A nation ruled by God’s Will?

Australia remained a British territory until 1948, when the Australian Citizenship Act converted the Aussie from British subject to Australian citizen. Yet, the Queen of Britain remains Australia’s head-of-state, represented in Australia by the Governor-General and State Governors.

When Prime Minister Chifley placed his nation under US suzerainty, the ownership and control of Australia’s principal enterprises and rural properties by British and other foreign interests was increased substantially by US investors.

Thus, Australia became industrialised rather suddenly without going through the normal incremental changes. That the output by the US enterprises was limited primarily to the Australian market did not delay the higher standard of living which resulted. From my time in the Balance of Payments Branch of the Bureau of Statistics, I came to realise that it is a continuing foreign capital inflow which enables the nation to survive, and for us citizens to eat as well as we do.

Donald Horne was correct when he published ‘The lucky country’ in the early 1960s. But, why not credit God’s Will as the cause of our full bellies?

Is it not God’s Will that has now brought the formerly-feared ‘yellow hordes of the North’ to Australia, with deep pockets filled with cash, to buy up all manner of our nation’s assets? As well, how is it that we are able to grow a very thirsty crop like cotton, when the river which feeds this production is seemingly drying up at its mouth?

But is it God’s Will that we should compete with poor countries everywhere which rely on their cash crops for survival? While their former colonial masters are reportedly ‘screwing’ them as buyers of these rural products, do we need to compete with these poverty-stricken growers in producing tropical fruits? Are we capable of producing industrial goods for export, as Sweden does?

Ironically, Australia is reportedly also being ‘screwed’ by powerful foreign interests through their taxation arrangements; we are lethargic in capturing what is our due. Then there is the feat (enabled by concessions in our taxation regime?) which results in the taxable incomes of major enterprises operating in Australia to be a small fraction of their total incomes. As well, as the big-end-of-town political party seeks to have the company tax rate reduced, reportedly some companies pay no tax, others pay little tax, and none of the big ones pay the maximum rate of 30%.

The underlying logic is that, in these ‘exiting times,’ all of our major corporations will rush out to ’create wealth’ by increasing employment as soon as their tax rate is reduced. In the thicket of economic theories, most of which are good at forecasting only the past, this thistle will not take root.

Where do we go from here? That depends on whether our federal parliamentary reps can be shocked into accepting the adage ‘It’s the economy, stupid’ as a war cry, rather than rely on God’s Will; and on foreigners buying up the nation.

 

 

Hijacking Western democracy

Democracy is the power of equal votes for unequal minds,’ an utterance attributed to Charles the First of England in the seventeenth century, can be countered by Abraham Lincoln’s ‘No man is good enough to govern another man without that man’s consent,’ in the nineteenth century.

Thus, in time, it came to pass that, in developed Western nations, citizens became entitled to vote in near-periodic  elections, to elect those who would govern them for a specific period (but with some flexibility of duration). The votes would be cast for political parties, in the main. Hope, optimism, and opportunism by individuals and some small parties would be constrained, almost inevitably, by the evolution of 2 major, but ideologically opposed, parties.

Those qualified to vote do not vote for the individuals who are offered to represent them in each electorate. Instead, they vote for their party of choice, since their electoral candidates are chosen by the party leadership, not by electors. No duty statements citing requisite qualifications, work experience, and aptitude for the job are involved. A genius or a donkey – how could electors know? How prescient was R.W.Emerson in the nineteenth century when he said ‘Democracy becomes a government of bullies tempered by editors’?

Worse still, in most Western nations, voting is not compulsory, thus making it easier for the entrenchment of those who achieve control of the major parties.

Yet, it is this form of democracy, known as Western democracy, which is being sold, or required of, developing nations everywhere. The prime objective of this marketing effort is to replace tribal leadership of the traditional, historical, and generally durable kind with the tribal leadership of political parties. It is, of course, easier in a Western democracy to replace a political party, or a party leadership, with another; except that this would be akin to replacing Tweedledum with Tweedledee from ‘Alice through the looking glass.’

In the event, could not one honestly assert that, when voters are given the opportunity to change governments, it is effectively only on marginal issues? What might these marginal issues be? Seeking to protect the environment, feather-bedding needed foreign investors, subsidising some of the wealthy, non-specific foreign aid, some middle-class welfare, and so on?

In Australia, it is on human rights that the people are not represented by the major political parties. A national bill of rights is denied, as this would seemingly interfere with the rule-by-authority practice of certain churches. Voluntary (repeat, voluntary) euthanasia is not permitted even when the best of palliative care is seen to be clearly inadequate to counter the most severe pain in specific cases; but family pets can be ‘put down’ (that is, killed) without challenge.

The mantra evoked by opponents of voluntary euthanasia refers to ‘killing,’ the ‘slippery slope,’ and the implied mendacity of the descendants of those who might be seeking relief from a terrible existence.

It is difficult to understand why the stance of the Christian churches involved in relation to this issue, as well as the issues of birth control and abortion, is supported by a majority of politicians of all colours in Australia, when about 30 % of the Australian population denies institutional religion, and the dogma-driven religionists account for a lot less than a quarter of the nation’s population.

Clearly, the Australian federal parliament has fallen under the control of religious conservatives on both sides of the political divide. The media is, of course, careful not to draw attention to this. Thus, the political leaders of under-developed or ‘emerging nations’ will take heart in the operational exigencies of Western democracy as marketed by the leading Western nations.

As said by a William Penn in the eighteenth century, ‘Let the people think they govern, and they will be governed.’

 

(The above is a slightly modified article previously published in www.ezinearticles.com. Australians will not be free from governance by unrepresentative political parties until minority parties and individuals replace the union-controlled and big-end-of-town-influenced parties.) 

EARLY MEMORIES: Culture shocks in Oz (2)

At university, the most friendly of the students I met were youths of Jewish descent. I read later that their families, who had entered Australia in the 1930s, had not been well-received. The 2 genders of this community of students represented a cohesive group, separate from the Anglo-Australians.

A sub-group of the Aussies were youths identified by their corduroy slacks and suede shoes, who spoke with an accent described as private school. Some had natty sports cars.

With the exception of a couple of politically-oriented Indians, the rest of the Asians tended to relate mainly with one another, irrespective of country of origin; and with a few of European descent. My ‘beering’ companions were a large Indian, and an equally large Austrian. We each represented a different life-interest: sport (me), political philosophy, and mountaineering.

Much to the surprise of the Asians, there sprouted a survey in the university which asked “Would you like your sister to marry an Asian?” There was no way we could tell these sensitive superior souls how our parents had warned us severely not to be involved with white girls (most of us being male). While young Asian men studying in Western countries normally (temporarily?) adapt to the cultural mores of the host nation, the (few) Western wives brought home did (historically) experience great difficulty in adjusting to the cultural practices of the Asian communities affected.

Then we discovered that British security agents had been enquiring about our political views or connections. One self-declared communist paid a heavy price when he returned home. The security reporter was believed to be a professor who had little contact with Asian students; his spy was, incredibly, an isolated Asian who rarely mixed with the rest of us!

In terms of female companionship, I found that Australian girls did not want to be seen in public with me; but were prepared to be friendly within a group, but in private surroundings. Yet, European (including English) girls were prepared to keep company with us in public places. Having grown up with sisters, I tended to treat young women with comparable respect (unlike some Aussies from private boarding schools).

The first girl to offer me friendship had been in a concentration camp under the Nazis. Later, I went out for a year with a wonderful girl who had a number on an arm. An English girl and I felt a strange bond, visible to others, right from the beginning; soon she became my ‘blood-sister’ (in the Amerindian manner), and we supported each other psychologically for decades through our respective tribulations. I have reason to believe that we had been twin brothers in a past life.

During a drought, the lightest sprinkle of rain will bring joy to the parched Earth and its occupants.

 

Hating one’s oppressors

I hated the brutal thugs of the People’s Anti-Japanese Army for their reign of terror in Japanese-occupied Malaya. They controlled, through fear, the country-side where my family lived. This occurred near the end of World War Two. A gang of Chinese, self-labelled communists, seemingly preparing for the takeover of Malaya when the Japanese departed, held to ransom every individual and every family. How extensive their area of control was not known.

Not knowing who their spies were resulted in the death of all conversation in public spaces. I blame these thugs for shortening my father’s life. I have been firmly anti-communist ever since; I am unsure of my attitude to socialists. I am comfortable being a communitarian small-l liberal.

Also hated by me and others was the Japanese military, although they left us alone if we behaved. And I was too young to appreciate that the Japanese were clearing out of Asia all the European colonial nations, those of the innately superior ‘white race.’ My hatred of the Japanese grew out of their brutality, our worsened level of freedom and comfort, and (particularly) my hunger.

However, in the mid-1970s, I decided, as a federal official, that I had to discard my prejudice. That was after I had commented to the Australian representative of a major Japanese conglomerate that they had, by shifting money from one pocket to another, acquired ownership of valuable pastoral property. It had been an unscrupulous means of cheating an Anglo-Australian, the majority shareholder; but he had not been alert.

There were comparable cases elsewhere in the country. I had previously noted that other Japanese enterprises had acquired ownership of this or other major property, even when the partnership had been 51:49 % in favour of the Australian partner. In these cases, there could have been necessary collusion, to bypass official policy on foreign acquisition of Australian real estate.

Then, after a major Japanese investment proposal had been finalised, to mutual satisfaction, a Japanese diplomat had reportedly defined me as ‘hard but fair.’ That’s me!

As for my hatred of British colonialism, it was based on our loss of freedom, my father’s principal teaching. Finally, we achieved that, because all empires do fail. I remain anti-colonial, thereby despising today’s neo-colonialism, while having no antipathy to the British or the Japanese or the Chinese peoples. We are all essentially alike.

Hatred is a corrosive emotion. It needs to be dispersed through a maturity of spirit.

A bobbing nothing

I am nothing, a nobody. Yet, I am a thing, an object, floating on the tide, the tide of time. But, I may be mistaken. I am, perhaps, being carried on my personal river of destiny, which takes me to where it must. So, is time a river or a tide?

It has, however, nothing to do with space. Hence, space-time is fundamentally, ie. operationally, a misnomer – with no meaning. Time is just a yardstick of where I have been, or what I have experienced, sequentially. Mathematical equations do not necessarily reflect reality; like that clever fellow who ‘demonstrated’ that 2×2 is not necessarily 4!

To avoid further digression, I accept that my ’river’ of destiny is necessarily a strand in a mesh of destinies, of implicit pathways. This mesh will, again necessarily, begin with the destinies of my human Significant Others; then, the destinies of those with whom I would interact – by planning on someone’s part, mine included, or by chance, or by unseen but unavoidable intersects. These could arise from the past (including past lives), the present, or the future. How would we know?

At a more macro level, the mesh would include a nation – or even the globe on which humans scrabble for a living; but with about 1 to 10% of us temporarily ‘owning’ material wealth (which would need to be left behind eventually). A larger proportion is likely to possess that insubstantial, intangible, and more valuable spiritual wealth – with or without the guidance of religious teachers.

Am I flotsam or jetsam? Or, as some people ridiculously believe, were we puny humans created – or allowed to evolve – to occupy a special niche on a totally insignificant molten rock, in infinite space filled with blobs of burning gas everywhere – even as all of it keeps spinning and rushing around – for no purposive outcome?

Just like human objects bobbing up and down on the tide of time!

Aurobindo quotes

To listen to some devout people, one would imagine that God never laughs.
That which we call the Hindu religion is really the Eternal religion because it embraces all others.
India is the meeting place of the religions and among these Hinduism alone is by itself a vast and complex thing, not so much a religion as a great diversified and yet subtly unified mass of spiritual thought, realization and aspiration.
Metaphysical thinking will always no doubt be a strong element in her mentality, and it is to be hoped that she will never lose her great, her sovereign powers in that direction.
She saw the myriad gods, and beyond God his own ineffable eternity; she saw that there were ranges of life beyond our present life, ranges of mind beyond our present mind and above these she saw the splendours of the spirit.
Hidden nature is secret God.
(Comment: Typically, a great commentator about Hinduism, makes it clear that, unlike the ‘desert’ religions, the ‘forest’ religions of India and its surrounds are not competitive. What advantage is there in claiming to offer the only path to God? As co-created, we humans are bonded to one another morally, are we not? What does that imply?)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RAJA – YouTube No. 5

THE MEANING OF HUMAN EXISTENCE

The ancient bicultural author Raja Arasa Ratnam offers us the following thoughts.

Applying Occam’s Razor (or principle) that the simplest explanation is best, I begin by accepting that there has to be a Cosmic Creator. Our souls say so. The complexity, intricacy and beauty of the Cosmos say so.

I envisage (again applying the above principle) that the Creator (that is, God) created the Cosmos: and that it includes a mechanism which is itself capable of evolving, whilst facilitating evolution as a process. This would be accessible to other products of that same Creation. To evolve is to progress to something better.

It is a meaningless question, of course, to ask about the origin of God, although the Mundaka Upanished says that out of infinite Godhead came forth Brahma, the Creator, from whom sprung the Cosmos.

If the whole of the Cosmos is capable of change, as its component parts are subject to change, there surely must be scope for random events or chance impacts, as well as mishaps during processes (for example, genetic mutation). Perhaps there might be scope for influence: by the human mind (eg. mind-over-body pain control); by one’s spirit guides (eg. one’s subconscious mind directing an action for no rational reason); or even by an aspect of God (how would this be manifested – through one’s heart?) to intervene in events or processes.

Indeed, the Isha Upanished even allows for a personal deity (a manifestation of God), which I see as an acceptable projection from the universal Creator. As well, the mind is said to be only an instrument of consciousness; and the heart is said to be where the soul resides in its temporal home. Then, is God the Ocean of Consciousness of which we are all part, and to which we will ultimately return?

I do like the idea of being a transient projected entity from an Ocean of Consciousness. Life on Earth would then have some significance. Is there some mechanism which creates, sustains, and periodically destroys all that has been projected from, and by, that Ocean ? Hindu cosmology implies the cyclical path of all things and events of significance (including each of the many possible universes and all their component parts and manifestations) within an infinite Cosmos.

The metaphysical adherents of a faith would naturally seek an understanding of a reality transcending the guides for living of the great teachers of mankind: Moses, Jesus, the Buddha, Mohammed, Mahavira, and others.

There are, however, those who need to know about the meaning of existence, to seek to understand Reality. The experience and understanding they seek is, however, said to be beyond words, and to be Realised only through deep meditation.

In any event, each of us knows deep in our psyche that we are an integral cog in that web of a mutually-dependent creation.

RAJA – YouTube No. 4

Free Will under spirit guidance.

“Freedom!” This is the banner under which Raja Arasa Ratnam, an octogenarian, bicultural, Asian-Australian author, has contributed to civil society all through his life, while adapting successfully, as a coloured, initially-unwanted person to White Australia. The trigger for this pre-occupation was his father, an immigrant into British Malaya from colonial Ceylon.

Later, partly from what might possibly be a soul-memory, and partly from the vision of a clairvoyant, Raja feels that he had been a Muslim warrior, wielding a scimitar, in a recent past life. This clairvoyant had been able, a few years ago, to see and describe Raja’s spirit guide, when the latter had complained to her that Raja had not been listening to him.

Each time he faced overt discrimination, Raja had to combat an instinctive twitch in his right hand – his need for a scimitar! His lesson in this life, he says, is therefore to work for, not fight for, justice. Since he is becoming increasingly intuitive, he wonders whether he has progressed from the throat chakra to the third-eye chakra.

Apart from a happy boyhood, which ended with the arrival of the Japanese military (and the associated semi-starvation), Raja has experienced a life of great turbulence. Yet, like the stability which prevails at the core of chaos, there has been a steady path of progress at all levels in his life.

Significantly, temporary stability had been provided, when needed, by much-valued individuals, who had each been dropped into his life and then been taken out, in a painfully clear sequence. Support, followed by emotional separation, seemed inevitable. Each hiatus, however, enabled further learning, he says.

He now accepts that it is on-going learning which defines his life. He has a need, not just for knowledge, but for understanding. Unexpected and unwanted change will, of course, be emotionally disruptive. This then feeds his search for increasing mental and spiritual peace. Raja now feels that he has finally achieved that peace.

What is abundantly clear to Raja is that he has been on a guided trajectory all his life, with pain and pleasure, or stability and disruption, being 2 sides of the same coin. His motto is to accept whatever happens, and move on – until his wings arrive!

He hopes that his books (refer amazon kindle) will provide both historical perspective and a societal beacon for the future; and that his articles and blog (all on the Internet) continue to stimulate thought on a wide range of topics.

RAJA – YouTube No. 2

Awaiting the Family of Man while seeking the Divine

I present again octogenarian author Raja Arasa Ratnam. “You are a practical sociologist” said a senior academic after reviewing Raja’s first book ‘Destiny Will Out’ for Monash University’s Journal, ‘People & Place.’ This book set out the early bicultural shocks detonated by the arrival of a number of well-educated, English-speaking, confident young Asians into White Australia. Coloured people were then not permitted to migrate into Australia.

The prejudice and discrimination displayed was one-sided, and widespread. The Asian youth, according to Raja, were comfortable in their knowledge that they represented durable ancient civilisations. The oldest Australians had to die, he said, before the display of an imagined white superiority subsided.

Since this book was both a memoir reflecting his on-arrival observations, and a record of the government’s successful policies in assisting the great intake of post-war European immigrants to settle, it received tremendous reviews, especially from academics.

This led Raja to write ‘The Karma of Culture.’ 3 senior academics provided pre-publication endorsements, as Raja presented relevant settlement issues as both an outsider and an insider. Raja has his head in Asia’s communal cultures while his feet are firmly planted in the individualism of the West. He is bicultural.

This book also highlighted Australia’s position on the fringe of Asia. Indeed, a reviewer had pointed out that Asian spiritualism had already found a foothold in Asia through yoga and Buddhism.

It is easy to forget that, when one’s memory bank is spilt, many interesting stored-away thoughts can fall out. So, Raja wrote ‘Hidden Footprints of Unity.’ It focused on how immigrant communities related to one another; and their search for the Divine, their paths to God. He presented the reality that, below the divisive dogma that may present religions as competitive, the core beliefs of the major religions are indeed shared.

This brought him a wonderful endorsement from the Religious Affairs Editor of ‘The Australian’ newspaper.

Another editor pointed out that Raja’s hope for the future is the evolution of the Family of Man. Great progress in this direction has been achieved in Australia through the successful integration of culturally diverse immigrants through official policies. Raja had an important role in this campaign. Young Asians also displayed their ability to blend into the Australian community.

Even before his retirement, he could see that Australia had changed – from a supremacist white society to a cosmopolitan, multi-ethnic multicultural people. He commends the host people for their adaptability. He also commends the teachers who guided students to realise that skin colour, accents, and countries of origin do not matter – that they are now Australians!

He points out that today’s youth, with visibly diverse origins, speak with the same accent, and display the same values!

E.S.P. research in an ethereal Cosmos

It was in my youth that I came across the research by Duke University’s Dr. JB Rhine on extra-sensory perception. Used as I was to Asian amateur seers (some very accurate) during my formative years in multi-ethnic British Malaya, I was yet surprised by people in the apparently pragmatic materialistic West investigating psychic phenomena. Wasn’t Asia the happy hunting ground for demonstrators and believers in ethereal matters?

Rhine’s work must have been officially accepted because his university became better known through his allegedly controversial studies and conclusions. Even early in the 21st century, there are clever people who just know that what is now known as parapsychology cannot be true; human psychology can, however, explain that stance of non-belief.

How important, how useful, are the findings of research into the paranormal – even when conducted under the strictures of the scientific method – against the totality of single-event, non-repeatable experiences of a multitude of people everywhere? I instance ‘thumbnail healers,’ clairvoyants who induce the materialisation of spirits to guide the living, those who demonstrate levitation, and so on.

Apart from multi-disciplinary researchers like Paul LaViolette, do Western researchers have the explanatory paradigm which could incorporate facets of ‘the teachings of contemporary mystics, the scriptures of Eastern religions, or the allegorical symbologies of ancient creation myths’ (LaViolette)?

In his ‘Genesis of the Cosmos,’ LaViolette quotes ‘Hindu Saint Lahiri Mahasaya’ as follows, in relation to ‘an immense gem-studded, golden palace that his guru Babaji has materialised for him.’ “In tune with the infinite all-accomplishing Will, Babaji is able to command the elemental atoms to combine and manifest themselves in any form … Babaji created this beautiful mansion out of his mind and is holding its atoms together by the power of his Will …”

Are claims such as this not worth investigating? Indeed, have there been open-minded professional investigators into levitation, thumbnail healing, clairvoyance? Yet, it appears that precognition, psychokinesis, and telepathy have been studied for a long period. Are the prevailing explanatory paradigms in science the professional barrier to recognition, acceptance, and further research?

It must be the KaliYuga which is responsible. If so, mental and moral regeneration cannot occur for a long time yet; the next Yuga is a long way off. However, could the Maya ’end of time’ allow some re-booting of the collective conscience in the interim?