Reincarnation in a nutshell

Moving back to matters of the spirit rather than of the mind, as a metaphysical Hindu interested in obtaining a purview of reality which transcends the valuable guidance available in all the major religions, I hold on to a belief which I acquired in my youth; that is, reincarnation.

This concept of a repeated renewal of Earthly life was, I understand, part of the belief systems of most cultures, until the early Christian church discarded it. This belief offers a continuity in the process of soul purification, as driven by one’s free will. The process needs more than a single lifetime.

Refreshing my reading of The Upanishads by Ecknath Easwaran, an American academic of Asian Indian origin, I came upon the following self-explanatory excerpt:   

As a caterpillar, having come to the end of one blade of

grass, draws itself together and reaches out for the next,

so the Self, having come to the end of one life and shed all

ignorance, gathers in its faculties and reaches out from the

old body to a new.

(Brihadaranyaka III.4.3)

I offer to share this with other Seekers of understanding of reality.




About my writing

To complete my story about my writing, I offer the following.

I began to write in primary school. On a palm-sized slip of paper (to avoid being caught by the teacher) I set down my thought for the day, and passed it to my immediate neighbours. At work, I wrote analytical reports. For civil society, I wrote press releases. Writing was my surfboard, permitting me to ride the waves in many seas.

After retirement, I had a significant psychic experience. The spirit of my senior uncle, who had appeared to guide my spiritual development, suggested that I could contribute to building a bridge from whence I came to where I am. It took me 2 years to accept that I knew enough about migration and settlement to do what had been suggested by the spirit world.

Imbued with the communitarian spirituality of traditional Asia, and wondering whether what I really had anything relevant to say, I began to write.  Based upon my own settlement experience in Australia and my policy work experience (at the level of Director) as a federal official, I wrote 3 books on ethnic affairs & multiculturalism, citizenship & national identity, refugee & humanitarian entry, and settlement assistance.

A memoir, infused with Eastern philosophy, then described my life under British colonialism, a Japanese military occupation, and a racist White Australia which denied me equal opportunity; yet enabled me to reach leadership positions in civil society. Two other books followed. One was fiction, written for fun. The other, the latest, is about Australian society, reflecting my tentative conclusions about matters I had thought about.

All my non-fiction books were endorsed by senior academics in diverse disciplines and other notable persons. The book of fiction and my memoir received most favourable reviews; the latter included a recommendation by the US Review of Books.

Also published are many articles, especially 44 in – on a variety of issues arising from my books.

See also my website and

My 4 Palmer Higgs ebooks

Springing down from the ethereal to the mundane, since I am the Featured Author by the distributor of 4 of my books, I offer to my followers and friends a thumbnail sketch of these books.

‘The Karma of Culture’ (dedicated to all the babies who wiggle their toes at us) was reviewed thus: ‘A rare hard-hitting and insightful book with wide appeal. It deals with the cross-cultural impacts of a culturally diverse immigrant intake, and potential for Asian cultural and spiritual values to influence Western thinking about democracy, human rights and societal values. The content is compelling and the arguments convincing.’

“What a beautiful mind! ‘Hidden Footprints of Unity’ is a substantial work from an intelligent and spiritually perceptive man. Arasa has skillfully navigated his way through a vast array of subjects: ‘the strange sensitivity to skin colour by most adult whites … the search for the Divine … the desire by some to peer into the Void … the issues of a divisive tribalism and the imperatives of an evolving new Australian national identity.'” That was said by a reviewer.
While waiting to ‘collect my wings,’ I decided to place on the record my (tentative) conclusions about my society and the place of mankind in the Cosmos. My socio-political comments are hard but fair; and in chapters 9 (On religion) & 10 (On the Cosmos) I draw upon certain perspectives from the ancient Hindus. I find fascinating a Cosmos which recycles itself every 3.11 trillion human years. The book is ‘Musings at Death’s Door.’ “There is wisdom here” said a renowned academic.
Pithy Perspectives is a smorgasbord of short, short, bicultural stories. The last of the 21 stories is about House the Mouse and Maxie, a black cat which liked a daily snack of a mouse. The white cat in the story was my Persian who then adopted my little daughter; and they were all able to communicate with one another. Eventually, Maxie became absorbed by the aura of Buddha’s philosophy. The other stories range from wacky/weird to philosophical/spiritual.
Accolades: Musings at Death’s Door received a recommendation from the US Review of Books (a rare recommendation, said the review). Pithy perspectives received wonderful reviews from the US Review and also from the NSW President of the Federation of Australian Writers. Reviews are being sought for the other 2 books. Shows that I am not just a pretty face!


A ‘Featured Author’

For a week, commencing today, the Facebook page for Palmer Higgs Books will present me as a ‘Featured Author.’  This company is the distributor of 4 my 6 books. As ebooks, they cost less than $10. I invite my friends and relatives to view that page.

As well, my WordPress pages provide full details about my books and the accolades received. What I hope to achieve is to have my thoughts projected into the Cosmos. My primary objective is, through my knowledge of all aspects of immigration, to convince readers that mankind needs unity arising from ethno-cultural diversity, hopefully leading ultimately to the Family of Man.

Is that too optimistic? After all, we are co-created. Should not that lead to a merging of souls in the fullness of time?

The wisdom of the ancients

I remember that, at about 8 years of age, I asked my parents about the origin of the universe. This was a time when, before bedtime, my family often sat outside our home in the dark, and wondered at the beauty and apparently complexity of a sparkling sky. Their response? It has always been here, with neither beginning nor end. What an entrancing glimpse of reality, in the midst of a life of material insecurity!

While traversing the mechanistic perception of all that is in the universe by the modern Western world, throughout my life, my wonderment has continued. I remain unsatisfied by the changing speculative explanations or theories of modern science. Instead, I have been entranced by the myths from all over the world about the inexplicable complexity of the Cosmos. I recognise that enduring myths originating in ancient, long-gone civilisations will reflect some history, while offering explanations of the mysterious.

I have also been challenged by the claim (read The Upanishads by Ecknath Easwaran) that the mind is only an instrument of consciousness.

Those of us who are spiritual know that, since we humans are co-created, we are interconnected; that is, bonded to one another (at least, in intent). Similarly, the recently discovered principles of quantum physics has led to free-thinking cosmologists working in that discipline to postulate that the interconnectedness of all matter and events (the ‘oneness’ described by mystics in many cultures) is actually conscious, possibly intelligent. These heretics of science may take us to a real understanding of existence.

Indeed, in his autobiography, Paramahamsa Yogananda wrote of his wonderful experiences of cosmic consciousness in a state of ecstatic joy when “ … the entire Cosmos … glittered with the infinitude of my being.”

Modern science may yet accept that those who came before us may have glimpsed reality in a way not practised by us.


What one perceives to be of form and substance may only be a transient projection from that

all-embracing, all-permeating, ever-existing essence of indefinable reality which is the Cosmos.

This, the ancients called Consciousness.

Does this not explain that subtle yearning by sensitive souls to return to that very ocean (the Ocean

of Consciousness) from which we humans had once arisen?

Is this not the greatest, and yet simplest, lesson we can impart to our youth?


Yet more random thoughts on Australian Society

Soon after I arrived during the White Australia policy era, I realised that the oldest generation had to die before the level of expressed racism could be lowered. That did happen. Now, I believe that my generation has to die before the societal tolerance displayed by my offspring’s generation (now entering into middle age) prevails. The future does look good in terms of the acceptance of racial, cultural, or religious differences. Cross-ethnic and cross-cultural marriages demonstrate this, as does fusion cuisine in kitchens.

However, there is no denying that society is deteriorating, partly through the breakdown of family. While marriage is wanted by gays and lesbians, it is becoming less popular with the heterosexuals. The risk of a marriage breakdown is allegedly up to 40% – but occurring over a period of about 20 years. Children appear to be seen by the more able or skilled as secondary in their order of values. Now there is a demand (taxpayer-subsidised, of course) for after-school hours (and even overnight) childcare. Who cares for the impact on a young child of over-long childcare?

I know a boy who was collected from his pre-school only after 5pm. Each day he would misplace (or lose) his jacket or school bag or lunch bag. I realised, having studied child development, that he was angry, not just unhappy, as almost all his classmates had been collected by 3.30pm. During his primary school years, he was rude (when he could get away with it), or recalcitrant in manner in so many ways, indicating to me his subconscious anger. It did not help that his mother did not come home until about 6.30pm, having left at 8am.

I have read of a research project which had found exactly what this boy displayed. As a qualified psychologist, it seemed to me to be an objective study. In terms of maintaining the integrity of society, I can only hope that the appropriate authorities will take necessary action to ensure that children like this boy are not alienated from society.

Will this explain (perhaps to some extent) the random acts of thuggery in public places reported in the media? But then, family breakdown has already been blamed for children and youth unhappiness and anger. Further, there is a possibility that some wives may be seeking to have their husbands pay for the sins of their fathers (against their mothers).

In the unspoken circumstances of an insidious deterioration of modern society, what scope is there to inculcate in our youth a needed sense of spirituality based on the mutuality of human behaviour?

More random thoughts on Australian society

Australia does not have a population policy. Its immigration policy is to increase the population, as quickly as possible, preferably with Christians (a shift from earlier decades when white Roman Catholics had priority). An underlying aim seems to be to have the greatest variety in ethno-cultural origins. This would result in an attenuated capacity (through a dearth in numbers and voting power) for an ethnic community to get its hands on the political levers.

Currently, the Celtic component of the Anglo-Celt Australian reportedly controls both federal policy and the administration. This might explain why, although Australia is claimed to be a secular nation, a bill of rights (or a statute of liberty) or voluntary euthanasia (sought by more than 80% of the population) is denied. Public statements recently by a professional ethicist and an official theologian did not mention compassion, only (their) freedom of conscience and other self-serving concepts. You can’t have what I am not allowed to have – is what this says to me. My question is this – why should your right of conscience deny me mine in a democratic nation? As a communitarian small-l liberal, I stand for responsible freedom. (Read my book ‘Musings at Death’s door.)

While welfare is so readily available (even to undocumented, unidentifiable, economic immigrants), there is seemingly an adequate disincentive for many unemployed to go to where the jobs are. Indeed, there is an incentive to move to low-employment districts, especially for empty-nesters. The disability pension is also said to provide a financial incentive to the long-term unemployed. I have met a few in each of these categories.

Then, there are the dysfunctional families. Reportedly, thousands of children are at serious risk of bodily harm; the likely perpetrator is the new boyfriend of the mother. There are also the homeless living on the streets; many may be suffering from mental problems. There is also the issue of defining mental ill-health. An expert claims that 1 in every 4 of the population is mentally ill. Others now claim that sadness (surely a temporary experience) indicates mental ill-health! We are fast becoming a sick society.

Some random thoughts on a modern Western society

A little lubrication of some kind is absolutely necessary for a smooth relationship between moving metal parts in any structure. Similarly human relationships need the lubricant of civility, even courtesy, in speech and demeanour. My initial experiences in Australia were not encouraging.

There was no one to help me get off the ship with my heavy luggage. Taxi drivers watched me load and unload my possessions. At the YMCA and elsewhere – for quite a few years – those who were required to deal with, or to serve, me displayed gruff voices. I was often the last to be served in the shops. It took me a long time to realise that they had never related to a ‘black’ (that is, coloured) person. Historically, their antecedents (genetic or otherwise) had killed, poisoned, or driven away the indigenes from lands they took, while availing themselves of their women.

Hence, the appearance of a coloured man, dressed in better clothes than they would ever wear, speaking clear English, displaying courtesy as appropriate, was just too much for many Australians. Yet, when I worked as a factory hand, I was treated as just a fellow worker! It was only in public spaces that overt rudeness was displayed – and with such arrogance.

Today, all that has gone. Equal opportunity at higher levels of employment may yet have a long way to go. But, I am certain that I would never again have to ask, as I once did, this simple question, as a fellow-Asian and I left a bar in some haste, but with quiet dignity: ‘Haven’t you got a mother either?’ Today, Australia is a cosmopolitan, multi-ethnic nation, its immigrant communities integrating well into a cohesive polity, except for a handful of new arrivals who seek to transplant a desert society into a suburban egalitarian Western nation.

But what happened to civility? However, we might be too egalitarian. We are all on a first-name basis now. While most grandparents remain addressed as such, all other relationships within family reflect the new national paradigm of nominal equality. And the older Anglo-Australian continues his practice of allocating a name of his choice to the foreigner, ignoring the birth name. I think that my generation has to die too before due courtesy returns.

My experience of family and society in Australia

When I arrived in Australia during the White Australia era, I noticed little difference in the structure and operation of the families I met. Being an adaptable stranger helped me (in spite of episodes of overt racism) to cut across class lines. By working in factories and as a tram conductor (what a shock that must have been to many, especially with my ‘British’ accent), I came to respect the display of personal dignity by my worker-colleagues. As I was a fee-paying university student, it was assumed that I was wealthy – which gave me entry to very substantial homes. Wearing good quality clothes also helped.

There was, however, a significant difference between the Asian families with whom I grew up and the Australian families. The latter seemed to have no relatives nearby. There was also very little contact with their distantly-located relatives – because of the cost involved. This was the price the original (British) immigrants and their descendants had to pay.

There had not been, apparently, any chain migration, except (after World War 2) by the Greeks; but that was when a massive Europe-wide search for able-bodied men was commenced. Until this post-war flood of workers arrived, Australia remained a British nation, with a sprinkling of Lebanese, Chinese and others (who were to be found mainly as shopkeepers). Indeed, it was about the time I arrived that the status of the population was changed from British Subjects to Australian citizens. Ironically, it was my team of citizenship experts who carried out the first review of the Australian Citizenship Act in 1981/2!

However, there must have been something in the water post-war. All of us gave our children greater freedom than we had ourselves experienced. Women acquired mental (and social?) freedom from their menfolk presumably because of the availability of the contraceptive pill. Roman Catholic women ignored the requirement to produce at least 4 children; this gave their families greater parity with the families of the Protestants in terms of the timing of home purchases. Church attendances fell, as clubs became popular on Sundays. Children had to be taken to organised sport, as cheaper cars became available. ‘Rust buckets’ driven by yobbos began to threaten the health of those who might walk through public parks, and the lifestyles of those who might want to enjoy the beach on a warm evening. Today, reportedly, it is very risky to be walking alone on some city streets late at night.

Soon, allegedly, families stopped eating together. Individual rights within families are asserted, even as homes became bigger, and isolating electronic gizmos became the means of home entertainment.

Strangely, such changes have not affected my relatives in Asia. Personal respect yet prevails over there whereas, in Australia, we are all on a first-name relationship (my surname thereby becoming redundant). Such is ‘progress’ in my adopted nation. Where now?