Imagine a life amidst flowering gardens,

Where fragrance abides to greet the visitor.

Trees and shrubs and flowers of great variety,

Awaiting to soothe the restless and wearied mind.

How pleasant it is to wander in delight,

Savoring every flower’s fragrance and beauty!

Pausing here, enquiring there, in joyous mood,

Learning the secrets hidden in nature’s alchemy.

In the garden, enchantment sits on every bough,

If you truly know how to perceive.

There the creatures of nature truly live,

Surviving with the bounty the garden gives.

The seasons change but life goes on,

And every dawn ushers in a new day.

The humming bird with iridescent feathers,

Flies to and fro relishing the nutritious nectar.

The squirrel, frisky and industrious,

Gathers food for winter’s freezing degree.

Children’s playful voices are wafted in the air,

As they play happily and feeling carefree.

Forget your woes and join the merry throng,

Enjoy the beauty that is heavenly sent.

Tomorrow your present woes will be past,

And you will greet another joyful day.

So adorn your face with a happy smile,

And live life with a blissful heart!


Dr. J. Das


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

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

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


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

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

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

Let us examine what dowry is:

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


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

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

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

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


Dr. Jagessar Das

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Dr. Jagessar Das


Religion, Kabir, Unity, Spirit, God

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

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

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

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

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


Dr. Jagessar Das







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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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The ““rusty mind syndrome”” is an affliction of many people throughout the world. You may rightfully ask what is meant by a “rusty mind syndrome”? In medical terms, a syndrome means a group of signs or symptoms that a patient develops. These tend to occur as a group pointing to a particular type of disease. Similarly, when a group of signs or symptoms are present in the mental make up of a person, with the same type of manifestation, then that condition characterizes a certain type of mind. One such type of mind is present in individuals in every social stratum, culture, or ethnic background, and this I will discuss as the ““rusty mind syndrome””.

In discussing the “rusty mind syndrome”, it is important to understand what the word rusty means. When iron is left exposed to air and moisture, it oxidizes to form rust. In the process the iron deteriorates. The same thing happens with the mind when it is not properly nourished with mental food. The idle mind spawns many mischiefs, or, “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.” It is well known in developed countries such as Europe and North America, that there are many people who are functionally illiterate. This means that they cannot read or write adequately even to read simple instructions on packages of goods. This is a handicap when people needs to be in a trade, and cannot adequately read the blueprint instructions. Many students finish high school inadequately prepared for meeting the complex and ever evolving challenges of the real world.

It would be of some interest to discuss the characteristics of a person with a “rusty mind.” Some of these characteristics are as follows:

  1. A lack of interest in learning. This is often exhibited by the absence of books or reading material in the home, and lack of engagement in any educational activities, such as courses in upgrading education.
  1. Inability to converse meaningfully on pertinent issues.
  1. Immigrants to a country do not learn the prevailing language.
  1. Early dropout from high school without any follow-up in educational activities.
  1. Excuses such as “My memory is bad”, “I can’t study.”
  1. Interest in soap operas on the television. These are not really educational and, after having seen many of them, one is not any better off educationally.
  1. “Shop talk” when in company. Instead of discussing issues or anything that may be elevating to the mind, people engage in gossip and trivial talk.
  1. Isolation in the home or excessive interest in “fun activities” such as parties and pubs, etc. These do not require any exercise of the mind or the intellect.

This is only an outline to give you an idea of what is meant by a rusty mind. Perhaps you can add others to this group.

Generally, we recognize that the mind and the intellect are gifts from God. If you are an atheist, you may think otherwise. Nevertheless, the mind and the intellect are there for us to use. With use they improve and become better tools. With disuse they become “rusty”, producing the condition that I have described as the “rusty mind syndrome”.

It is often said that the mind is the greatest force in the world. Intellectually, we understand this, for the mind of man has accomplished, and will continue to accomplish many marvelous things. But these accomplishments are achieved by only a few people. The majority lag behind. And of this majority, a substantial number is afflicted with the “rusty mind syndrome.” Rabindranath Tagore, poet laureate of India, stated that at birth everyone is given the key of heaven. The same key unlocks the door to hell. That key is the mind. When properly used, it can lead to an ever-increasing improvement of life in general. When not used, it can lead to many of the sufferings people often endure. The mind can bring happiness or sorrow. It can bring fulfillment or emptiness. It can create virtues or vices. The proper use of the mind is paramount in securing the highest welfare of which one is capable.

One may ask what is the cure for this “rusty mind syndrome”? First of all, it is important to recognize that everyone has a mind. The mind cannot grow rusty if used. Just as light is light, just so the mind is the mind. Just as we can use light, just so we can use the mind. But using the mind requires some thought and laying down of priorities. We cannot simply drift along in life and expect to be cured of the “rusty mind syndrome”. We must develop a healthy, inquiring mind. We need to try to see things in new ways. We need to read, discuss, and attend seminars or other educational activities. We need to challenge traditions, habits, orthodoxy, social patterns, ethical use of scientific achievements, environmental concerns and other similar issues. We need to spend less time with the “boob tube” or the “vidiot box”. These are often apt descriptions of television. One needs to be selective in television programs, and to choose those which are educational, and to ignore those that are downright foolish, violent, exciting to the passions, or are non-contributory to your general upliftment and growth. A person should have a good library and pursue the habit of reading. Frequenting the library is a good habit. Attending lectures and seminars on educational and self-improvement subjects are important.

Let us use our God-given mind and intellect to keep on evolving mentally and spiritually, and avoid falling victim to the “rusty mind syndrome.”

Dr. Jagessar Das

Syndrome, Mind, Education, Study


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F A S T – A Poem

In the fastness of time fast changes occur,
And fast we must adapt to avoid stagnation.
But biologically the body is slow to change,
Yet fast is the mind can make changes.
See how fast is the decline of morality,
That is bad for the welfare of society.
See how fast is the spread of permissiveness,
And how fast there is decline of forgiveness.
There is fast growth of fractured families,
Causing stresses that are difficult to mitigate.
Loneliness occurs fast in the modern age,
And fast marches psychosomatic illness.
Really fast the sins of violence increase,
And of alcohol, drugs and smoking,
And of intolerance, S.T.D.’s and suicide,
Creating countless troubles for society.
And fast grows the generation gap,
When communication is out of step.
Fast is the decrease of righteousness,
And fast we defend our sins with excuses.
Fast is society’s well being threatened,
Unless we act fast to make amends,
And halt the rising tide of suffering,
Let us give our life substantial meaning,
To counteract these strong, subtle foes,
Let us fast become truly spiritual,
And fast build our noble character.
Let us share heartfelt love for others,
And resolve to create a pleasant world.
Let us nip fast-growing problems in the bud,
And improve life fast for everyone.
So let us fast be there for me and you,
And for family, friend and society too.
(Dr. Jagessar Das
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Every once in a while it is worth taking an objective look at society and examine its condition and behaviour. This is just like a doctor examining his patient, in order to determine the patient’s general condition, or any disease that may be present. When a doctor examines a patient he looks for various signs and symptoms that will give him the clues to make a diagnosis. When several signs or symptoms are present together to form a particular disease, they are spoken of as a syndrome. Thus there are disease syndromes, depending on which disease, or which organ or organ systems are involved. Similarly, we can think of the “sick-society-syndrome” when we recognize that there are many problems that occur either simultaneously or consecutively to make society ill or uncomfortable. Society has many ills occurring every day that bring agony and suffering either to individuals, or groups of individuals, or a society, or the world as a whole. Since these problems occur in one society, similar to symptoms and signs presenting in one body, the term “sick-society-syndrome” is apt indeed.

When a person is ill, he or she will seek remedies to remove the illness because it produces suffering. When a society is sick it should also, similarly, seek remedies to remove the illness. Unfortunately, this is difficult to achieve because society does not have adequate control over itself, whereas an individual has control over himself or herself. What actually happens in society is that some people produce the “illness”, and when others try to cure that “illness”, the perpetrators fight back, often violently, in order to continue producing the “disease”. A good example of this is the violence perpetrated by the Islamic terrorists in several countries of beheadings, burnings, bombings, raping and other heinous acts. If we can compare society with the body, it will be interesting to see how both can function in parallel, and then note how one works for self-preservation, and the other, often, for destruction.

Some time ago it was in the news that a group of Satan worshippers killed many people and buried them in a farm in Northern Mexico. One victim was a student from the United States. These criminals were drug traders and they believed that by performing human sacrifices they would be protected in carrying on their illegal drug trade. They committed the greater crime of murder in order to, ignorantly, expect protection for performing the lesser crime of drug trading. How sick can some members of society become!

Another incomprehensible behaviour some time ago was in the news that a mother in the United States allowed a twice-convicted rapist to have sex with her thirteen-year old daughter in order to pay for her drugs. She and the rapist then left the little girl and went off together to get a ‘fix’.

Many highranking religious people, even those in the public media, have been raking in huge amounts of money and living in mansions. They have been involved in scandals and have tried to bribe their way out of trouble. People robbing the innocent believers in the name of religion, is sad indeed. Similarly, many priests have in the past been charged with molesting boys under their care. It is well known that many CEO’s of large corporations have been corrupt, and were punished by the courts. The drug problems among youth, and the increasing problem of marihuana grow-ops in many places are not improving society.

These are only a few of the “diseases” of society highlighted. There are many others, such as armed robberies, rape, incest, gang wars, cheating others or dealing unfairly with them, greed for personal gain, intolerance of others belonging to different religions, race or culture, etc. I am sure that you will be able to list many other ills of society.

What is the remedy for the “sick-society-syndrome”? As long as money is deified and sought after more than God, then many of the illnesses of society will continue. As long as people manifest ego, pride and selfishness, problems will continue. As long as people are not loving and caring for others, problems will continue. The cure lies in purity of each individual in thought, word and deed. The cure lies in realizing that we are all children of God, and that God resides in all of our hearts. We are all brothers and sisters, and we must look out for each other’s welfare. Only then can the “diseases” of society be removed, and a healthy and happy society established!

May God shower His blessings on everyone!

Dr. Jagessar Das


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Satguru Kabir, the Father of Hindi Poetry, stated, “Practice a virtuous, spiritual life for this is the only thing that will go with you.” In this essay I will discuss religion from various viewpoints and illustrate that it is only a virtuous, spiritual life that allows us to attain Salvation.

What a startling statement: The Death Of Religion! How can religion die? It appears that an explanation is necessary. We need to analyze this statement in order to arrive at a full meaning of what it implies.

Religion, in one form or another, has been in the world since antiquity. It appears that there in an innate urge to believe in some Superior Being or beings, or powers, which regulate the activities of the world, and the universe. This Supreme Being or power controls the activities of humans. Because people find themselves helpless in controlling the forces of nature, and birth and death, and various types of miseries, they feel impelled to believe that there is a power that is superior to humans, and this power has influence in all the activities in life and in nature. Since this superior power appears to be, or is, eternal, how does it make sense to talk about the death religion?

If we look around the world, we will see that there are many religions being practiced according to their particular doctrines and dogmas. Each religion has good teachings for the improvement of human welfare. Each teaches to have love for one another, and to be charitable to others. Each teaches to live a righteous life, to be good at heart, and to be good human beings. Now look at the activities of the various people belonging to the various religions. What do you find? People behave, more or less, in the same way, no matter to which religion they belong. Their desires, motivations, aspirations, basic needs, passions, and other human attributes are the same. There are people in every religion who are dishonest, cheaters, hostile, prejudiced, selfish, fanatic, violent, along with other undesirable behaviours. Many of these same people will swear by their religion about their religiosity. Can we take their assertions at face value? When actions speak louder than words, can we interpret their actions as consistent with the teachings of their religion? Has religion failed these people, or have these people failed their religion? These are questions that need to be examined by everyone if religion is to have any meaning.

Dr. Julian Johnson talking about religions stated, “The poverty of all religions has been their inability to make God real to their devotees.” How do religions fail to make God real to their devotees? If you examine the ways in which religions are practiced, then you will find that the teachers of religion instruct the laity to attend their respective churches, to recite their prayers, to sing hymns, to practice certain rites and rituals, to make offerings to the church, and to develop a common bond between their adherents. They instruct about doing good towards others. We can at once see that all of these things are external practices. The teachings of religions do not percolate down to the hearts of their devotees, and do not form the basis for the conduct of life. God is, obviously, universal spiritual being. How can religion make such a God real to humans? God dwells in the hearts of all beings. For religions to make God real to their devotees, they must teach them how to realize God in themselves, and in the hearts of all beings. But religions do not do this. The so called religious authorities and instructors seem to be content in teaching the paraphernalia of religion, rather than teaching the essence–the spirituality–which is the foundation of all religions. If the religious authorities do not recognize this fact, then they cannot adequately instruct their devotees to follow “the living religion.” Religion is dying a slow death, being eroded from the inside. The heart of religion is becoming hollow. Religious principles are not being followed in life. Instead dogmatism, fanaticism, fundamentalism, bigotry, and religious isolationism are widely practiced. There was once the slogan “God is dead.” Karl Marx stated, “Religion is the opium of the people.” There are teachings about the anti-Christ, the devil, Satan and other nefarious powers corrupting the hearts of humanity. When God is the Supreme Power dwelling in the hearts of all, how can any negative power sway the heart of humanity away from God? If religions give power to such negative agents, then how can the power of God manifest in the hearts of humanity? Believers in religion do themselves an injustice, allowing them to be weak, or to be ignorant, for they do not see that the power of God is above the power of all negative agents. Swami Vivekananda stated, “Religion is the manifestation of divinity in man.” How can any negative power assail that divinity which is in the hearts of all beings? Once human beings have lost spirituality, they will continue to be deluded by the external trappings and negative teachings, and they will fail to obtain the positive benefits and teachings of the “true religion.” Voltaire stated, “The tolerance of all religions is a law of nature, stamped on the hearts of all men.” Do people realize that religion is stamped on their hearts? Do they realize that divinity dwells there? So long as they are not in touch with that divinity which dwells within them, just so long they will be subject to all types of delusions and wrong teachings and thinking. A. C. Bouquet states, “The essential function of religion is to integrate life.” Is religion integrating the life of its adherents? If anything, people are becoming more disintegrated in life. Everything in life is in high gear, moving at a rapid pace. Changes are occurring, and people have difficulty coping with their personal, social, economic and political lives. There is disintegration all around the world. People’s bodies, minds and souls are no longer working in harmony, so how can their lives be integrated? Certainly religion has not helped to integrate life.

Religion is supposed to bring peace, contentment, happiness and bliss. People certainly have not derived these benefits from their religions. The Upanishads of India states, “The Infinite is bliss; there is no bliss in what is finite.” The Infinite refers to the Supreme Being. Realization of this Supreme Being in one’s own heart is what brings peace, contentment and bliss. To be wrapped up in the finite and mundane cannot give bliss. They are only sources of problems if not understood from a spiritual viewpoint. Lord Buddha stated, “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.” Do people realize that religion is their greatest gift, the greatest sweetness, the greatest delight and the quencher of all their materialistic thirsts? Certainly it does not appear so. Shri Ramakrishna stated, “The soul that has tasted the sweetness of divine bliss finds no happiness in the common pleasures of the world.” Has the human soul tasted the sweetness of divine bliss? People do not have bliss in their hearts; instead, they are pre-occupied with stresses, anxieties, depressions, and are swayed by materialistic forces. People have lost their spiritual bearings and self-mastery. They are forever seeking pleasure in external things, and suffer disappointments. They need to pay attention to the soul that is, according to Swami Vivekananda, “potentially divine.” Jesus stated, “What shall a man be profited if he shall gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul.” People all over the world are forfeiting their soul for their materialistic, worldly pursuits. Jesus also taught to “Love thy neighbor as thy self.” Is this occurring in the world? Look at the simple Ten Commandments such as “Honour thy father and thy mother”, and “Thou shall not kill.” How many people in the world are following these simple commandments? These are religious teachings. Mahatma Gandhi stated, “Every act has its spiritual, economic, and social implications. The spirit is not separate. It cannot be.” If people will accept that the spirit of God is indwelling, and allow that spirit to motivate their economic and social activities, then indeed they will be practicing true religion.

From the foregoing discussion, is it not proper to talk about the death of religion? Dr. Albert Schweitzer, writing about Christianity stated, ”…it is accommodating itself to the spirit of the age by adopting a kind of modern worldliness. Like other organized bodies it is at work to make good, by ever stronger and more uniform organization, its claim to be a body justified by history and practical success. But just in proportion as it gains in external power it loses in spiritual.” Religion needs to gain in spiritual power, not external power. The spiritual power is gained by the realization of people of the divine power residing within their own hearts. Religion is indeed dying a slow death, as more and more material progress is being made. There are more and more people staying away from organized religion, because they find many inconsistencies, hypocrisies, limitations, and stifling of the spirit, which longs to be free from dogmatism, fanaticism and fundamentalism. Guru Kabir stated, “Practice a virtuous, spiritual life for this is the only thing that will go with you.” Everything else we struggle for in this life will remain right here. But our good actions, in thought, word and deed, will be our companion when we depart from this physical body. They will constitute “the seed” which will bear fruit in the future, either in this life or in another life. The soul is eternal and will not cease to exist. But in order for God to manifest his consciousness as spirit in this world, the soul will continue to take on bodies as vehicles for the manifestation of God’s consciousness.

Dr. Jagessar Das

Religion, Kabir, Righteousness, Spirituality




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