Wednesday, April 22, 2009

You've got it right and others are on a 'wrong' path

I am ready for my quiet sitting time in the morning. This is the time when ideas, impressions, new possibilities, even pieces of dreams from unknown sources come visiting. Today though, they seem to fit together, creating a cohesive story that unrolls itself before me. 
We are about a hundred or so in number, sitting together and ready for the satsang of this clean-shaven white-clad teacher.

He began: Try to say 'complimentary religion' rather than comparative religion. Compare is often followed by the word contrast; there is nothing to compare or contrast. Do not study other traditions to find holes in their belief systems. Honour the strengths of your own tradition. And if you notice similarities with others, be gracious enough to acknowledge and appreciate the gifts of other traditions. Cure yourself of thinking that you've got it right and others are on a 'wrong' path.
Familiarise yourself with the mystics of all spiritual paths; Kabir, Rumi, Tukaram, Julian of Nowrich, Hassids, Sufis. Be conversant with the Bible and see how Jesus tries to spread love, and cut across discriminative barriers; reflect on the Bhagavad Gita and the call to a life of sattva and selfless action; explore the intricate web of the Quran and recognise invitations to mercy and justice; appreciate the stress on self-work and enlightenment in the Dhammapada.

Consider all these as intimations of a larger implicit order; parts of an unseen wholeness. At all times look for 'invitations' ^ what are the divine messengers inviting us humans to think, to be, to do?
No traditions, if you've studied them with sensitivity and understanding, incite their followers to violence. Abstain from defiling any tradition by placing its name before such words as terrorism or bomb.

We were a deeply silent crowd a mix of young and old, ordinarily dressed, as well as saffron-clad, robed, bearded, turbaned; of priests, nuns, intellectuals of various shades. Yet the teacher addressed us as if individually, with integrity, intensity, and uncommon humility. As we let it all sink in, we smiled at each other in confirmed fellowship.

Enigmatically, he lifted a pair of scissors and a paper punch in each hand: Strive not to cut asunder nor punch holes. Placing them down, he picked a paper clip and stapler and added: Try rather to be a connector, a uniter. 
Steer clear of a worldview of distancing, division and dominance. Do not subscribe to any ideology of hate. If you set up TV channels, do so not to malign others with voices that sound fierce and uncompromising or worse reasonable-sounding yet slyly malicious. Use the power of the media to spread the message of peace and real community.

All spiritual traditions care as much for the soul as for the soil and the social, because both agriculture and culture have their common root in the Latin cultus meaning worship.

If your benefactors or flock are ready to raise funds, use the money, time or attention not simply for proselytising but for building schools, hospitals, homes for the aged, and hospices.

In your prayers, while wishing happiness, health and prosperity for your family, friends and colleagues, raise the bar higher to include the rest of the six billion of the earth who breathe the same air, and whose blood runs the same colour as yours.

He ended: Think at all times how to remain centered, sane and intelligent. One's efforts should be directed towards acquiring enlightenment, refining desire and will by purging them of selfishness, by learning to endure pain, getting rid of hate, cultivating love.

Turn to the side where the light is. 
Source: here

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