TEACHING OF THE MASTERS #4

Previously, matter and energy were discussed briefly, and spirit was mentioned. Actually, spirit is the basis of all existence in the universe. Spirit has no form, location, dimension or any other measurable property, yet it is the greatest force in the universe. And since energy is involved in every ‘activity’ or motion in the universe, we can say that spirit is the basis for the manifestation of all other forms of energy. In this part we will discuss spirit manifesting in us, and try to understand how it can be used to overcome tragedies affecting the world 

In order to understand the problems of the world, it is necessary to understand the human being. How does a person understand himself and his relationship to others? Is he merely a physical being that possesses a mind, emotions and intellect, or is he, perhaps, a spiritual being, possessing these attributes? Ordinarily, we see people as individuals with their individual personalities, likes and dislikes, motivations, aspirations, behavior and so forth, and accept them at that level. We do not see people at the deeper level, that they are spirit. Is it not valid to say that we are spirit that possesses the body, mind, emotions and intellect? If we look at people as spiritual beings, then we would realize that this spirit is of the same essence in all of them. We can say that the spirit of God dwells in all beings. This allows us to see our brotherhood in all. But in order to understand the spirit we need to examine our sense of ‘being’.

In every person, there is a sense of being, a sense of awareness of the self. A person instinctively knows that he ‘is’ and that he ‘exists.’ This knowledge manifests in two ways: #1 – the physical, external and superficial awareness of the self as the body with a form, a name, a race, and a gender, and other external characteristics, and #2 – the spiritual, internal and deep sense of awareness of the self that cannot be defined by any external characteristics. The first is common knowledge to all humans, and people will describe themselves with the external, physical characteristics. If someone is asked: “Who are you?” the person will most likely respond by giving his name, or his profession, or his relationship to a significant person. This is how he observes himself, and also how others observe him. He fits into a label that has been fostered by himself, his family, society and religion. For nearly all practical purposes, this definition of a person is adequate, and places him in a context, which he, himself, and others readily perceive and understand. However, this definition does not persist under all circumstances, as we shall see.

If the knowledge of the self were dependent on the physical being, then this knowledge should change with changes in the physical being. In childhood, there is a total awareness of being, and this same awareness persists throughout growth into adulthood, old age and even up to the time of death. The knowledge of being or existence remains constant, though the body has undergone significant changes. Another example: A person weighs 150 lbs and has an awareness of his being. He now gains 150 lbs and weighs 300 lbs. His awareness of being still remains the same. Now if he loses 100 lbs his knowledge of being still remains the same. It did not double with doubling the weight, nor did it decrease by reducing the weight. We can see then that the self does not depend on the physical aspects of a person. There must then be another attribute by which to understand a person’s being. This is where the second or spiritual attribute enters.

 There is an underlying basis by which the self becomes aware of being. This basis is non-physical but spiritual in nature. This attribute is called the spirit, or the soul or the Divine Spark that gives life. It is on the basis of this that a person has his physical existence, and is described by external characteristics. In spiritual life, we need to understand the immanent, self-existent soul that is connected with Infinite Being i.e. God. It is this connection with God that is the same for all people, though agnostics and atheists may not agree. This realization confers brotherhood, harmony, love, peace and unity.

Now, returning to the problems of the world, if people can see the basic unity of the self as spirit that is the same in all beings, then people will see themselves ‘reflected’ in other beings. It is like looking into a mirror and seeing the reflection of your physical self. Spiritual knowledge will allow the spirit to be reflected from and in each living being

Some people may argue that a spiritual life like this is not practical, and that the physical is the practical way. If we look throughout history, we would find that the purely physical has not brought about the desired state that we would like. We also know instinctively that if we live the spiritual life, then the world will certainly be a much better place. Dedicated spiritual people have achieved a great deal of peace, love and harmony, and they have shared these with other people. If all people would develop the same attributes as spiritual people, then we can indeed have a better world. All the current violent problems externally, and the problems internally, will definitely decrease or be abolished. We would then begin to understand and live according to the teaching of the masters.

Dr. Jagessar Das

www.kabir.ca

Masters, Awareness, Spirit, Knowledge of Being

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AN ANIMAL’S PLEA

This is the season of Love, Joy, Compassion and Giving. A New Year is a few days away. Let us show love and compassion for all of God’s creatures!

AN ANIMAL’S PLEA

I am an innocent animal,
And “Any Animal” is my name.
My life is simple and natural,
And I have no guile or sophistication.
I endure rain, drought, cold and heat,
And try to be as safe as I can.
I have no weapons to defend myself,
And I try to protect myself and young,
With all my effort as best as I can.
Life is not easy for me,
As constantly I must be on guard,
Lest a more powerful animal
Should catch and devour me.
Yet, I am content to live,
By the instincts inborn in me,
Just as my comrades do around me.
Nature’s law is to live and preserve life,
But sometimes I’m prey to another animal,
And become its source of food.
Then there are times when I’m a predator,
And fill my stomach with another’s flesh.
I never do this for sport or fun,
Because God made me this way,
And I’m helpless, and cannot change.
When injured, I hurt and bleed,
And try to escape if I can.
But when attacked by humans,
I feel cruelly and unjustly hurt,
And see no sure way of escape.
My young and I cry for each other,
And unwillingly, I must give up life,
Not understanding why life is ebbing away.
When I’m docile as cattle and sheep,
As goat, pig, poultry and fish,
I’m grown for slaughter and profit,
And my life is not mine, sad to say.
I endure the bullet, the knife and saw,
And I feel the steel hook tearing my jaw.
My stuffed hide adorns homes and museums,
Or I’m put on display in a zoo.
I hang on racks displayed as meat,
As busy hands with cruel weapons,
Carve me up to satisfy people’s appetite.
My life is dear to me; I struggle to live,
Even as humans, lacking compassion for me, do.
Let’s be fair, for fairness you ask for yourself.
If you want to eat me, as you have planned,
Then catch me with your bare hands,
While I’m free, not captive in a barrier.
Human’s crime’s the greater,
For I remain innocent of my lot,
While life is snuffed out of me,
And deprives me of my natural destiny.
Man is not meant for eating flesh.
He recoils if I bleed in his mouth,
As raw flesh is not appetizing to him.
The abattoir is a place of blood letting,
Staffed by humans devoid of love and compassion.
While I’m helpless they make my flood flow,
And all my brothers, sisters, cousins and friends,
Fall under their torturous unfeeling sway.
At birth I felt happy and playful as any young,
Innocent of my future cruel fate.
I truly want to live as all living beings do,
As life is precious to me as it is to you.
I entreat all those with power,
To protect, and not destroy me.
The powerful must protect the weak,
Especially who can’t speak in self defense.
Let your heart be moved with compassionate love,
For innocent creatures like me, and my animal family!

Dr. Jagessar Das

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OUR TRANSIENT LIFE!

What are we to learn from our transient life? There is birth, growth, decline and death. We can plot it on a graph. We start at birth, lets say at zero age, and we grow into adulthood, reach a peak, perhaps in the twenties, and then our life begins to decline. There is an upward slope and then a downward slope until the end of our life. No body can stop that. It is the law of nature. Every birth must be followed by a death. This does not apply only to human beings, but to every living being, including mosquitoes, worms and trees. They will all grow to a peak and then gradually decline, decay and die.

The world is in transition. We are all in transition. Being in this transition, we have to achieve certain things. We know from our common sense, and from the teachings of all the scriptures, what we ought to be doing. We ought to be good human beings; be good to ourselves and to others; be humble, kind, loving, generous, and do good for all the people, and do not think in a selfish way of ourselves.

The late President Kennedy gave us a very powerful thought: “Ask not what America can do for you; ask what you can do for America.” It is not asking what God can do for you; it is asking what you can do for God. God has given us life and placed us in this world, so what are we going to do to thank God for the gift of life? But having this beautiful gift of life, we spoil it with our desires, passions, greed, ego, etc. These are the things that are destroying us. Kabir Saheb sang in one of his bhajans, “jhini jhini jhini bini chadariya…. God has made this body very delicately using the five elements, and the spinning wheel of the chakras. He made it in nine months and brought it forth. But foolish people do not know its secret and soil it through their life.” So it is incumbent on us to keep our life pure if we are to reap spiritual benefits.

When we realize that there is death, it must be an instruction to us that we are also heading that way, and we do not know when it is going to happen. Kabir Saheb said that we do not know if death will strike us at home or in some foreign land. So let us take stock of ourselves. Examine our priorities, attitudes, behavior, desires, hang-ups, value systems and inclinations. Just examine them and see if we can be better tomorrow than we are today. If we can be better tomorrow than we are today, in terms of behavior, growth, understanding, and wisdom then, indeed, we are growing towards God. If not, then we are either stagnant or going backwards. I am sure that life is meant for unfoldment, not for stagnation or regression. Furthermore it is meant for enlightenment. So let us seek to follow the path of life to enlightenment.

Dr. Jagessar Das

Life, death, transition, President Kennedy, Kabir Saheb, bhajan, God

 

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RELIGIOUS CONVERSIONS: SPIRITUALLY MISGUIDED

RELIGIOUS CONVERSIONS: SPIRITUALLY MISGUIDED    

Religious conversions have been going on for about 2000 years, and in nearly all parts of the world. Generally, it has been the adherents of one religion converting people of another religion to beliefs and practices of their own religion. It also includes people who have had no religion and are converted to follow the religion of the converter. Since religion plays a great role in the lives of most people, it is important to examine the reason and why it is taking place.

According to Webster’s dictionary, conversion is a converting or being converted: a change from lack of faith towards religious belief; adoption of a religion; a change from one belief, religion, doctrine, opinion etc. to another. From this definition, it would appear that a person initiates the process of conversion by himself. This would mean that there has been no undue influence, promise, allurement or instigation. In practice, however, it is usually the other way around, when adherents from one religion convert people of another to their own.

Let us examine some of the factors that are operational. Harold Rosen, an interfaith educator, has summarized that there are four categories of attitudes towards the religions of all others: No.1. Exclusivity – My religion is the only true one. No. 2. Inclusivity – my religion contains the truths of all others. No. 3. Plurality – each religion has its own respectable truths and values. No. 4. Progressive Unity – all religions have One Source, and will progressively converge.

From the above four definitions, it becomes clear that only the first two are involved in propagating conversions. Since God is Universal Being, and equally available to all religions, no religion has the exclusive rights to the truths. Religious founders have taught fundamental truths that are basic to all religions, even if the wordings are different. We need to remember that teachers of humanity have come at different times, in different locations, using different languages, and had to use metaphors applicable to their particular circumstances. This does not negate the fact that the truth is fundamentally one. The very word religion derives from the Latin re-ligare which means to reunite. In a spiritual sense, it means to reunite the soul with God. This is the essential unity, and truth, and all the scriptures, doctrines, dogmas and rituals are only corollaries to this truth. Therefore, both exclusivity and inclusivity cannot hold the absolute truth.

The third factor of plurality is more in keeping with Spirituality. However, the problem arises that adherents of each religion will have different ideas and practices relating to truths and values. Since spiritual truths are the same, having the same source in Divinity, plurality will miss the point. There can never be harmony.

Progressive unity which holds that all religions have One Source is definitely true. The source is God. God is one. The spirit is one. The universe in which God manifests is one. The consciousness of God is one. The energy of God is one. The intelligence of God is one. Thus, there is enough reason to believe that all religions have One Source.

Religious people have different reasons for wanting to convert others. They may feel a sense of superiority of their religion, or seek to increase their adherents, or satisfy a religious ego, or wanting to “save” others. Usually it is the more educated and economically advantaged who seek to convert the uneducated and materially disadvantaged people. The latter will often convert in order to improve their circumstances. In doing so they often suffer family breakups and isolation from their own communities. Life may become more difficult for them.

Since God is not partial to any one religion, it is not the spiritual thing to do to convert others. Definitely broadcast the teachings, as all the teachers of humanity have done, and let the spiritual seeds fall on whatever fertile heart is ready to receive them. It is important for us to recognize the generic Divinity in the hearts of all, and have love for all.

Dr. Jagessar Das

Kabir Association of Canada

www.kabir.ca

Religious conversion, Interfaith, Religious adherents, God, Universal Being

 

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TEACHING OF THE MASTERS # 3

TEACHING OF THE MASTERS # 3

In the previous articles we have discussed the concepts of omnipresence, infinity, duality the possible “gender” of God, and our place in this infinite universe. We would need to return to these from time to time in future discussions according to how the subjects unfold. We need to be aware from the very beginning that we are using words to try to understand and define concepts and attributes that transcend words of any language. Words are symbols to represent sounds that form words. Words as words have no inherent meanings. They symbolize things, ideas, concepts, feelings and other attributes. But our understanding of all of these depends on our exposure to them before, so that we have a memory of the “things” or concepts that the words symbolize. The word “apple” has no meaning until we associate it with the fruit. So according to the number of words and ideas a person has, we would roughly determine his level of education. 

From the above we see that a person’s education may be tied to his exposure to symbols (words) over time. But there is another type of knowledge that does not depend on words. In fact words cannot describe it. Take for example “love”. We all “know” what love is, but can we make someone understand or feel love if we use words to explain it? Can we make someone experience the sweet taste of sugar by describing it to him? Thus, some types of knowledge are intuitive, and come from within, and must be experienced personally to become knowledge for that person. To explain this point Guru Kabir said that if you repeat “God” “God” “God”, and you would get to God, then repeating “sugar” “sugar” “sugar” would make your mouth sweet, and repeating “food” “food” “food” would fill your stomach.

The point being made here is that to delve into spirituality we need to use words in the scriptures as instructions, guides, encouragement, yearning for Self-realization, and for developing faith, devotion and dedication. Scriptures would help to the extent that we develop and purify ourselves physically, mentally and spiritually. Once we practice these disciplines and are “elevated” to a certain degree, then we begin to develop an inner or intuitive knowledge of our real Self as spirit that is divine. It is this inner knowledge that gives us enlightenment, and frees us from passions of ego, greed, lust, anger, attachments, envy, hate, violence and worldly, material bondage, and confers freedom on us. This is the goal that our spiritual masters have come in the world to teach us. Are we ready to accept and practice the teachings? Let us truthfully and honestly answer this question for ourselves, and develop and awareness of where we are, what we have to do, and where we have to reach.

The above explanation of the use of words is to lay the foundation for future discussions of the soul, God, spirit, omnipresence, omniscience, omnipotence, eternity, infinity, creation, and similar topics that are likely to arise in pursuing the subject “Teaching of the Masters”. 

In the universe there are two obvious forms of manifestation as matter and energy. Science tells us that matter cannot be created or destroyed, but can only be changed from one form to another. Also, energy cannot be created or destroyed, but can only be changed from one form to another. They both exist in eternity and infinity, though scientists estimate that the universe is about 13.8 billion years old, and that it is ever expanding. Matter and energy are co-existent and depend on each other for manifesting their nature. There cannot be any sunlight without the sun (matter) or magnetism without the iron. There can be no matter without energy as in the atoms. The atomic bomb illustrates this principle. There is a “strong force” that holds the subatomic particles in the nucleus of each atom. Thus, the whole universe manifests as different combinations and permutations of energy and matter. 

Science tells us that the universe started as a “Big Bang” about 13.8 years ago with such a tremendous force that it is still expanding. We would leave out the theory of “dark energy – dark matter” that is thought to keep the universe expanding. The thing that went “Bang” is called the “Singularity” of very dense matter so that it contained all the matter that is now in the infinite universe. But from where did this “Singularity” come into being, and what motivated it to explode. Science does not have an answer. But the universe is here. And as far as science can tell us, and masters instruct us, the universe is infinite and eternal. Every particle in the universe, from the subatomic to the huge galaxies, is in constant motion, undergoing changes over huge periods of time, yet maintaining an overall harmony. Is there perhaps some form of intelligence involved in the functioning of the universe? We are all involved, so we should try to have some understanding of our place in the universe. Only then can we understand the teaching of the Masters.

Dr. J. Das
Kabir Association
dasj@shaw.ca

Universe, Big Bang, God, Duality, Omnipresence, Energy, Matter

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PEACE

LET THIS CHRISTMAS USHER IN PEACE

 PEACE

Where is the elusive peace we seek?

Where should we search for it?

Can we find it in material things,

Or by retreating into solitude?

Can we not find it in the fullness of life,

Even as we perform our daily tasks?

Where is the “Peace that passesth understanding?”

Surely, the source lies deep within our being,

For peace is the nature of the soul.

Can the mind not be in harmony with the soul,

That is the source of its being?

But the mind is driven by ego,

And by passions and stubborn desires.

How can there be peace

When anger, hate and greed exist?

When lust and envy corrode our being,

And pride and vanity hold sway?

Aren’t these the seeds of violence,

Of unrest, anxiety and stress?

Is it any wonder that peace is elusive,

Robbing human nature of its serenity?

There is a depth in our being,

Where abundant peace resides.

We must dive into our inner selves,

Where the fountain of peace beckons.

It will fill our troubled hearts,

If we make ourselves truly receptive.

So let us quickly go the source,

And usher peace into our troubled hearts.

 

Dr. Jagessar Das

www.kabir.ca

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LOVE

L O V E

“Love one another even as I have loved you,”

Taught Jesus to disciples and all people too.

His teaching is utterly simple but profound,

And to which all people should be morally bound.

Yet what do we see in humanity’s conduct,

Where humanity’s missing and passions corrupt?

’tis not the way for homo sapiens to be,

Which is clearly evident for people to see.

“Where love is there God is” is a maxim well known,

And when love’s absent God’s absent too, can be shown.

For the heart, devoid of love, for God has no place,

And sweet sentiments in it show no trace.

“Love of life” we all cherish without a doubt,

But our actions show that we’re not truly devout.

Killing of man and beast is widespread all around,

And anger, hate, greed and vanity abound.

How can love, divine love, in our hearts manifest,

When those of other race, creed or faith we detest?

When animals, the innocent creatures of God,

We kill with poison, gun, snare or fishing rod?

“God is Love”, we all faithfully and glibly say,

But our behaviour is one of great dismay.

Sweet Love, nectar of life, from our hearts should flow,

To God, man, beast and all nature with joyful glow.

Only then will the Lord’s teaching have meaning,

Which ennobles character without demeaning.

Let us put truth and sincerity in our heart,

And from true spiritual teachings not depart.

It’s easy for selfish ends to do as we please,

But from action’s strong bonds we will not find release.

In suffering and despair we’ll live day to day,

Until, pure in heart, we live in God’s loving way.

 

Dr. J. Das

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VEGETARIANISM, HEALTH AND SPIRITUALITY Cont’d

Deviji Speaking:

As you have raised the question of third world countries, Rachna, I would like to point out that many of the food shortages and improper diet of the third world people can be relieved, if the land were properly used to grow food for the hungry people of the world. It has been estimated that it takes three acres of land to support one meat-eating person, whereas it takes only half an acre to support a vegetarian. This means that five-sixths of the land now used for cattle could be used for growing food, and supplying it to the drought stricken, starving and hungry people of the world. All would remain healthier, and they will be well fed. You know that the world population is increasing. Land is not increasing. A time will likely come when the world will not be able to sustain its population. That is when extra land will need to be freed up for feeding the people. A vegetarian life-style will obviously make a great deal of sense.

Just think of it! It takes about fifteen pounds of grain that is fed to cattle to produce one pound of meat. How many people can live on one pound of meat, compared to the number who can live on fifteen pounds of grain? In economics, this is called the ‘law of diminishing returns’, because the amount of resources used, produces a greatly diminished amount in return. This is not a sensible way to use natural resources. People in business will immediately see that they cannot survive with this type of practice. I think that people, especially those with all the regulative powers, should pay attention to this fact, and use the world’s resources more economically.

Over use of nature’s bounty leads to suffering. Look at what is happening to the fishing industry in eastern Canada. The Grand Banks off the coast Newfoundland of was the most productive fishing area in the world. Due to over fishing, there is hardly any fishes for the people to catch. Now the people of that area have no jobs. This is due to mismanagement. This is not to say that we support fishing, but it is only an example of the misuse of what nature provided. Just think about the life of chickens. There was a documentary some time ago on the television that showed that when the eggs are hatched, the male chicks are thrown alive in a garbage can. The female chicks that are intended for laying eggs are given an injection of antibiotic. These are then raised and kept in small cubicles with no freedom of movement. They become egg-laying machines. The egg drops into a conveyer belt and is carried away for packaging. Similarly, the feed is brought on a conveyer belt, and the chicks eat by poking their heads through the cage wires. Their natural lives are shortened, and when they are not productive, they are slaughtered for food.

In transportation to the poultry processing plants, chickens are confined to small cages stacked one on top of another to fill a huge, open transport truck. At high speed, and especially in cold weather, the wind blowing on these chickens are indeed very strong. Many of them die on the journey.

Think about the millions upon millions of turkeys that are slaughtered for Christmas and thanksgiving. What a contradiction! On the one hand the turkeys are slaughtered, and on the other hand people are offering thanks to God. Will God accept thanks when people kill innocent creatures? Guru Kabir said: “Here they spill blood and there they offer prayers. Can God be happy?”

As you can see, girls, meat eating is not the best way to use God’s natural resources. It will be well for people to pay more attention to lifestyles. Over all, by following a vegetarian life-style, people will be more compassionate, as there will not be so much killing by the billions all over the world, for the sake of satisfying the appetite. The appetite can very well be satisfied with vegetarian foods.”

(Note: I am vegan)

Dr. Jagessar Das

www.kabir.ca

Vegetarian, Cattle, Natural resources, Health, Diminishing returns, Hunger

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TEACHING OF THE MASTERS #2

Teaching of the Masters #2             

People intuitively believe in a Supreme Being whom they call by different names. The named Being is the same in spite of ‘labels’ applied to It or to Him or to Her. Anything that can be named must have a finite existence in time and space, and must be cognizable by the senses. It has to exist in a duality in which the one who thinks he cognizes the other, and this other – the Supreme – must be outside of him. This state of affairs nullifies the omnipresence of the Supreme. Has any one talking of the Supreme known It (Him, Her) by the use of the sense organs? How then can the Supreme Being be named and described in various ways? Sooner or later we have to ask ourselves these questions, and try to find adequate answers so that we can direct our spiritual energies in the proper direction to reach a certain goal towards which we feel we are heading. If we do not, then we would be tossed about by the vicissitudes of life, and not find a safe mooring, and our energies would have been spent and our days ended unfulfilled.

There are several topics we need to deal with as raised in the above paragraph. Let us consider omnipresence of the Supreme – God. Simply stated, God is everywhere. This “everywhere” does not mean the earth alone that is no more than an invisible speck in the Milky Way galaxy that consists of billions of stars, and our sun is only one of them – and its only a medium sized one. Outside of our Milky Way galaxy there are billions of other galaxies in an expanding and infinite universe. So where do we place God? Omnipresence means “everywhere at the same time”. What sort of a Being can have this attribute? This is a question we need to consider if we wish to follow a meaningful religious or spiritual life.

This omnipresent Being is also eternal as It is infinite. What is meant by “eternal”? Does It have a beginning or will It have an end? There is no beginning or end of the Supreme. The masters have explained that God is beyond time and space, and beyond names and forms. So what name and what form do we give to God? And every religion has its chosen name or names for God. Does the name any religious system gives to God the proper name? Can we name the un-namable? So it is clear that the names we give to God are for our convenience in communicating with one another of the same belief system, and no more. If we can name that which we cannot perceive with our senses, and which is un-namable, then God is no more God. So where are we to go from here?

Another question is the gender of God. In nearly all scriptures, writings and discussions God is referred to as “Him”. Who figured out that God is male? In calling God by a male designation, we are unconsciously urged to do so by identifying with the human male. So what about the human female? Does she not have an equal representation in the name of the Supreme? Can God be a male or a female and still be omnipresent and eternal? Male and female represent limitations. Can we limit the infinite and eternal? Are we perhaps confusing ourselves, and not taking the trouble or initiative to un-confuse us? We need to ponder on this issue if we are to be on the proper path to reach the nebulous goal, which we feel we are going to reach.

If we think that God is neither he nor she, as we have been trying to understand, then perhaps we can say God is “It”. “It” would indicate a neuter gender, and would be more in keeping with a Force or Energy or Universal Intelligence or Consciousness. We are familiar with the terms “Cosmic Consciousness” Cosmic Intelligence” Cosmic Being” and so forth. Would this not better fit the definition of omnipresence, infinity and eternity, and not yet mentioned omnipotence, and free us from calling God a male or perhaps a female, and impose limitations on It? We have to come to grips with this question also if we are to see our way clear to reach our spiritual goal.

Now let us consider the concept of duality. Duality indicates that there is an observer and something outside of him that he observes. It is the “pair of opposites” we are familiar with such as “me and you”, “here and there”, “good and bad” and so forth. In all religions people speak of God as being elsewhere, and they direct their prayers to “Him” who is in heaven above, or in Swarga or Satlok. At the same time people also say God is everywhere. This is contradictory, and denies God’s omnipresence. How can we reconcile these contradictions so that we are clear in our minds that we are following the proper path to our spiritual goal? Yet, as spiritual beings, we must reconcile them, for there is a uni-versal “Unity” in which we exist. Only when we have a satisfactory answer to these can we have an intuitive knowledge of our integrative relationship with God whose omnipresence unites all of us.

 Dr. Jagessar Das

Kabir Association of Canada

Twitter: @jagessar das

God, Universal Energy, Consciousness, heaven, Omnipresence, Name of God

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VEGETARIANISM, HEALTH AND SPIRITUALITY Cont’d

Deviji speaking:

Let us discuss the raising of animals for meat. Animals, especially beef cattle, require large amounts of land for grazing. It is estimated that twenty acres of forests are destroyed every minute in the world, and most of this is for raising cattle for meat. Much of this forest destruction is occurring in Brazil, South America. When forests are destroyed, the plant material is usually burned, and this produces a great deal of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide increases the green house effect, thus increasing the temperature of the earth. The treeless land is then subject to erosion, which washes out millions of tons of earth into the rivers and oceans. The nutrition from the earth is washed away, and landslides also occur in areas of deforestation.

In addition to the loss of forests, many animal and plant species are destroyed in the process. Some of these species are becoming extinct, and man will never know of the benefits to be derived from the vanishing plants and animals. Hundreds of species and, perhaps thousands of plants and animals, are disappearing from the earth every year. Future generations will have no way of experiencing the present eco-system, as we know it.

Trees and plants transport a large amount of water from the earth to the atmosphere, through the process of respiration. This water returns to earth as rainfall. When the forests are destroyed, the rainfall pattern is also disturbed which affects the general water balance between the earth and the atmosphere. This will have effects on rivers and streams.

Cattle raising, because of its large use of water for cultivating grass and grain, and for feeding cattle, causes depletion of the water table in intensive farming areas. The cattle industry is also responsible for pollution of nearby rivers and lakes, from all the waste products produced. A famous example is the pollution of Lake Okeechobee, in Florida, from all the surrounding cattle rearing industry. Cattle also produce large amounts of methane gas, which goes into the atmosphere. Along with carbon dioxide, it helps to increase the green house effect, thus increasing the warming trend of the earth.

From the point of view of damage to forests and land surface alone, it is important for all people to consider the destructive nature of the meat industry. People need to consider conservation of nature, rather than exploitation. Being a vegetarian will certainly go a long way, in helping to conserve nature”.

Rachna: “But Deviji! You are talking about ecology and protecting nature. It is known that most people in the world are not mindful of nature and ecology. In all the third world countries people are very busy trying to earn a living, and ecology is the farthest thing from their minds.”

Deviji: “What you are saying is true, Rachna. In all the third world countries people tend to be poor, and they are struggling to earn a livelihood. But at the same time you will note that the destruction of ecological systems is not caused so much by the poor people of the third world countries. It is caused by the developed countries that support all kinds of industries causing pollution, and environmental damage. They use most of the world’s natural resources. They also consume most of the meat produced in the world. That is why it is important to discuss ecology, even if the third world countries are not contributing a great deal to ecological problems.

Dr. Jagessar Das

Vegetarianism, Health, Spirituality, Ecology, Environmental pollution

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