Quotes on re-birth

Karma brings us ever back to rebirth, binds us to the wheel of births and deaths. Good Karma drags us back as relentlessly as bad, and the chain which is wrought out of our virtues holds as firmly and as closely as that forged from our vices. Annie Besant
Assimilation of the fruits of each past life takes place before the spirit descends to rebirth, and consequently, the character generated is fully formed and readily expressed in the subtle, mobile mind-stuff of the Region of Concrete Thought, where the archetype of the coming dense body is built. Max Heindel
A rebirth out of spiritual adversity causes us to become new creatures. James E. Faust
One thing I want to make clear, as far as my own rebirth is concerned, the final authority is myself and no one else, and obviously not China’s Communists. Dalai Lama
Everyone focuses on the earthly state, but how cool might death be? I believe in spiritual rebirth, and I can’t wait to experience that. Barry Zito

“Tell a wise person, or else keep silent,
because the mass man will mock it right away.
I praise what is truly alive,
what longs to be burned to death.

In the calm water of the love-nights,
where you were begotten, where you have begotten,
a strange feeling comes over you,
when you see the silent candle burning.

Now you are no longer caught
in the obsession with darkness,
and a desire for higher love-making
sweeps you upward.

Distance does not make you falter.
Now, arriving in magic, flying,
and finally, insane for the light,
you are the butterfly and you are gone.

And so long as you haven’t experienced
this: to die and so to grow,
you are only a troubled guest
on the dark earth.” ― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

 

 

 

 

 

DEATH – More notable quotes

Better to flee from death than feel its grip.

HOMER, The Iliad

We all labour against our own cure, for death is the cure of all diseases.

SIR THOMAS BROWNE, Religio Medici

Death, in itself, is nothing; but we fear,

To be we know not what, we know not where.

JOHN DRYDEN, Aureng-Zebe

Our life dreams the Utopia. Our death achieves the Ideal.

VICTOR HUGO, Intellectual Autobiography

You only live twice. Once when you are born and once when you look death in the face.

IAN FLEMING, You Only Live Twice

Morn after morn dispels the dark,

Bearing our lives away;

Absorbed in cares we fail to mark

How swift our years decay;

Some maddening draught hath drugged our souls,

In love with vital breath,

Which still the same sad chart unrolls,

Birth, eld, disease, and death.

BHARTRHARI, “Against the Desire of Worldly Things”

 

(Ha! My death will take me to a better place. It will enable me to gird my loins – so to imagine – before I undergo my next phase of moral cleansing on Earth. So I have been told!)
 

DEATH – Vivekananda Quotes

DEATH

This is a matter of considerable interest to me, as I cannot live for ever.

Here are some thoughts from Swami Vivekananda, a great commentator on Hinduism.

  • Be true unto death.
  • Birth is re-composition, death is de-composition.
  • Death comes to all forms of bodies in this and other lives.
  • Death is better than a vegetating ignorant life; it is better to die on the battle-field than to live a life of defeat.
  • Death is but a change.
  • Death is but a change of condition. We remain in the same universe, and are subject to the same laws as before. Those who have passed beyond and have attained high planes of development in beauty and wisdom are but the advance-guard of a universal army who are following after them.

 

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?)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ramakrishna quotes

A man is truly free, even here in this embodied state, if he knows that God is the true agent and he by himself is powerless to do anything.
Through love one acquires renunciation and discrimination naturally.
The fabled musk deer searches the world over for the source of the scent which comes from itself.
To work without attachment is to work without the expectation of reward or fear of any punishment in this world or the next. Work so done is a means to the end, and God is the end.
 

When the flower blooms, the bees come uninvited.
God can be realized through all paths. All religions are true. The important thing is to reach the roof. You can reach it by stone stairs or by wooden stairs or by bamboo steps or by a rope. You can also climb up by a bamboo pole.
 

 

 

 

 

 

RAJA – YouTube No. 3

Rear-vision mirror observations

The indomitable octogenarian author Raja Arasa Ratnam has more to tell us. He had published 3 books to meet his obligation to his spirit uncle and to the higher beings who had sent his uncle to counsel him about his spiritual progress.

To those who keep telling him what Jesus had allegedly said about dealing with spirits, his response is this. No sensible person can deny a real experience. And one should not assume that spirits – who are only former human beings – are evil. Cross the road with due care, he advises!

Having passed his use-by date, he wrote 2 books which he describes as rear-vision mirror observations. The first is a memoir. The other represents his conclusions about his country of adoption – or was it exile?

This memoir, ‘The Dance of Destiny,’ covers the life of his extended family, immigrants from Ceylon, in British Malaya; then life under a Japanese military occupation; and, most interestingly, life in colonial Singapore with his Anglo-Australian wife. The rare opportunity for the Indian community to socialise with a European woman enabled Raja and wife to enjoy a rich social life, and to acquire a couple of close friends.

The rest of the book covers his life as a settler in Australia. Step by step, he recounts his prodigious efforts to find a career. He qualified as a psychologist, and then as an economist, by studying at night, with minimum sleep. His first wife left him, as foretold by a number of palmists. His second marriage was a success, with 2 offspring in financial security.

When that marriage finally broke up, he realised where the trajectory of his personal destiny was heading. So, he included in his memoir his understanding of how one crafts one’s destiny through reincarnation.  The book ends on a high spiritual note. He now realises that, throughout his life, he had been paddling steadily in his frail sampan as his river of destiny had taken him where it had to.

Drawing upon his experiences, he then wrote ‘Musings at Death’s Door.’ It is a hard-hitting but fair assessment of Australian society, from the perspective of a bicultural Asian-Australian. When a senior academic said ‘There is wisdom here,’ he had it published.

The book covers religion and the Cosmos, the hegemonic US empire, national identity, racism and tribalism (Raja has suffered from both), the folly of multiculturalism policy which erroneously stressed the retention of imported cultures, the myth of Western democracy, the breakdown of family and its consequences for society, and so on.

In articles published elsewhere, Raja warns against those new immigrant arrivals who want Australia to change to suit what he refers to as a desert culture. It is the immigrant who has to adapt, he insists.

This octogenarian author is indeed fearless. He tells it as he sees it.

Hinduism jokes

 

So, I hear reincarnation is making a comeback.

 

Q: Why did the Hindu cross the road? A: Because she was protesting for the chicken, MAN!

 

Q: Why do vegetarians give good head? A: Because they are used to eating nuts.

 

I watched the Hindu version of How I Met Your Mother… There’s just one episode about the wedding.

 

Q: What’s the best way to keep milk fresh? A: Leave it in the cow!

 

Q: What did the Hindu say to the swiss cheese? A: “I’m holier than you”

 

Q: Why can’t the bankrupt Hindu complain? A: He’s got no beef.

 

Q: Why are politicians proof of reincarnation? A: You just can’t get that screwed up in one lifetime.

 

Q: Have you heard of the cow who attained liberation? A: It was dyslexic and kept on repeating OOOOMMM!

source: http://www.jokes4us.com/religiousjokes/hinduismjokes.html

 

Challenging deconstruction – Part 2

The rest of my writing is covered here.

1) The Dance of Destiny
Having been well-educated by British colonialism, buffeted (but not damaged) by ignorance in a relatively new nation set in coloured seas and surrounded by foreign but ancient and durable cultures, risen to leadership positions in both civil society (through a highly interactive and contributory life) and in the federal public service, and sporadically falling into holes which were certainly not there, and also experiencing the wheels of my life-chances cart falling off for no discernible cause, I had to ask: ‘What determines human life on Earth?’

Trekking through the maya of history, geography, sociology, significant psychic experiences and personal relations of some import, I came to postulate how a personal destiny might evolve. I drew upon Hinduism, not on the New Age modifications. Increasingly, I speculate whether, like the nested fields of force in physics, there may be a nested network of human destinies, leading to one which encompasses the Cosmos as a whole. Thus, this book is much more than a memoir.

Necessarily and intuitively, I have woven through my narrative some Eastern (mainly Hindu) spirituality. Supportive endorsements again followed. The US Review of Books recommended the book, previously supported by Kirkus Discoveries and BookRead.com.

2) Pithy perspectives: a smorgasbord of short, short stories
This book was written for fun. It was reviewed by the NSW State President of the Federation of Australian Writers. He describes the stories as “interesting,” “crazy, frightening, weird, some really lovely,” “a clever book.” The last story in the book (“quite intriguing,” “so different”) ends in a spiritual haze which envelops cats, mice, and a little girl who understands the language of animals.

The book was also favourably reviewed by the US Review of Books.

3) Musings at Death’s Door: an ancient, bicultural Asian-Australian ponders about Australian society
This is a hard-hitting, no-punches-pulled summary of my lived-through observations, gathered over more than 6 decades as an adult, culminating with a view on the place of religion in human lives, and the place of mankind in the Cosmos. Not unexpectedly, my perceptual stance is bicultural, since I was well soaked in Asia’s communitarian spirituality before I arrived in Australia, while becoming grounded firmly in the operational requirements of the Western world through more than 6 decades of a participatory life in a nation reflecting the primacy of individualism.

This book highlights what the Australian media has identified as the racket of asylum seeking (now re-affirmed by the current government), with little to no evidence that the vociferous supporters of an open door to all asylum seekers are adequately aware of the national interest. I argue for due process to enable those who have a genuine fear of persecution in their country of nationality to be granted necessary succour. The book is also critical of those who seek to retain their cultural separation even after the third generation has merged with the rest of the population; we are already an integrated multi-ethnic people. The book compares the subservience of Australia’s politicians kow-towing to powerful interests to the stand-tall stance of its workers (who could thereby be a beacon to our neighbours). I also examine empires gone and going, as well as the sham of Western democracy, and a number of other issues of societal relevance.

On the other hand, I do highlight the commendable aspects of my adopted nation, of which I am proud. We can be a beacon of tolerance and equal opportunity.

An endorsement by a professor of history and politics says “ … there is wisdom here … this book is rich, intelligent and provocative. A major contribution to Australian culture.” This book was also Recommended by the US Review of Books.

These books are available as ebooks for deconstruction or to be read for information and/or pleasure at Amazon Kindle Direct at $US 2.99 each.

Other writing
I have had a few articles relating to migrant settlement issues published in: ‘Asia Sentinel,’ ‘Malaysian Insider,’ ‘Webdiary,’ and the Multicultural Writers Association of Australia’s anthology “Culture is … “. The Eurobodalla Writers’ recent anthology “Where penguins fly” includes 3 pieces of fiction by me.

More recently, I have had 44 short articles published on http://www.ezinearticles.com on a wide range of issues, most open-ended, thereby inviting intelligent readers to reach their own conclusions.
For further background, refer http://www.dragonraj.com and http://www.independentauthornetwork.com .

The mystery of religious faith

As a metaphysical Hindu and a functional church-attending Christian, and who is also a freethinker in matters religious (that is, I believe that the major religions are equal in their offerings), I found the following extract from The life of Pi by Yann Martel (pages 48/49) the clearest delineation of the core of Hindu belief.

“The universe makes sense to me through Hindu eyes. There is Brahman, the world soul, the sustaining frame upon which is woven, warp and weft, the cloth of being, with all its decorative elements of space and time. There is Brahman nirguna, without qualities, which lies beyond understanding, beyond reproach; with our poor words we sew a suit for it – One, Truth, Unity, Absolute, Ultimate Reality, Ground of Being – and try to make it fit, but Brahman nirguna always bursts the seams. We are left speechless.

But there is also Brahman saguna, with qualities, where the suit fits. Now we call it Shiva, Krishna, Shakti, Ganesha; we can approach it with some understanding; we can discern certain attitudes – loving, merciful, frightening – and we feel the gentle pull of relationship. Brahman saguna is Brahman made manifest to our limited senses, Brahman expressed not only in gods but in humans, animals, trees, in a handful of earth, for everything has a trace of the divine in it.

The truth of life is that Brahman is no different from atman, the spiritual force within us, what you might call the soul. The individual soul touches upon the world soul like a well reaches for the water table. That which sustains the universe beyond thought and language, and which is at the core of us and struggles for expression, is the same thing. The finite within the infinite, the infinite within the finite.

If you ask me how Brahman and atman relate precisely, I would say in the same way the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit relate: mysteriously.

But one thing is clear: atman seeks to realise Brahman to be united with the Absolute, and it travels in this life on a pilgrimage where it is born and dies, and is born again and dies again, and again, and again, until it manages to shed the sheaths that imprisons it here below. The paths to liberation are numerous, but the bank along the way is always the same, the Bank of Karma, where the liberation account of each of us is credited or debited depending on our actions.”

Culture retention

When Sivasithamparapillai arrived in Australia, he decided that Pillai would be a suitable surname for a country which needed 2 names – first name and surname. Since his people had no trouble mouthing his single name, he was not prepared for what happened next. When asked how he was to be addressed (a courtesy now quite common), he was in a quandary. He would not nominate Siva, as that is the name of a Hindu Deity. The rest of his name, he realised, could cause some difficulty. He suggested that he be addressed as Pillai.

Soon, to his consternation, his name appeared on some financial (and other) documents as Pillai Pillai. While he had not lost his heritage, he now has more than one identity. For comparison, I seem to have 3 identities at my former university. One has my father’s name before my former single name (a historical practice). Another has my name followed by my father’s name because I was identified as ‘son of’ (a former legal practice). My passport name reflected the Western tradition by having my name split.

My extended family have also broken with tradition. While I chose to use the second half of my name as a surname, the single names of my peer group have now become surnames, but without being shortened. Seemingly, Western tongues are now quite capable of pronouncing long ‘Indian’ names (but not always correctly). In contrast, about 20 years ago, that great Indian epic, Mahabharatha, was offered by Australia’s national media as Mahabrata. I interpreted that to refer to the Great Loaf (which could have referred to the then Aussie approach to work as well).

But, one has to pity those Chinese with 3-part traditional names. Where the clan name once preceded the other 2 names, now the latter names have become a hyphenated first name, with the clan name following as surname. But not always. Confusing to the Westerner, some retain the clan name in its traditional place; the hyphenated name takes the place of the surname. Some of my friends solved any possible confusion by adopting a Christian name and retaining their clan name.

This highlights an unavoidable development which arises when one merges with other people through migration; some changes to one’s cultural practices will occur (thereby confusing long-gone ancestors?).