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. 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.

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!

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

 

Theology made a mockery of democracy

“You’d think it would be bleedingly obvious that if 87% of the population agreed with a proposition, then our members of parliament would dutifully and faithfully reflect that view when it came to voting on legislation … It turns out that many of our MPs are quite happy to represent us – but only so long as they agree with us.”

“When it comes to abortion (or similarly divisive issues such as same-sex marriage, assisted death or even stem cell research) many MPs ditch the idea that they are our representatives, and instead impose upon us personal opinions dictated, they tell us, by their consciences.”

Haw! Haw! Conscience votes are almost as rare as a sighting of that famous bird, the dodo. Our parliamentary representatives are selected by their parties to be elected by us, on condition that they vote as dictated by party chiefs. Or else! The whole system is so authoritarian that a Prime Minister apparently took Australia to war recently without parliamentary approval.

Who are the controllers of our political parties? How did they achieve their control? I doubt if either academe or the media could enlighten us. All that we know is that the first priority of our political parties is to be re-elected; but not at the price of giving up any theology-related policy.

What is interesting is that Census data shows that just 61% of us are Christian; and that Roman Catholics represent 25% of Christians. That is, no more than 15% of the population could be identified as bound by the theology of the Vatican. This has significance in relation to policy in relation to assisted death (or voluntary euthanasia – no ‘killing’ involved) – a matter of great interest to the very elderly as they deteriorate, with increasing pain, in institutional care. (Where are the loved ones they brought up?)

Voting is compulsory in Australia, unlike other Western nations. Yet, reportedly, about 400,000 youths aged between 18 and 25 are not enrolled to vote. Many more allegedly submitted informal ballot papers. Is there any penalty for non-enrolment?

Vatican theology reached new heights in 2013 in the State of New South Wales. According to Anne Summers, a respected journalist, whom I quoted at the start of this post, “The vote for Zoe’s Law … involved a 63-26 majority of Lower House members … in favour of granting personhood to the foetus.” (Ye Gods!) In this so-called democracy, Vaticanites seem to have achieved control over both sides of politics, as well as the public services in the nation. Are we too well fed to care?

Minority rule is not democratic, especially if guided by a restrictive theology. Refer ‘Keeping the bastards honest’ in my book ‘The Karma of Culture’ (available at amazon kindle at $US 2.99 or $A 3.99). Yet, we preach, in lofty tones, to other nations about the effulgent beauty of Western democracy!

(Anne Summers’ article was published in the May 14/15 issue of ‘News Review’ in the Sydney Morning Herald)

 

Socialising in the ‘Afterlife’ (the Recycling Depot)Depot)

Socialising in the ‘Afterlife’ (the Recycling Depot)

The clairvoyant who enabled the spirit of my uncle to offer me advice told me, nearly a quarter of a century ago, not to be in a hurry (I was!) ‘to get to the Other Side’; it would not be different from here, he said. I did not like that.

I was, however, promised that I would continue my learning there. As to those I might meet there, all my close relatives who had died a while back would probably have been reincarnated by now. Would I be fortunate in meeting some of the ‘higher beings’ referred to by my uncle? He had explained that they had sent him to me.

It would also be wonderful to be able to talk to some of the learned men and women of recent times. Throughout my life, I have tended to seek out people who are interesting, especially immigrants and (genuine) refugees in Australia offering their diverse experiences. Great insight into the human condition is thus available.

I would also like to meet in the Afterlife some of those religious leaders who had practised control over their ‘flocks,’ including separating them from being contaminated by ‘foreign’ ideologies. In this context, I am reminded of that priest who convinced all 5 of our new neighbours not to have coffee with my wife. They ignored us after that; we were not of ‘the faith.’ What ignorance; what subservience. How un-Australian!

I would ask such priests what they thought they had done for humanity as a whole. I do not, however, expect bigotry and evil thoughts to survive Earthly death. One’s soul should be above Earthly contaminants.

The Afterlife promises to be interesting in another way. Currently I am saddened by those Christians, all regular church-goers, who have indicated to me that they do not know what will happen to them after death (in spite of what the Bible promises), or who are genuinely afraid to die. They are not convinced by my belief that we will all go to a better place. What have their priests done to them? I know them to be good people, surely not conceived or born in ‘sin.’    

I look forward to be able to say to them (and their priests) ‘Isn’t this a good place to be’? I really cannot see why the Afterlife (the Recycling Depot) cannot also be an R&R (rest and recuperation) Way Station!

There we could again re-connect as fellow-travelers, until we move on to our respective personal-destiny pathways once more. It is the journey, the objective of repeated rebirths, which offers valuable learning in the meaning of existence and non-existence!

What does societal integration mean?

I have written about the desirability of achieving one people from diverse origins. Let me explain. We humans may be truly one people, created by God. We are certainly one people living under the auspicious of the sun. Yet, we are divided by national borders – and necessarily so, for reasons of security, at least. Most regrettably, we are also divided by religious affiliation. Yet, each religion (or each sect within a religion) seeks only to guide its flock to God.

Since religions are artificial man-made ideational constructs, one would hope that, one day, those of us who are religious will accept that we are all reliant upon the one and only God of mankind to sustain us, if not to guide us; and that in our relationship with our Creator, it would be desirable, indeed necessary, to deny any divisive dogma derived from institutional religion.

I would doubt very much if there are any exclusive or unique paths to our Creator, as may be claimed, unlike those cemeteries which separate the dead by religious sect. I also doubt that there are people chosen by God over all others; there is no evidence of that. Thus, tribal differences, which reflect accidents of birth linked by mutual support, are temporary in their duration. What is known as history confirms that. Ethno-religious communities often signify little more than either geographical or politico-societal isolation at an earlier time.

In an immigrant-created and/or immigrant-sustained nation, societal integration then means the avoidance of exclusive zones of residence based upon ethno-religious differences. It also means that, united spiritually by co-creation, and linked to one another by a defining national border and its associated structures of governance, all the residents would desirably seek a certain unity. This unity would be one of proud belonging to a coherent over-arching polity subsuming ethno-cultural differences; all that while praying, eating, dressing, and celebrating one’s festivals according to one’s culture. This would be done without limiting the right of others to express their own cultural values and practices.

No one’s religio-cultural values can surely over-ride those of others in a multi-ethnic domain, as they often do now. In a comparable manner, those who do not need God, or those who are spiritual rather than religious, would be left in peace. None of us, none of our religio-political leaders, is qualified to dictate to others as to how they should express their relationship with their Creator. We may learn this one day through the operation of the Law of Cosmic Justice.

Societal integration would thus represent togetherness blended with mutual acceptance of surface differences, while each individual seeks that which his soul desires.

Varying religious objectives

When I was the chairman of a primary school board, the priests representing the Christian churches which held religious classes at the school collectively withdrew their services. Bluntly, they told the Board that they preferred the parents to bring their children to church. Some of the parents and teachers objected to this decision. At a Parents & Citizens meeting, they argued that the priests must return, since Australia, as they said, is a Christian country. It was apparently their right to have their children exposed to the teachings of Christianity at a State school in a secular nation. Of course, Australia is a country of great expectations; ‘they must provide’ is part of our ethos.

Not in this case. A survey of our (multi-ethnic) parents endorsed the suggestion by the Board that we teach our children about religion, but not to uphold any single faith or sect; that is, to educate. Unlike, say, comparative religion in a high school curriculum, our school would discuss such broad matters as what is religion; how did it arise; why people are inclined to be religious; and so on.

After consulting appropriate academic and church authorities involved in education and religious studies, I drew up an outline of a possible approach. This was based on a framework published by Sussex University of the UK. To my delight, our Schools Authority liked the outline. The parent members of the Board then expanded it and had the teachers finally accept it. The community of parents were so informed. Yet, nothing came of it, reflecting a certain resistance by the teachers. To what? By then, the parents on the Board had gone, as our offspring had moved on.

When I set out this borrowed framework for the way one could look at religions in my first book Destiny Will Out (which will be re-published soon), it passed muster by the eminent reviewers of the book, some of whom had the necessary competence.

Does the spirit world keep track of us?

When our loved ones die, in the culture of my extended family, we cremate the bodies. This is preceded by a lengthy religious ritual. We, the living ones, are left with terrible sadness and, perhaps, some regret; for, a sin of omission can be more painful than any sin of commission. However, I have never had anyone talk of the spirit world. But then, is it not probable that our loved ones and certain higher beings in the spirit world do keep track of us, even to the extent of encouraging us subliminally to carry out our cosmic responsibilities?

About 30 years ago, I came to realise that, while I keep paddling my sampan on my personal river of destiny as best as I can, I seem to be on a trajectory that has been set for me. It does not matter who or what did the setting. Thus, my first 3 books reflect the suggestion left with me at my meeting with the spirit of my uncle. The positive responses to my writing clearly indicate the value of my contact with the spirit world.

I have since been told that I have a spirit guide. How did this happen? A woman I had just met told me in no uncertain terms that my guide was complaining that I was not listening to him! I, however, did not know that I had this valuable guide. She could see him, and described his appearance. I wondered – had that casual meeting been set up, as this woman is known (as I subsequently found out) as a casual clairvoyant, who has sudden visions?

It is now clear to me that, while I may be a loner, I am not alone. I am indeed grateful.

Returning to the Ocean of Consciouness

The following excerpt from Ecknath Easwaran’s The Upanishads views life’s as “ … a kind of school in which the individual  self is constantly evolving, growing life after life towards a fully human nature.”

The world is the wheel of God, turning round

And round with all living creatures upon its rim.

The world is the river of God,

Flowing from him and flowing back to him.

On this revolving wheel of being

The individual goes round and round

Through life after life, believing itself

To be a separate creature, until

It sees its identity with the Lord of Love

And attains immortality in the indivisible whole.

(Shvetashvatara I.4-6)

I offer to share this inspiring view to other Seekers of understanding of reality. But, I am not seeking to ‘sell’ Hinduism, or to argue that there is only one path to God. Ultimately, we are dealing with beliefs – unproven, unprovable – no matter how many theologians stand on the head of a thumbtack claiming that they have an inside track or the only track to God.