More importantly, at least for the benefit of future generations, the contribution that I and other non-Christian Asian migrants have made to Australia’s spiritual growth will enable or assist people of diverse origins and ethnicity (including mainstream host peoples) to merge one with the other, again as equals, at the spiritual level.
This will not be easy, with some die-hard members of the priestly class holding their arms firmly across their narrow doors to God. But I do believe that future generations will increasingly pay less attention to any power-hungry priests and, instead, apply their inherited spirituality in recognition of that bond between humans which will not, eventually, be denied.
Underlying my story is my preoccupation with the question of destiny. As a Hindu, I know that I have free will within the constraints of my past actions and the limiting influences of natural and human forces, including the cosmological. Yet I have felt my hands more tied than I had expected in the things I have tried to do. To my knowledge, my feet (and modern transport) brought me to Australia, which delivered a sharp lesson to my ego; after all, there is no greater chasm than that vast gulf between great expectations and small achievements.
I cannot accept (for metaphysical reasons) that I myself chose this life which, initially, was most painful, psychologically and spiritually. A Turkish saying seems to support this view: a man does not seek his luck; luck seeks its man. Yet a mediumistic clairvoyant channelled a message from an uncle (dead years ago) that a great effort had gone into getting me to Australia. (By whom, when, and why, are the obvious questions to which I would like answers.)
So, what forces are at work upon us? In this context, I find comfort in my belief that modern cosmological theories are becoming congruent with my philosophical heritage. Can we expect therefore some further insights into my question from the philosopher-scientists, with perhaps increasing support for the metaphysics of my spiritual ancestors? Their explanatory system of belief (and belief does have its own logic) lays the responsibility for our lives, not on some external power on earth or elsewhere, but on our individual selves. Our freedom to act is of course subject to the constraints that we had set up previously, together with the impacts of natural and cosmological forces (which are normally beyond our control).
My story is thus one of hope, if not ambition, about human freedom and spirituality. But, will the stars give us reasonable rein? That depends, in part (I guess), upon whether human actions influence the stars, i.e. cosmological forces. Some modern physicists seem to think that they might. If so, is that part of our destiny which influences the stars also predicated by our earlier actions and thoughts?
I look to the Upanishads (of the Hindu faith and philosophy), as have some great Western philosophers and scientists, for guidance. We are told that in each of us the Self is the innermost essence; that the Self is “not someone other than you.” We are also told that the Self is not different from the Ultimate Reality called God or the Creator, and that all of life is one.
This means that, whether white, black or brindle, whether Christian, Hindu or whatever, we are bonded one to the other; that our salvation has to come from within ourselves, and that we look inwards in our search for experiencing our Creator. Does that mean that I cannot blame something or someone out there for my mishaps and sins? How unfair!
(The above extract is from chapter 1 in my first memoir ‘Destiny Will Out: the experiences of a multicultural Malayan in White Australia’)