be used to achieve the goal that its adherents wish to achieve. 

Before proceeding further, it is necessary to define religion. The word is derived from Latin “re” which means “again”, and “ligere” which means to “bind or tie”. It thus means to “re-unite or bind again.” Now, what needs to be re-united or bound together again? The answer to this question will supply the foundation on which religion exists. Religion deals with the Soul and God. The soul is often erroneously thought to be separate from God, and it is the work of religion to make its followers realize the unity of the Soul and God. The Soul is Spirit, and God is Spirit. Neither can be sub-divided. “Re-uniting” them is thus the sole function of religion. All other virtues, good deeds, forms of worship, love, charity, kindness, purity of heart, etc., are mere details that prepare the person for realization of that unity. Knowledge obtained by constant training and practice, and not mere belief, is necessary for this realization. This experience is called Self-Realization, or God Realization, or Liberation, or Salvation of the Soul. When the soul becomes aware of its own Eternity, it must, by definition, be saved, and religion has served its purpose.  

As you can see, the goal of life is Self-Realization, which is the same as God Realization. Religion is only the means by which this realization takes place. Yet there are many people who make religion the goal instead of the means, and end up causing much religious strife, confusion, intolerance, bigotry and hypocrisy. If we are to progress spiritually, we must effectively use religion as a tool to achieve the desired end. Professor Allport stated: “Religion is the search for a value underlying all things, and as such is the most comprehensive of all the possible philosophies of life. A deeply moving religious experience is not readily forgotten, but is likely to remain as a focus of thought and desire”. The “value underlying all things” is God, Who is Omnipresent. Lord Buddha said: “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.”

Religion is said to be the lengthened shadow of one man. Such a man is a saint, a prophet, a saviour, or a Satguru (Eternal Teacher). There have been many of them in the world. Their pure “shadows”, however, have been distorted by “clouds” super-imposed by well-meaning religionists who are often swept up by “Religious Mania”, and lose sight of a logical, simple and natural approach to a religious life. Such religionists, though zealously motivated, are at varying levels of spiritual darkness, or conversely, of spiritual wisdom. Spiritual enlightenment comes only when the mind is set free from the various prevailing dogmas and doctrines, and is allowed to inquire within where the seat of all wisdom resides. In this connection Allan Watts stated “The work of the church ends when the knowledge of God begins.” Spiritual ignorance is the greatest handicap to a spiritual life, and spiritual ignorance is rampant in the world. How then can people derive any benefit from the religious life they are following?

Over seventy-five percent of the world’s population belongs to a religion. Examine the current problems in the world, and examine the hearts of people and try to correlate the world situation with the number of religious people in the world. Can you not allow yourself to ask the question: “What is religion doing for the world?” Think of the wars and bloodshed of innocent victims; the murders, suicides, abortions, child sexual abuse, pornography; hate, greed, intolerance, anger, selfishness, cheating, stealing, lying, bribery, etc. One does not need to extend the list further. How can people have peace, harmony and love when so many things all around are disruptive and anxiety producing? The infallible Law of Karma will definitely see to it that suffering continues until everyone cleans his or her spiritual house. In connection with the suffering in the world, Guru Kabir Saheb stated, “The secret of escape from this plight is within your body. But you do not find it because, with lamp in hand, you search for it outside of yourself.” The whole creation is engulfed in the fire of passions and sorrows, and consumed by worldly desires and ambitions. Without the knowledge imparted by the Master, man, the bond-slave, will keep on wandering aimlessly. Guru Kabir Saheb said, “Listen dear seeker! A day will come when you will have to pass from here, leaving behind even the loincloth covering your nakedness. Of what value are all your worldly desires?

What then do we need to do to improve the world and ourselves? The world’s wellbeing depends on the well being of each one of us. In order to make any progress, we must first set the mind free from the shackles of those religious teachings that are not consistent with the realization of the unity of the Soul and God. This unity can be realized only when life is purified to the utmost, by discarding all passions of lust, anger, attachment, greed and egotism, and replacing them with love, service, charity, compassion, humility, forgiveness and meditation. These must be practiced from childhood, so that the personality can be molded into a spiritual one, and they must be practiced daily so that they become automatic manifestations of the personality. Only then can the purified soul realize its UNITY with the pure Being of God. This is the ultimate goal of all of us that the masters teach us.

Dr. Jagessar Das

 

Religion, atheists, agnostics, mystics, love, charity, compassion.

 

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A HEALTHY BODY AND A HEALTHY MIND (LATIN: MENS SANA IN CORPORE SANO)

A HEALTHY BODY AND A HEALTHY MIND (LATIN: MENS SANA IN CORPORE SANO)

Health is a subject of concern for most people. Thus you see people engage in various activities in order to try to restore health. Doctor’s offices, outpatients’ clinics, and hospitals are full of patients seeking help with their diseases. Some people go to various other types of health practitioners for physiotherapy, massage therapy, acupuncture, reflexology, herbalism, etc. People use water cures, mineral baths, mudpacks and mud baths. Some will use tissues and extracts from animals and plants, and some will try to find cures in minerals and metals. Many try to find cures in rituals, magic and amulets, while others try diet therapy, climate therapy and fasting. Others travel to medicinal baths and hot springs in far off places, or go to Mexican practitioners for cure of cancers, while others will seek bloodless surgery in the Philippines.(One of my patients went to the Philippines for this without any benefit.) People all over the world are preoccupied with health. Governments are spending an ever-increasing amount of their budget to cover health costs, and there seems to be no end in sight. Ill health seems to be like a cancer eroding the wellbeing of the people of the world.

The word ‘health’ comes from the word ‘heal’ – to cure or to make whole. The World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, or social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” At a glance, this definition will appear to include everything that is necessary in order to consider a person healthy. But it leaves out spiritual health that can form the basis for health in all of the other spheres of life.

  If we indulge in activities that are contrary to nature, then it is nature’s way to make us sick. That occurs because of the operation of the law of cause and effect. That same principle holds at all times for maintaining proper health. A person may take up physical training and be in good athletic shape, but if he eats improperly, or attends raucous parties and oversleeps, he will likely become ill with something. Another person may be careful with his diet, hygiene, exercise, etc., but is selfish or greedy and hates others. For such a person it will be difficult to remain healthy. Again, a person might take care of his physical health in admirable ways, but deep down he is full of lust, ego, and vanity. It will be difficult for him to remain healthy. A further example can be the person who practices all the obvious health habits, but yet has no compassion for the feelings of others, or of the suffering of other creatures. He may engage in ‘sports-hunting’ and ‘sports-fishing’ and take joy in doing so. He may hunt the baby seals for their white coats, and other animals for their furs and their skins, and take great pride in making his business successful. Sooner or later such a person may cease to be healthy because many of his actions are directed against nature. He is indulging in actions that will inevitably have a reaction against him.(I understand that people would say that is their living. I do not think human reasons will overturn Divine law.)

  Now, consider the whole world. Close your eyes for a moment and imagine you are seeing everybody in the world preoccupied with their various types of activities. See if you can judge which ones are doing things to promote the health of themselves and those around them. You will be hard pressed to find the people who are really taking care of themselves in a “total way.” How many do you not see in evil actions, actions hurting others, even animals and nature; others sitting in the beer parlors and smoking, others gossiping, or plotting against someone else to do some violence; and then those that show apathy and lack of respect, sympathy, and caring for others. If you could see the minds of many, you will see that they are cauldrons seething with passions, ego, pride, greed, hate and anger. You will see that some minds are callous; others self-centered, while others are revengeful. Others have a stream of negative emotions filling them. Some are full of fear, dejection, anxiety and opportunism, preying on the simplicity and gullibility of others. You will even see prominent religious leaders full of unholy intentions, and seeking self-aggrandizement and amassing fortunes at the expense of trusting folks. In a world such as this, is it difficult to see why disease and suffering of all types must continue? Can you not see that the answer to the health problem does not lie in medicines, or the laying on of hands, or the drinking of concoctions, or visiting exotic places for whatever cures they have to offer. These may offer temporary help by re-arranging conditions in your mind, environment, or body, but they cannot solve the problem of disease in the long run. (Of course, there are many good people around, but this article deals with disease, so I have mentioned the “negative” behavior that can be the basis of disease.)

  Now, let us consider a simple formula for maintaining good health. The late Swami Sivananda said that the six best doctors in the world are: 1. Nutritious diet; (2) Clean water; (3) Sunlight; (4) Adequate exercise; (5) Adequate rest, and (6) Fresh air.

  Examine this list carefully and you will see that it contains all the basic ingredients for maintaining a healthy physical life. In this context he was not discussing the mental, social and spiritual aspects of health.

It would be good if you will take a moment and ponder on the issues I have raised in this article. While making this consideration, always keep in the back of your mind that whatever you sow, that is what you will also reap. This law is universal and unalterable, just like the law of gravity. You may seek help, guidance and advice from others, but make it your duty to maintain your own health.

 

Dr. Jagessar Das

Health, disease, mind, patients, hospitals, medicines, Swami Sivananda

 

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