People need peace. The world needs peace. To attest to this, there are many people all over the world who talk about peace. There are peace demonstrations, peace conferences, peace summit meetings, preaching of peace and many writings in the press and news reports on televisions talking about peace. The human mind appears to be obsessed with peace. Yet it has been illusive throughout the ages, and peace has not dawned in the hearts of humanity and in the world.

What is so illusive about peace? The nature of the soul is peace. Peace, indeed, is a divine gift, just as life is a divine gift. God could not be so uncaring as to put people into the world and then torment them with disturbed minds. All lack of peace in the world has been created by the mind of man. And what was the motivation behind the lack of peace? It is clear to see that the mind is full of ego, desires, frustrations, anger, hurt feelings, guilt, fear, vanity, revenge, hate, etc. Are any of these characteristics conducive to peace within the heart, or in the world? Obviously not!

In order to understand the foundations of peace it is important to understand what the soul is. Now, since no one has seen the soul, and which has no form or dimension, then how can one understand what the soul is? Just as in science you cannot see the electrify, but you can see its effects; you cannot see magnetism, but you can see its effects; you cannot see heat, but you can see its effects; just so, you cannot see the soul, but you can see its effects. Now, you may ask what are the effects of the soul? It is obvious that without the soul, which is the animating principle within, just as electricity is the animating principle in a computer, the soul allows us to have life, to have mind, to have a body, to have emotions and to have all the multifarious feelings and emotional states. The soul is the vehicle that God uses to produce consciousness, which must then translate into living beings to manifest consciousness. It is clear that consciousness cannot manifest in inert matter. So God, in His wisdom, created conscious beings, endowed with a soul and all attributes, or adjuncts, which enable the soul to function as a living organism.

Peace is illusive! Why? It is easy to see that the mind which is full of desires and cravings, as pointed out by Lord Buddha, must be a restless mind. A mind driven by anger and other negative emotions must be a restless mind. A mind driven by greed, fear, guilt, possessiveness, etc, must be a restless mind. A mind driven by egotistic tendencies must be a restless mind. The mind needs a centre or a foundation from which it can identify itself and perform its various functions. That foundation is the soul. But the mind is often too cunning or too foolish to understand that it has a basis for its own existence. The mind feels sophisticated and superior to admit that it is subservient to the Divinity of the soul that is within. Actually, in the hearts of most people, and in the preachings of various religions, the soul is often relegated to some infrequently used “store-house”. It is often spoken of, but rarely understood. In order to have peace one must constantly “dive” in the serenity of the soul. It is that serenity that is described as the “peace that passeth all understanding”. It must be realized that the peace of the soul is always present and available for the service of humanity. It is the source of harmony, happiness, contentment, love and the ultimate source of communion with God. Each one of us must remember that the mind is only a servant and that it can function in a negative direction, and be a source of bondage and distress, or it can function in a positive direction, and be a source of immense pleasure and happiness. But we have to choose how to use the mind, and we do this by using what is called vivek in Sanskrit, which means the use of spiritual discriminative knowledge. It simple words, it means to know the difference between good and bad; virtue and vice; righteous living vs. unrighteous living, Reality from unreality, etc. We must be able to tell what is the real from the unreal. We must identify that part of us that keeps us in touch with our Divine source, and that part of us which blinds us from our Divine source. Each one of us has the ability to delve into that lake of inner serenity, which is our birthright. It is a gift of God. Let us experience that peace for ourselves, and let us manifest it in our dealings with all people.


Dr. Jagessar Das


Linkedin @jagessar das

Twitter @jagessar das


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Please note that this poem expresses my views. It is not directed at any religion or religious beliefs.

My previous poem was on Heaven, so I logically followed it up with a poem on Hell. JD



Hell has no meaning unless we add suffering.

And the suffering there is very intense!

The sinner consigned there, faces fire and brimstone –

Not just until he is consumed to ashes,

But “eternally,” to pay for his errant “sinning.”

It appears that such a one earns no forgiveness,

Though Jesus said God forgives abundantly,

And that we should forgive seventy time seven.

The one consigned to burn in hell, we all know,

Is a child of a loving and forgiving God.

Can it then be divine justice – no forgiveness?

If hell is a requirement to fulfill divine justice,

Then it must be located within God’s universe.

Where could God place hell? On which celestial body?

We all assert that God is Omnipresent Being.

Can hell then be a “place” outside of God?

His Omnipresence indicates that God is there too.

So if God is in hell, should we fear to go there?

Has anyone experienced the suffering in hell,

To speak eloquently with fist pounding authority?

All who speak of hell, read in their holy books,

That there is such a “place” for the sinner.

Yet we know that experience is the best teacher.

Should speakers on hell not have the experience,

That there is such a “place,” and the conditions there?

Can faith without knowledge be the yardstick,

That confers on us with absolute certainty,

That what we have read is definitely the reality?

At what point on the continuum from good to evil,

Can we say that one goes to heaven or hell?

Who is the judge that decides the punishment,

When Jesus said, “Judge not that ye be not judged.”

Logic becomes useless at such a state of affairs,

And hides its face and runs speedily away.

“As you sow so also you shall reap,”

Is religiously accepted by all people, everywhere.

It is called the law of Karma, of cause and effect.

You sow in thoughts, words and deeds,

And you are doing it continuously.

You also reap the effects continuously.

Would this not account for the pleasure and pain,

That are part of the daily life of everyone?

We are creating our own heaven and hell,

So let us be mindful how we live. We have choice!


Dr. Jagessar Das











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 Where is heaven extolled in Scriptures?

What are the coordinates to locate it?

Does anyone have a clue of what heaven is-

Its inhabitants and their way of living?

Are there embodied souls or free roaming spirits?

Longing for a destination you do not know,

Will take you straight to Fool’s Paradise.

Think of the word Heaven itself,

It is nearly all “h-e-a-v-e” with “n” attached.

So does one “heave” oneself to heaven?

Or, perchance, one is “heaved” there?

Heaven is said to flow with milk and honey,

Indicating it must be a physical place.

Where can we then guess heaven to be,

Amongst the billions of galaxies,

And trillions upon trillions of stars.

Can it be somewhere on a planet –

Numberless, beyond our imagination?

If there is such a desirable “place”,

Do we know how to “travel” to get there?

No one has returned from heaven  

To enlighten us about its fantastic glory!

No one has bought us a return ticket,

For us to come back and cheer our friends.

So are we living in blind expectation,

To reach an abode that’s unknown?

Jesus said the kingdom of heaven is within.

And Jesus is one with supreme knowledge.

Should we not accept his divine teaching,

To see that our journey to heaven is within?

There is no coming or going for the soul,

But only to realize its own divinity.

This is the awakening to divine light,

That leads us to Enlightenment.

But you ask, “How to journey within

When there is no map or directions?”

My friend! Seek and you shall find.

Knock and it shall be opened for you.

Seek an earnest and benevolent teacher.

Surrender yourself to his instructions.

Knock on the door of your consciousness,

And delve deeply into meditation.

There you will find the reality of the Self.

That is where the heaven is that you seek!


Dr. Jagessar Das







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Hinduism is an ancient religion often called Sanatan Dharma, which means eternal religion. It started approximately five thousand years ago, but there is no definite time or personality which can be said to be its beginning. The ancient civilization of the Indus Valley was quite advanced at that time. Later the Aryans * supposedly came into India and brought with them an oral religion which was later written down to become the four Vedas. The religion which came to be known as Hinduism was originally calledVedism or Brahmanism. The Vedas were memorized and handed down from generation to generation. It was later compiled by Ved Vyas as the Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda and Atharva Veda. These Vedas taught various types of worships called Yajnas to various gods and celestial beings. Later the Upanishads were added to the Vedas. The Upanishads became known as the Vedanta Philosophy which means those at the end of the Vedas. The teachings contained in the Upanishads were further elaborated in important texts called the Brahmasutras – short aphorisms for easy memorization explaining the ultimate Truths. These were also written by the Sage Ved Vyas. The Vedanta philosophy became divided into Advaita Vedanta, and later Vishisht Advaita or qualified non-dualism of Ramanuja. The Advaita, or non-dualism, was further propounded by the one of the greatest of world philosophers, Adi Shankara, in the eight century as the highest teachings of Hinduism.

From Hinduism came the Yoga system with its eight parts outlining in detail the attainment of liberation which is union with God, called samadhi. There are seven preparatory stages called Yamas, Niyamas, Asanas, Pranayamas, Pratyahara, Dharana and Dhyana, then Samadhi. On attaining Samadhi a person becomes an enlightened sage and becomes free from the effects of Karmas. This is a very well thought out and logical system that can match any other scientific system for the spiritual, moral and social betterment of humanity.

Hinduism also produced the six great philosophies called Darshanas. They are Sankhya, Yoga, Nyaya, Vedanta, Vaiseshika and Purva Mimansa. These philosophies delved into the nature of the universe in terms of composition and arrangement right up to the highest unity of all in the formless eternal Brahman (not brahmin, the caste). This is the non-dualist or monistic teaching which India has given to the world. All the greatest speculative thoughts of life, the cosmos, and God have been elucidated in India. India is justly called the cradle of religions.

Here it is well to note what Max Muller, the great German Indologist, had to say about India and its teachings: 

If I were to look over the whole world to find out the country most richly endowed with all the wealth, power, and beauty that nature can bestow in most part a very paradise on earth – I should point to India. If I were to ask under what sky the human mind has most fully developed some of its choicest gifts, has most deeply pondered on the greatest problems of life, and has found solutions of some of them which will deserve the attention even of those who have studied Plato and Kant – I should point to India. And if I were to ask myself from what literature we, here in Europe, we who have been nurtured almost exclusively on the thoughts of Greeks and Romans and one of the Semitic race, the Jewish, may draw that corrective which is most wanted in order to make our inner life more perfect, more comprehensive, more universal, in fact more truly human, a life, not only this life only, but a transfigured and eternal life, again I should point to India.”

From the foregoing statement it can be seen that India, indeed, has a great deal of wisdom to offer to the rest of the world. The mind of the sages of India was not content just to read a scripture and to follow blindly. They delved into themselves to find the answers that governed life from the soul to God, and to the material universe. Mahatma Gandhi recognized the contribution India can make to the world when he stated: “An India awakened and free has a message of peace and goodwill to give to a groaning world”.

Hinduism has laid out the four Purusharthas for the attainment of liberation, and which also form the goal of life. They are Dharma or religious duties in all aspects of life; Artha or the earning of material wealth in order to sustain life and to perform charitable work; Kama or the fulfillment of noble and uplifting desires; and Moksha or liberation from the bondage of ignorance and delusion, and material bondage. It sets the person free to roam in the spiritual region of self-knowledge. And not content with living, outlined in these goals, the sages have devised a progressive system by which one can attain this highest wisdom. They are:

(i) Vivek – the practice of discriminative knowledge to know the reality from unreality, the truth from falsehood, etc.;
(ii) Vairagya – detachment from all passions and material bondage so as to be free to pursue the highest goal of life;
(iii) Shatsampat – the six virtues of gaining control over the mind and senses, and practicing faith, endurance, non-attachment to external ceremonials and meditation, and
(iv) Mumukshutva – an intense longing for the realization of God.

In addition, they have devised the attainment of supreme knowledge by:

(a) Sravan – listening to the great teachings, either by reading or through discourses with saintly people;
(b) Manan – to contemplate on the teachings read or heard;
(c) Nididhyasan – meditation on the teachings until they form part of your being in a state of realization and
(d) Sakshatakara – the manifestation of Divine wisdom in one’s own life.

Hinduism has also divided life into four states called ashramas. And these are:

(i) Brahmacharya – which is approximately the first twenty-five years of life given to celibacy and the study under a guru;
(ii) Grihasta – to marry and to raise a family and to look after household responsibilities.
(iii) Vanaprastha – to withdraw from worldly duties and to give oneself to a devotional contemplative life, usually in an isolated area, such as a forest and
(iv) Sanyasa – which is detachment from all worldly pursuits and wandering for the dissemination of knowledge and for attaining ultimate peace and bliss in life.

Hinduism is a very resilient religion and there are no fixed dogmas. People can practice Hinduism in the way they see fit according to their own temperament and inclination. Yet, they all form a totality. Because of its resilience Hinduism has been able to withstand and often absorb other religions which have foisted themselves on India. It has also influenced the other religions without losing its own spirit. It is one of the major world religions with about one billion adherents throughout the world. Since Hinduism is based on very meticulous analysis of the soul, the mind, the gross elements making up the body – the microcosm, and the cosmos or the macrocosm, and since it deals with the intimate relationship and ultimate identity of the two, Hinduism stands on a very firm foundation, and it can never be toppled from its solidity.

The goal of Hinduism is nothing less than to elevate ordinary mortals to saints of the highest order. This is achieved by control of the passions which are described as lust, anger, attachments, greed, and ego. When these are controlled, the mind becomes serene. In the Bhagavad Gita Lord Krishna describes such a state: 

“When he sets aside desires,
All that have entered his mind, O Partha,
And is contented in himself and through himself,
He is called a man of steady wisdom.

He whose mind turns not in sorrows, who enjoys but longs not for joys, he whose passions, fear and wrath are gone, that steady minded man is called a sage”.

This essay has been a brief and, of necessity, a superficial overview of the salient features of Hinduism. It is hoped that it will shed some light on the nature and importance of Hinduism in the religious life of humanity.

Dr. Jagessar Das
Kabir Association of Canada


*The Aryan invasion theory is now debated, that it did not take 

Hinduism, Aryan Invasion, Vedas, Yoga, Advaita, Dharma, Ashramas

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

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

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

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

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


Dr. Jagessar Das

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



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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Jagessar Das

Surrey interfaith council


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


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Diet and Health


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

It’s a question appropriate for mindful eating.

Since food is our lifelong sustenance,

It should not be a source of disease.

Yet increasing weight is a global problem,

And obesity is a cause of killer disease.

The excuse often made to assuage guilt:

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

The real cause is conveniently ignored.

Think of lifestyles displayed by sedentary habits,

And overindulgence in calorie laden repasts.

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

Should food be the cause of this demise?

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

Or at least the harbinger of disease,

And their attendant chronic morbidity.

Increasing body weight increases diabetes,

Heart disease, hypertension, and arthritis,

Strokes, gout, gallstones and sleep apnea.

But this is not the end of the list,

Since we have to add eleven types of cancers.

Add complications of these diseases,

And you are a veritable bundle of dis-ease.

The obese uses 18% more natural resources,

Though he has no clue that he does.

This would appear not to be fair use,

Of resources God has given equally to all.

Can food be blamed for overindulgence?

Not really! Food is equal unto all beings.

Is it craving or lack of self-control,

That pushes one to unneeded calories,

Whether from sugars and fats, or large servings?

What need is there for second helpings,

Or rich deserts that tantalize the taste buds?

Our health is in our own hands,

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

So let food serve its proper purpose,

To maintain life, health and wellbeing.

You can see then that DIET forbodes no ill,

But is a source of nutrients for health.

So with your next plate of delicious food,

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


Dr. Jagessar Das


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





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Environmental Ethics in Sant Kabir’s Philosophy

Views on Environmental Ethics in Sant Kabir’s Philosophy

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

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

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

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

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

To be continued.

Sudha J. Pandit

(Written when she was a Ph. D student,

University of Pune)


Kabir, Environment, Ethics, Relationship

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