To bring all to God who is Love. Nothing else matters. God alone is. The rest are false.
To bring wo/men of all religions to love and serve and opt for the poor over the rich, wherever they are in whatever station of life. The poor appear to be filthy, smelly and sub-human since we the moneyed choose to exploit them in the name of God, our own salvation and innate pride. We Hindus say they are poor because they deserve to be poor due to their past karma, the Christians say they are poor for God loves the poor and it is His Will. But deep study both of Hinduism and of Christianity shows both views to be erroneous. These are ways that we have invented to not help our fellow wo/men. We use false logic to silence our own consciences. The poor do not need our charity, neither should we help others who are deprived since that is what we think will take us to heaven or to God. We must help others simply because others are there and without others we have no meaning. For instance, if you win a trophy in some match and run to your home and shout in joy that you have won that trophy: only to find out that there is none other in that house since you took all of them for granted. & they have all fled from you. So the poor, whom we condescendingly help, are our neighbors. So please serve others. Please do not fall into the trap of solipsism.
To bring about inner conversion, leading to bringing hope to others.
To make certain wherever we are that we ourselves have mukti; lead others to mukti and to become flames of love for those forgotten by mainstream society.
This blog continues for I know God has not forgotten you or I or any one of us. No matter what we have done, in what situation of life we are in, no matter how bad our lives may be. God journeys with you and suffers along with you. You are not forgotten by God. No matter what you think. God loves you. When you are beaten, defeated, laid low…destroyed and utterly forgotten by those whom you helped once, or in those you trusted once. No matter who has betrayed you: God loves you. Hinduism and Christianity both agree that God is real; personal, acting within history in your life. You may not be something in others’ eyes or even your own; but you are very important; indeed unique to God.
Philosophizing and writing and being learned are all means to loving others. The first three are useless unless we help others in the here and the now through philosophy, the humanities, science and learning.
Please do not rob others of faith in goodness, kindness and love. These are the attributes of God. When someone is mortally ill or cares for the terminally ill; then it is within the sacred scriptures of a religion that one often finds meaning in suffering. It is a sin to deny the terminally ill or their caregivers of the solace of religion and the genuine chance for them to encounter God within the matrix of suffering. (This is not the same thing as asking for the poor to remain poor so that they encounter God. Poverty is detestable and is to be eradicated.) What I mean is that God is abject, God seeks love, God wants to be loved (the bhakti marga) and when people are terminally ill or pass through life-altering negative stressors; God suffers along-with those who suffer. God is with the mentally ill, in their private hell; God is with the childless couple who want a kid desperately; God is with the unmarried who seek companionship. & God is with those who are abandoned by their families and packed off to old-age homes. God is there with the ruffians who rape (but also with the one who is raped), the quality of mercy is never strained. God is.
The only thing that matters is that we sow love; that we imitate only holy wo/men; we should initially avoid the company of the worldly and slowly turn to self-discipline and further, very slowly, turn to God present in others. Only then will we be able to help others. Nothing fast, impulsively or unscientifically. Going slow is the key-theme here.
Please for the sake of God, exercise, take allopathic medicines, study first before arguing, try not to argue; eat and sleep well. Only then the other things will be added unto you. Be holy in small things; the big things don’t matter.
Please do not gossip.
Please do not slander.
Please do not judge others.
Please do not speak out of turn.
Please do not speak of yourself as much as is possible.
Please read poetry daily.
Please don’t ask others to be holy.
Please do not scare little children.
Please even in jokes do not humiliate or speak about the weaknesses of others. Never please remind someone of their weak points.
Please say hello and welcome those whom you cannot tolerate. God loves that person whom you think you hate too. & please remember that in the furnace of time neither you and your object of hatred will live. Both will be with God. So don’t hate anyone. Forgive from within. If you cannot, please seek counselling and take medications.
If you can, then meditate/pray. But let not others know you pray.
Seek out men and women who have renounced everything internally, and put yourself under their obedience. This does not mean you will do morally wrong things if asked by your spiritual mother/father/friend. It only means that you have some outside safeguards to ensure that you are progressing in your spiritual life.
Seek the company of the materially poor, the socially marginalized; not to help them; but to be like unto them.
If you do these things, then my writing here serves some purpose. I am an imperfect being; with pride and hedonism. But i have known wo/men and men who were devoid of these. And I know a few alive, well and kicking who are saints. They are living signs from God, that God has not tired of mankind. For example, I know of a gentleman with four kids living in the fringes of an Indian metropolis who is incapable of greed, of lust, of speaking untruths, of hating others. Yet he is a man of the world, in the world and very much aware of the world. He has married off his two daughters well. His one son is divorced and other son’s choice of girl is not to his liking. Yet he has accepted the marriage and the various ups and downs in his life with equanimity. I have never heard him speak even one word against anyone at all. Never. I have never seen him trying to earn more than what is needed for a reasonably good life for his family. He had a heart by-pass surgery and had other life-threatening diseases. He has angina. Yet he is not overtly worried. He seeks medical help and leads a very low-profile life and I know it for a fact that he is always praying and always seeking God, always wanting others to change their lives for reaching God and never grumbles. I also know it for a fact that he never judges a person. He refers them to God. He is above 60, a grand-dad, and a man available to others are all times of the day 24*7. He is a Hindu. A man who will die with literally hundreds of people becoming bereft of a father, of a friend, of a mentor, of a sage. So, the purpose of this blog is to remind ourselves that God is. God still sends us holy men and women. It is possible for us too to be holy and experience God in our own lives.There is no substitute to seeking God. The loneliness we feel inside, the emptiness in our hearts will only go if we seek God.
As I grow older, I see the uselessness of stuff like theology, philosophy and political science. Unfortunately I can’t trust history either. All these fields of study tend to be parochial and have a ‘we-know-it-all’ attitude. Literature and art just don’t have the answers and may be the right way to go for this world which turns and turns in a widening gyre (Yeats) and hurtles towards self-destruction. C’mon, dear reader do you know what comes after this life, where do we go, whom do we meet? Literature, unlike all other fields of inquiry has a straightforward answer, let’s ++++ing admit it, we don’t know the answers to the really biggies. So as old chum Ruby said long ago; have a smile and don’t put others down just because they disagree with you.
I am reading Fatherland by Robert Harris, a dystopia about what might have happened had the Nazis remained in power. A remarkable book with some spirited poetry quoted from Erich Kästner :
You love hatred and want to measure the world against it. You throw food to the beast in man, That it may grow the beast deep within you! Let the beast in man devour man.
- Marschliedchen (1932)
These lines are more poignant now for us in the subcontinent for the Taliban are knocking at our doors. They insist on pretty much the same things all fanatics everywhere stress on : purity, God and salvation of the soul. The Nazis, by the way demanded the same. And let us not for one moment imagine that they or any other fanatics are trying to glorify God; all they want is power. For some of us sex does the trick, food works for others, God-cackle does for this lot.If you are a Caucasian reader thinking fundamentalists are not in your midst, you are wrong ma’m/mister. The Bible quoting freak who loves buggery but tells your kid in school to be chaste is as good as the freak-show Talib who shoots kids for singing nursery rhymes in the Swat Valley. The fundamentalists are everywhere and they are gaining in power.
The fanatic is right next door to you. Wherever you are , whoever you are, you are not safe till you protest. No amount of career jingoism, no amount of ostrich- existence can stop the next 9/11 unless you protest. Defeat fundamentalism with your very last breathe. The Anti-Christ has many Medusa-heads. S/he is everywhere, in our midst. S/he quotes the Bible, the Quran, the Bhagavad Gita. S/he speaks of God, Allah and Brahma. Nonetheless s/he has hatred in her/his heart. Be warned, my friend. Be afraid.
Again and again we are being bombed by Islamic Fundamentalists. Again and again there is a cry for us to soften anti-terror laws. Again and again we are asked to stop persecuting minorities in the name of terror. But would some Muslims answer the following?
These children [abused or in incestuous relationships] feel physically and morally helpless, their personalities are not sufficiently consolidated in order to be able to protest, even if only in thought, for the overpowering force and authority of the adult makes them dumb and can rob them of their senses. The same anxiety, however, if it reaches a certain maximum, compels them to subordinate themselves like automata to the will of the agressor, to divine each one of his desires and gratify these; completely oblivious of themselves they identify with the aggressor.
The Confusion of Tongues Between Adults and Children: The Language of Tenderness and of Passion.
Religion is all about empowering the helpless. And life is all about escaping structures of domination and hegemony. At the level of the microcosm of the family, we find that the worst overwhelming that can happen to anyone is when her or his trust in adults is betrayed. The very same adults she trusts. I am talking of the worst kind of child abuse here; incest. If we are to be truly religious we need to wake up to this evil in ours families ( Incest : A New Perspective, Mary Hammer, 2002, UK ).
Ferenczi is a much neglected psychoanalyst. He needs to be studied anew. His work for the welfare of children is revolutionary. May be that’s why Freud junked this old time friend.
Zimbabwe is starving. There is no food anywhere. Even money cannot buy food, for the shops are empty. People are not only eating old rotting food from the dirt-vats in urban areas but are also scooping up mud and eating the same with dirty water. This is hunger.
& the world has forgotten Zimbabwe…
My readers, please offer up to God your own sufferings for tonight to the cause of Zimbabwe. We cannot rest easy when this genocide is happening there. While you and I eat and sleep well today, people in Zimbabwe are shrieking with hunger pangs. & none listens to them…
As the Oblates of St. Benedict say: it is our duty to pray for a world which refuses to pray for itself.
Obama is the typical, “pro-choice” relativistic atheist constructing his own truth. When Pastor Warren asked the two presidential candidates at what stage protection of human life must begin, John McCain answered ‘at conception’, whereas, Obama tried to confuse the issue by claiming that the question has both theological and scientific dimensions. He concluded that the answer is above his pay grade. Later on, he admitted that he had given a flippant answer. For Obama the truth is not determined by reality but can be twisted and turned to suit his purposes in different situations. If Obama cannot answer from what stage human life must be protected, how can he be so adamant in pursuing policies that afford no protection to the preborn child!
Not so long ago, as time is counted, there came to a certain oasis far in the western desert a faqir. He was a Qalandar, a wandering darvish, who had walked the deserts of Africa and Arabia for many years, seeking only solitude wherein he could remember his Creator and contemplate the Divine mysteries. His virtue and faith, his submission to the will of God, had been rewarded with tranquility of spirit, and his sincerity and devotion on the path of Love was such that the Hidden had been revealed to his heart, and he had become a Wali, a Friend of God.
Now it came to pass that the night the faqir wandered into this oasis and lay beneath a palm tree to rest before the
midnight prayer, there was, unknown to him, another man under a nearby tree who was also making camp for the night.
But the other man was a notorious bandit, once the feared chieftain of a band of robbers who had for years plundered the spice caravans and waylaid rich merchants on their way from the coastal cities to the inland towns. The outcry against his merciless raids, however, had at last reached the ears of the Sultan and he had ordered his soldiers to hunt down the band and destroy them. Many were caught and beheaded. Many others deserted their chief out of fear that they would share the fate of their comrades.
Eventually, this evil man found himself alone. His purse was now empty, every last coin having been spent in escape, and he was a hunted criminal with a price on his head. Even his former allies, those dishonest merchants who had bought his stolen goods, closed their doors against him. They also feared, lest the wrath of the Sultan fall upon their necks. And so he had fled for many days across the desert and come at last to the oasis where, tired and hungry, he sat beneath a tree and cursed his wretched fate.
Now I ask you, which of these two men is the greater, and which the less? Whom has God blessed and whom has He cursed? No, do not answer! You do not know the answer, for you are not their judge. The Creator alone is the judge of His creation.
Munkir and Nakir, however, the angels who question the dead when they are assigned to the grave, looked upon the scene of the two men and sighed. ‘Surely,’ said Munkir ‘here at least the true gold may be seen from the false. These two may be judged, though their end is not yet come. God will have the greater, and Satan the less.’
‘Alas! It must be so,’ agreed Nakir. ‘True gold is the most rare, and therefore are the fields of heavens spacious indeed, while the halls of Hell are filled to bursting, overflowing even the deepest pits.’
Now God perceived the thoughts of His servants, and spoke to the hearts of the two angels. ‘Verily, thou hast pronounced their just fate,’ He said. ‘Yet woe unto mankind had I created the world by justice alone. Am I not the Merciful and Compassionate? Behold! I will visit them with sleep and visions that thou shalt know the truth of My creation.’
Thus the Lord sent sleep and mighty dreams to the faqir and the wretched thief. And lo, the Qalandar awoke in hell, even into the midst of the great fires of the pit. And the bandit chief arose in
Paradise, where he stood among the saints before the very Throne of God.
The Master laid down his spent pipe and sipped his tea. His eyes searched our faces over the rim of the glass. “Is it mercy to send the worst of man to heaven?” he asked. “Or justice to send the best of man to hell?”
No one dared answer.
“Good!” he said soothingly. “To cleanse the heart of judgment is to discern the Way of Love. And such was the lesson of Munkir and Nakir. For they beheld the faqir awaken in the very midst of Hell, and saw that most worthy of men rise up naked as the fires burned his flesh and the cries of tormented souls pierced his ears. Yet he did not feel pain at the touch of the flames, and showed neither surprise nor fear. His thought was only of his Beloved, and no affliction was great enough to sway his love. He sat among the fires and the torment as a darvish sits, and in a voice clear and strong he began to sing.
‘La Illah illa Allah! La Illaha illa Allah!’
The fires blazed furiously as the song began and then dimmed to smoldering embers, and the burning mountains trembled at the Holy Name. Now the tormented souls ceased their wailing to listen, for the name of God is not uttered in the pits. Then there was no other sound to be heard but his, and the song went on and on until the very foundations of Hell were shaken, and the damned souls began to feel a spark of forbidden hope.
Surely Hell would have fallen into ruin had not Satan himself appeared, and begged the faqir to depart. But the old man would not move, for he had walked many years on the Path of Love, and the Beloved’s Will was his will, whether it be paradise or eternal fire.
The Master paused for a moment to again sip the tea beside him. He did not look at us until he began the tale again.
“And what of the thief?” he asked, when the glass was empty. “This chieftain of bandits who was once so feared and terrible, and who had fallen into wretchedness and misery, the fate of all such men in the end.”
God caused the two angels to perceive his vision also, and they saw him rise and stand robed in white, trembling amidst the host of heaven, before the Throne of Almighty God. And the angel Gabriel spoke unto him.
‘By the mercy of the Lord, thy Creator, thy earthly deeds are forgiven thee,’ he said. ‘Come now and be at peace.’ And now the truth filled his heart, and great wonder, and every veil fell from his eyes; and he saw with a clear sight the Majesty and Beauty of His Compassion, and he wept.
And the Lord God spoke unto him, and said: ‘O man, fear not. For thou canst not fall so low that I cannot raise thee up.’
And fear left the thief. He prostrated himself before his God and wept. On and on flowed the endless tears of his wasted life, until they became the very waters of mercy and would not cease; and the feet of the saints were washed by his tears.
He would have wept for eternity had not the vision ended and the two men abruptly awakened. Then the thief saw the faqir as he stood, and came to him still weeping from the dream. And the faqir perceived all that had befallen them and embraced him, and they prayed together at the
midnight hour even unto the dawn. Much befell them afterwards, for the thief became the disciple of the faqir, but that is all of their tale I will tell.
And Munkir and Nakir, who had witnessed but the tiniest particle of the unending Mercy of God, bowed before their Creator in submission, and in shame of their rash condemnation. For surely beyond the comprehension of men and angels is the Judgment of God.