The ancient man observed that human beings were equipped with varying potentialities and capabilities, and thru such observation, he came to understand that the variations in individual capabilities were created by a special energy that resided in each individual. He found that each individual activated this energy differently, and therefore accessed the energy differently. Whereas the energy remains dormant in some people, in others it was evolving. In a very small minority, it was fully activated.
In Hinduism, the energy is called prana shakti. In tantric texts, it is called Kundalini. Kundalini is said to reside in the subtle body that envelops and exists in parallel with our physical bodies. Kundalini reposes in the subtle realm between the body and mind visible and invisible, between physical and divine, and between here and not here.
No evidence for the existence of Kundalini energy has been found by science so far, much in the same way as no causal evidence has been found for consciousness, mind, or life.
Today, when people talk of spirituality, the word Kundalini, Serpent Fire, or the Dragon immediately springs to mind. Kundalini, the mysterious, latent energy powers the universe and its people. Kundalini, the primal, primordial energy (shakti) is said to be located at the base of the spine. Throughout antiquity and beyond, the ancients have used different terms like life force, élan vital, entelechy etc etc to refer to it. The shamans accept its existence, the Kabbalah refers to it as Secret Fire, and the Gnostics use Alchemy to achieve the same effects. The story of Adam and Eve is a symbol of awakening consciousness, an activation of Kundalini. In the Christian tradition, the terms ‘the Path of the Initiates’ and ‘the Stairway to Heaven’ used in the Bible, refer to Kundalini’s ascent*. In Scandinavian, European, Latin American and Middle Eastern countries and many different civilizations of the world, the concept of the serpent power can be seen in their monuments and artifacts. Kundalini, in some shape or form, was known to people from all parts of the world in the past. Buddhism does not directly refer to Kundalini. In his focus on simplicity of life and his emphasis on eradication of suffering, Buddha shied away from any visible display of power that Kundalini can unfold. However, regardless of the lack of acknowledgement, and in spite of that lack, Buddhist meditation invariably unleashes the serpent power to bless the practitioners not only with the legendary Buddhist wisdom that is readily shared with the world, but also with the siddhis or mystical powers that the Buddhist monks and nuns are prohibited from acknowledging, displaying, or sharing. Almost every culture, tradition and religion speaks about a life force, or prana . . .something more than what is uncovered by contemporary science. Each one of us is born with this infinite power within our grasp. Most of us will go thru life without the ability, or need to wake up this dormant storehouse of energy, some of us – the blessed ones – thru luck, perseverance, and divine grace, will enjoy the fruits of the divine gift Kundalini.
Kundalini is usually represented as a snake coiled three and a half times around, in the same way DNA strands are coiled. The three rotations of the serpent represent the first three levels of consciousness – unconscious, subconscious and conscious; and the half turn refers to the awakened super-consciousness. The evolution of consciousness is connected with time, and the snake is also known as Kaal or time, which is also a synonym for death. Thus the winding of the snake also represents the past, present and future.
This serpent power symbolizes the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious in man. There are seven whirling energy centers in the body (chakras) that serve as entry points for life energy (or prana) into human body. These seven chakra centres in human body correspond to various organs and glands of the body based on their positions. The energy that they dissipate fertilizes the growth of not only the positive aspects of the person but the negative aspects as well. Hence before any work to awaken this latent energy is initiated, preparatory work to enhance purity of mind is emphasized.
Because the latent Kundalini energy is said to be located at the base of the spine, if we represent the human body as a tree, then the base of the spine would represent the root of the tree. It is a given that a healthy root is essential for a healthy tree.
The energy centre associated with the base of the spine is labelled as Mooladhara Chakra (Sanskrit: मूलाधार, IAST: Mūlādhāra, English: “root support”), or the Root Chakra. This area controls and energizes the whole physical body. The muscular system, the skeletal system, the spine, the quality of blood, the adrenal glands and the internal organs are all strengthened and controlled by the Mooladhara Chakra. It is believed that if the Mooladhara Chakra of a person is rightfully activated, the person will be robust and healthy.
Right above the Mooladhara Chakra lies the Swadhishtana Chakra, or the Sacral Chakra. Mooladhara Chakra exerts a very strong influence on the Swadhistana Chakra
Swadhishtana Chakra, (Sacral Chakra) is associated with the Jungian Eros, the energy and passion that is the hallmark of everyday human life. This encompasses passion, desire, aspirations, dreams, hopes, sexual life and our expectations of love and life. A malfunctioning Swadhishtana Chakra will manifest as problems related with Freudian libido in general viz lack of direction, goals, ambition, passion, conviction, energy, motivation and problems with the sexual drive itself.
Swadhistana Chakra is also said to be greatly influenced by Ajna (Third Eye) Chakra which is associated with intelligence, consciousness, sentience and knowledge, and Vishuddhi (Throat) Chakra, which is associated with speech and personal power. The association is readily understood, as our intellect and our personal power plays a significant part in maintaining, and controlling our erotic life – where the term erotic is defined as that ‘pertaining to eros’ – here eros being the Jungian Eros (not the Freudian Sex)
Therefore, Mooladhara Chakra – in and thru its control of Sadhistana Chakra, controls and influences extremely important aspects of human lives.
The Mooladhara Chakra is affiliated with the sense of smell. The activation of the Mooladhara Chakra can lead to a heightening of sensory perceptions, especially the refinement of the senses of smell and hearing. We often become aware of aromas and sounds that are not perceptible to others, or hear sounds that are not heard by others. We may smell aromas or hear sounds from different timelines, from the past, or from the future, which others are not able to.
The color assigned to the Mooladhara Chakra is red, the color of vitality and passion. It points to a strong, dense energy connected to the earth. Our existence has its roots in the earth and therefore the earth element or bhoomi tatva is assigned to the Mooladhara Chakra.
Mooladhara Chakra is further represented by the inverted triangle indicating the beginning of our spiritual development; the broadside upwards and outwards represent the direction of the developing consciousness. The sound of the Mooladhara is Lam. Invocation of Lam perturbs status quo, and agitates the Chakra into activation. The Chakra is blocked by accumulation of eons of unconscious material. Activation involves release of this suppressed unconscious material. All of it must rise to the surface and dissolve, before the latent energy underneath can become available for processing. Therefore, there is a emphasis on “letting go” of known and unknown hurts, slights, trauma and related negative emotions thru meditation and forgiveness. Hence activation of the Mooladhara Chakra may initially bring to surface unpleasant memories, feelings, or episodes which must be laid to rest before the energies can be beneficially utilized. If these issues are not dealt with, and release of energy is forced, the suppressed problems are amplified, and may result in increased depression, anxiety, anger, feelings of vengeance, even psychosis. Therefore, it is to individual’s advantage that the progress be steady, and monitored. A successful activation of Mooladhar Chakra will brings forth freedom from repressed traumatic memories from the past, and the psychic energy used up in maintaining such memories, and their repression, also becomes available to a individual.
Someone asked me a very interesting question the other day – why does Kundalini repose in the Mooladhara Chakra, and not in the Ajna (Third Eye), or Sahasrara (Corwn – Brain/Mind and beyond). Its a fair question to ask – after all, these two Chakras – Ajna and Sahasrara – are of the highest order, and represent the loftiest virtues of humankind where as Mooladhara controls our basest instincts. Why would an intelligent god depend on the lowly Mooladhara rather than the virtuous Ajna, or Sahasrara to guard this divine energy? Indeed, all aspirants and devotees of Kundalini hope for an opening of the Ajna Chakra, which is also referred to as Third Eye Awakening. The Third Eye is the legendary all seeing eye of Shiva, located between the brows. It is said that the awakening of Ajna Chakra unleashes wisdom and knowledge about the universe, and enables siddhis, or mystical powers, including but not limited to the powers to see the past, present and future.
The answer to this question is quite simple – this is the most optimum design of the world that could be. Lets see how that is so.
Humans are born with latent Kundalini reposed at the base of the spine instead of an dynamically active Kundalini spinning its power in the Ajna or Sahasrara Chakra. This is designed to enable the world and its cycles to be what they are. This moment is a seed for the next moment. A mother and child relationships is a metaphor for time. The next moment that will be born of this moment – the child – will inherit the psychic dna of this moment, it will inherit the fundamental characteristics of this moment. That is all there is to life – our moment to moment existence, each moment building on itself, to create the complexity and the cycle called life, death and rebirth; much in the same way the 0’s and 1’s build on each other to create complex mathematics; much like the seven notes creates a complex compilation of music and sound that we call songs. And so on. When we perform calculus operations, or when we hear Bach or Beethoven, we don’t see or pay attention to the basic 0’s and 1’s, or the underlying notes of music. When we look at a chair, a desk, a building, or a mountain, we don’t see atoms, electrons or protons. In the same way, our lived life moves too fast for us to track individual moments. But these moments are the building stones of our lives, the building blocks for propagation of life. We just are too distracted, unmindful – ignorant – to see how the moments all add up.
It is the very flaw in how this moment is lived by us, which defines the salient characteristics of the next moment, which in turn defines the next one and next one and so on. The unfinished business of this moment is transmitted to the next moment, and we are given an opportunity to complete it in the next moment, and next, and next and so on.
At the time of death, the imperfection of our life lived in that last moment represents our unfinished business in this world. These imperfections create a residual moment – a child moment that arises of those imperfections. The residual moment carries in its womb, our Karma from the past moment, acting like a bridge that spawns across the divide between the life ending moment, and the following moment in which rebirth occurs. Thus the imperfections in our moment of death necessitate a rebirth (so we may complete our unfinished business in the next life). These imperfections, unfinished business, or past Karma, are carried into a new body on rebirth.
If the moment of death was perfectly lived, there would be no baggage attached to us and hence no need for that baggage to be parked anywhere – into a rebirth. A person would attain Moksha or Nirvana. But it is we ourselves, unknowingly, cause ourselves to perpetuate an endless cycle, by living imperfectly in these current moments. We set off a chain of events that only we can break.
Hence, it is our Karma, unfinished business in this world, the imperfections in our life – that propagate the cycle of birth and death. Thus our sloth, and our innocence – which can also be called our ignorance – creates the basis for propagation of life as we know it, keeping us trapped in the unending eternal cycle of life and death. The sooner we complete the unfinished business, the sooner we can exit out of this cycle.
The story of Adam and Eve is a metaphor for human existence, the fruit from the tree of knowledge being the metaphor for Kundalini. This world represents the Garden of Eden, and Maya, or our inability to know ourselves and our inability to see how things really are, represents the ignorance and the innocence of Adam and Eve.
So long as Adam and Eve had not tasted the fruit from the tree of knowledge, they were blissfully unaware of the real world, and were insanely happy in Paradise. They were unconscious and ignorant about the universe itself, the nature of life, or their part in the universe. They carried no responsibility or accountability for their actions, being controlled by the Will of God. In their ignorance, they enjoyed their life in an unaware manner, roaming naked in the Garden of Eden, Paradise being the only place they knew of. Their knowledge and intellect was severely curtailed by their bondage to the Will of God. It is metaphorically significant that it was a serpent that led them to their awareness.
Likewise, we humans, their descendants, are as innocent, and unaware of the significance of the fruits from the tree of knowledge – guarded by our very own serpent power. The Kundalini lies dormant, at the base of our spine, as accessible to us as the apple was to Adam and Eve, but we go thru lives being zombies, attached to our current, earthly, materialistic existence, without really being conscious of, or having any knowledge or understanding of the universe, our role in it, and the nature of life represented by the cycle of life and death, afraid to be courageous enough to take a bite of the proverbial Apple.
Kundalini thus represents our highest unrealized potential. Only we ourselves can unlock this potential.
Once they took a bite of the Apple, Adam and Eve acquired consciousness. They could never go back to their earlier state and thus were forced to leave the symbolic paradise. They matured into responsible and accountable humans, with intellect, knowledge, wisdom and consciousness by experiencing the fullness of life in their ability to realize themselves. It was the taste of the forbidden fruit which unveiled their ignorance forever. There was no going back.
Much in the same way, Kundalini pierces the veil of Maya, and allows us to see the world as it is. There is no going back to ignorance.
The longing to return to the Garden of Eden is symbolically the longing for return to the womb. It represents our wish for a simpler, uncomplicated life. Our wish to avoid our responsibilities as an adult. It arises when we find ourselves unable to meet the challenges that life throws in our way. It is a psychic response to the existential isolation. There is no womb there that can take us back – we have to reconcile to the fact, and carry the loads of existence on our shoulders, enduring cycle after cycle after cycle of this existential suffering – until we can find a way to break the cycle. The tool and technique to break this cycle is given to us, in the form of Kundalini. It lets us experience the Absolute Truth, and the Truth sets us free.
We experience time in moments, days, months, years, eons. We read about such time in books, but such knowledge is not ours, it is merely someone else’s truth. We read about the universe, but we have no experience of the universe. Our lives remain limited to that of paradise earth, and we shirk responsibility for our own growth. We are conditioned to live in ignorance by the Will of God. We live in a grip of Maya. That is how the world is. That is how Life propagates. The world as we know it, exists because of our aspirations, dreams, wishes, wants, wishes, desires, love, and sex. These are fuels that propagate life. These are the possessions of Mooladhara, and Swadhishtana Chakra. These are divine gifts to ordinary humans. They sustain and maintain our existence in this realm if that is what we would like. The world is meant to go on, in exactly the same way because we will it to be so.
For those who want a different kind of world, Kundalini is meant to provide an option to exit.
Buddha’s Middle Path is said to enable the attainment of Nirvana – freedom from the cycle of life and death. When Buddha attained enlightenment, he entered into a dialogue with god and is said to have exclaimed : I have cut the cords that you had used to bind me in the cycle of life and death. Living life mindfully enables a practitioner of Buddhism to create perfection in the existing moment. The moment of death too becomes such a perfect moment, and therefore that moment cannot create a child as there is nothing to propagate, or transmit. This cuts open the cycle of birth and death.
The crowning glory of Kundalini – the awakening of the Sahasrara Chakra or Crown Chakra too professes to enable Moksha, freedom from the cycle of birth and death. One achieves Moksha by activating the Sahasrara Chakra, which is the last chakra. It can be successfully activated only after all other chakras have been activated, ie only after a person has rid himself or herself of the unconscious materials and no Karma accumulates to create more material. Thereafter, there is no rebirth, and there is no unfinished business left, nothing to carry over into next life.
But consider for a moment what would happen if every human being was born with a dynamic, awakened Kundalini residing at the Ajna, or Sahasrara Chakra. The imperfection inherent in human life creates the need for the seed of time at the moment of death. It is the infirmity and the flaw of that moment of death, which creates the need for the next moment. If the moment of death is flawless, the life force will have no baggage, or Karma to carry forward. Past karma is the building block for rebirth. If the building block is missing, a new life cannot spawn. The cord that propagates the cycle, is cut. Every individual will achieve Nirvana. No life can spawn, no children would be born, no world would exist.
Or – if activating Sahasrara Chakra was relatively easy, every human being would be enlightened, every human being would be able to pierce the veil of Maya, every human being would be able to look into past present and future, and take appropriate actions for his or her benefit, and last by not the least – every human being would be able to break away from the eternal cycle of life and death. Again, the life flow would cease. There could be no life created from life. The world would not, could not go on. Each human created would attain Nirvana. No children would be born. The world, as we know it, would not exist.
Therefore, to quote Albert Einstein “God doesn’t play dice.” The world, and humans, are creations of an intelligent design. We exist, because a latent passive Kundalini in the Mooladhara Chakra is the most optimum manner in which this world could exist. Any other design would be flawed. A design where every human is born with an active Kundalini reposed in the Ajna or Sahasrara Chakra would be a nihilistic design. It would not be self sustaining.
We continue to exist, and our world continues to exist only because we lead imperfect lives. We therefore choose to be in this perpetual cycle. And so get what we want. We get to live in this Paradise, this Garden of Eden, much like Adam and Eve did. Choosing to activate the Kundalini would be akin to taking a bite of the proverbial Apple, we would initiate the process of exiting the cycle.
For this reason, the importance of Mooldhara Chakra cannot be emphasized enough. It is one of the most under appreciated Chakra of the system, and yet the most important in creating and sustaining our existence, and our world. All of us aspire to Ajna, and Sahasrara awakening, but it is Mooladhara Chakra that must be credited and thanked for maintaining our health, safety, relationships, passions, motivations, hopes, aspirations, dreams, and effort which make life what it is – liveable. As the name says – it is the root chakra, the most important of the lot, on which the human existence in this labyrinth of the Mayajaal depends.
Therefore, it is Mooladhar Chakra (and not Ajna or Sahasrara Chakras) that houses and protects Kundalini, which lies passive at the base of our spine, like a genie in a bottle – waiting to be awakened and released, promising to do your bidding. It is an option we have always had. Activating Kundalini is a conscious choice we will make when we have had enough of this Paradise.
Those of us who are fortunate enough, will hear its call, and respond in ways that will realize this power within us. It will then hopefully enable us to rise to our fullest potential, also referred to as self realization, which is synonymous with god realization. Jesus, Buddha, Gandhi are examples that fully realized Kundalini can bring forth.
Others less fortunate will continue to frolic around on this paradise called earth, enjoying its material benefits, shying away from the fruit from the proverbial tree of knowledge and wisdom. They will spend their life shirking responsibility for self realization, and will remain engaged in the grip of the vicious cycle of life and death until they choose responsibility.
The energy release is symbolically called the awakening, since it also brings forth an expansion of consciousness, and an honest and true experience of the self. This awakening is not often easy on some as it burns away the unconscious material from the past that is stored in the psyche. Much like psychotherapy, it is often a very painful and long drawn process. Many authors write about the perils and hardships faced during such a Spiritual Emergency. This leads one to wonder if it would be better to allow the unconscious to remain latent. Yes, that is a choice. One has a choice not to enter into psychotherapy much like one has a choice not to opt for an operation to remove a tumor. Free Will allows us to choose what we want to do with our lives. Kundalini experience is not for the faint hearted, but a seeker of lofty fruits such as eternal freedom from the bondage of life and death is required to have courage and resilience. One has to work for it.
Kundalini is simply an energy of a certain kind, much like nuclear power is an energy of a certain kind. Kundalini energy itself is not a positive, negative, good or bad any more than nuclear power is positive, negative, good or bad. How we harness this energy, and what we use it for, is personal and individual. Once activated, Kundalini simply enhances us in every way. If we are weak, that weakness is amplified in us. If we have inherent negative traits, those negative traits are magnified in us. If our minds are fraught with confusion and chaos, that confusion and chaos will be magnified in us. If we seek to do good, it will enable us the same way it will enable us if we seek to be evil.
In order to ensure that one’s Kundalini experience is positive, it is imperative that the body and mind be well prepared for such an experience. A calm and quiet mind will receive this energy quickly, peacefully and will be able to integrate it with the psyche. If a mind is cluttered with thoughts – being depression, anger, envy, panic anxiety, greed, desire, sex etc – the energy would only magnify those unwholesome thoughts.
Sometimes people complain of suffering neurological illness, or even psychosis, as a consequence of Kundalini activation. Such crisis occurs only when the unprepared body is forced to become the receptor of Kundalini energy. If there is excessive chatter in the mind, there is no figurative space for Kundalini energy, and sickness may result. Spiritual development occurs only when every thought, every image that we have amassed, has been processed, and all obstacles that could get in the way of an energy transfer, are removed. Clarity and quietude is the precondition of Kundalini. Much like one would not allow a child to play with a nuclear button, in the same way, one may not allow an immature mind, an un-meditative mind, an unquiet mind to receive this energy.
To all those who are actively involved in this journey, I wish you all the best.
Metta to all.
* The ascent of Kundalini and ultimately, the descent of spiritual grace, are symbolized by the cross. This is why Christians make the sign of the cross at Ajna, Anahata and Vishuddhi chakras, for Ajna is the center where the ascending consciousness is transcended and Anahata is where the descending grace is made manifest to the world.
Note: The images used in this blog are not mine, having been borrowed from the internet. They are not being used for commercial purposes to generate any income. My thanks to people who created these images, and apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused. If you object to the use of any particular image, please write to me on email@example.com and I will remove it.
“My quest for the god” – The title isn’t grammatically incorrect – I specifically made it the way it is. I put in the word “the” there, and de-emphasised the word “god”. Since all religions claim monopoly on the god – not a god, therefore the term the is more appropriate.
But today I want to discuss my personal god, not a generic god, nor someone else’s god. And given the plurality of gods, and the fact that existence of god has not been scientifically proven yet, at this time, the term “god” represents a common noun, not a proper noun. Hence I removed the capital G. If the capital G is necessitated because I must show my respect for the god – well the respect is a matter of personal relationship between me and my god. Respect is not defined by, or as, a capital letter. Capital letter represents a human definition of “respect” – and I would hope that my god is beyond requiring an outward, consensual sign of respect from me. In fact I will say that my god is beyond needing my respect for him. Any respect that I offer, is for my benefit. My god doesn’t care about such human practices. So I don’t honestly care about making a big deal about “respecting god” the way others do. My respect is internalised. I don’t need to offer outwardly proof.
I believe in god. I do. Not in the way religious people do, but as a universal creative force, something that created, creates and sustains us. If being religious entails being aligned to supporting the sustenance of the universe, I think in that sense I am more religious than anyone else I personally know, or have known, even though I may not outwardly appear to be dogmatically religious. So we have a question here – what constitutes religiosity? And can religiosity be universally defined, or is the definition personal as well, in the way the definition of god is personal.
I’m not sure what the god would looks or feels like, but then, this writing is precisely in service of such a quest – an attempt to sort out the entangled web of confusion that often overpowers me as various god images descend into my consciousness during the depth of my meditations.
At various points during my meditative states, I see fleeting images of gods. Miraculously, these images are almost always of Hindu gods. The gods of my ancestors. There have been a few others sporadically, but prominent among them has been Shiva.
I am from Kashmir, and I recently found out that Kashmir had a line of Shaivite descendants. So my collective conscience must be replete with Shaivism. Shiva makes sense. Shiva empowers me. The power of Shiva is formidable. It brings forth tears to my eyes to think that I am be protected by Shiva. Shiva then is seems to be an outward projection of my need to be protected. It seems like a psychic solution of that need. Despite the kick ass bravado, somewhere down there, I must be afraid of being alone. Somewhere deep down inside my charade of invincibility crumbles and I know myself as insecure, vulnerable. Somewhere deep down, I am terrified of having to bear the burden of responsibility for my existence all alone. And hence I put up psychic defenses to survive that existential terror. I conjure up an invisible powerful friend that creates in me an illusion of safety.
Shiva may actually be a god in some shape and form somewhere out there. I don’t deny his existence at all. What I am saying is that the entity inside of me, that comes to me during my meditations, is a structured psychic response to my need for comfort and power. With Shiva, I feel powerful, and certain. My confidence is based on predictive validity. Without Shiva, I become acutely aware of my nothingness, my powerlessness, of the existential uncertainty and chaos. Shiva is the father who I assume protects me.
Does the god exist in the form of Shiva? Is Shiva really the God. Is there more to the God than Shiva? These questions are beyond the realm of my discussion. What exists out there, I don’t know. I don’t want to make someone else’s truth as mine. I don’t like to parrot the scriptures without personal experiences of their teachings. What exists within is all I can safely discuss as I have personally experienced it.
If the internal Shiva a psychic image, then it follows that the inner Shiva is also a manifestation of Maya? The power of Shiva may be indisputably existent, but the form is a manifestation of Maya – a veil of name/form (naam roop) is thrown upon the true character of the God, which now appears to me as Shiva. I am sure some scripture somewhere explains this logic and reasoning as well, and those may be more detailed, more philosophical, or more explanatory – but that is not my truth, it has not been experienced by me. Personal experience – or as Buddha puts it – swayam ki anubhuti – is always more superior, and authentic, to reciting something from rote.
If the form is a manifestation of Maya, then the name/form of Shiva does not – cannot – fully capture the divine. Manifestations are limited in their abilities, the limitations being imposed by the limitations of human existence. We can see only a fraction of the universe, we can hear only a fraction of the universe…and so on. . .and so the universe that we see and know and feel is not the true representation of the universe out there. Is this the hologram we live in? Is this universe as solid as it appears to me, or is it just a probability, Schrodinger’s wave that collapses unless someone is watching? My universe appears solid, 3 dimensional. What it actually is, is beyond my experiences.
So the Shiva of my dreams, visions and manifestations is a HUMAN aspect of god. A 3 dimensional aspect of the god. Or, we can say that it is a simplified aspect that presents itself to me, to keep me going – in the same way I would present a toy gun to a child, to make him feel powerful.
Did I just disrespect Shiva? No – not at all. I removed the veil of illusion from the physical manifestation of Shiva that I am asked to worship. The Shiva of my dreams/visions. My experiences of the universe, of oneness, of oblivion, of nothingness are also experiences of Shiva. But either the image of Shiva in my psyche doesn’t represent those experiences, or those experiences are somehow dissociated with the image of Shiva in my psyche – which is the fault of our religious upbringing. The image of a stilted personification is extremely limited.
I always had problems with Bhakti Yoga. I just did not know what my problems were. This is it. How can something personified as a human create an experience of the divine? How can one believe without an experience? How long must faith without experience go on, and how blindly can we continue for how long? People do. More power to them. I can’t. I have a fully functional brain.
This problem of limitation arises because we ascribe certain un-god-like qualities to our gods. Our scriptures declare the god to be all-gracious, all-kind, all-blissful, all-loving, almighty. These are our needs, our expectations, our desires. We look for these qualities because with all the sufferings we go thru, and in ways that we struggle thru life, we would like to be under the umbrella of someone kind, blissful, loving, and powerful.
But – and its a very powerful but – these words are human constructs, they are products of our language, which again is a human achievement. The words are meaningless in the language of the universe. For example, what does kindness and love mean in context of the big bang? In the context of galactic infrastructure? In the context of formation of a star, or a black-hole? Do you see where I am going with that? To limit a god to earthly requirements, and limit him by bestowing on him human virtues, is ridiculous. We humans are an anomaly, not the norm.
The only entity that bestows grace, kindness, bliss, love and power on us, is ourselves. We are most in need of mercy, grace and love, and only we can grant ourselves mercy, grace and love. If an external god could bestow these, there would not be so many devoid of god’s grace, mercy and love in the world. Or perhaps god’s grace passes thru the Karmic filters. Perhaps that limits the grace. But a benevolent, kind, loving god would bestow grace and forgiveness on everyone, regardless – no? Anyway, regardless of god’s grace, we ourselves have the power to be merciful, graceful, and loving towards ourselves – and such virtues do NOT have to pass thru the filters of karma. So in that sense, we are more powerful in some ways than god.
This is where I grapple with the construct of power. Perhaps god is powerful. Or perhaps his powers are limited. The power of god doesn’t seem to be random – for he seems to follows laws.
Scriptures state that god is powerful because he has the power of maya below him. This seems to be untrue. The power of Maya is not below him, he does not control Maya. The power of Maya is within us. And to the extent that Maya can be controlled, it is conrolled by us. Maya lives within humans – the limitations of human capabilities represents Maya. My inability to see the quantum world, and my inability to see the infrared, and ultra violate spectrum of light, or my inability to see beyond a certain distances, or my inability to experience the 11 ( or 100) dimensions of the universe represents Maya. My need to have names for shapes represents Maya. My inability to see how we are all connected, or to understand the mysteries of the universe, represents Maya. Maya is not out there. Maya is a consequence of the lack of our human infrastructure, limitations of the contraptions given to our bodies. Maya is thus within us. Or shall we say Maya is an attribute of our humanity, just like spin is an attribute of an elementary particle.
Maya is personal because the measure of our ignorance is personal. Those that are more enlightened, have overpowered Maya to a certain extent, science attempts to unveils Maya. Those that live a more worldly materialistic life, are strongly gripped by Maya. A child’s imagination encompasses Maya. But Maya overpowers each one of us to some extent at least. Being human, is being in the grip of Maya. Humanity cannot extinguish Maya. It represents a limitation on humanity, Maya is a metaphor for and a symptom of our human-ness. To be human, is to live in a maya-jaal (web of deceit).
God is also labelled as omnipresent. This adjective depends on how god is defined. If god is defined as the consciousness that binds us and flows thru every elementary particle that forms the basic building black of this creation – whether animate or inanimate – then god is omnipresent. If god is defined as an observer, observed, or as a creator, created, and creation – then god is a obviously in every particle, and therefore omnipresent. But does such an omnipresent god have the ability to break the laws of creation? In other words – is he really all powerful? I would think not. Such a god’s powers would be limited in the same way the powers of a President are limited. Any change would be passed thru a string of parliamentary boards – a will to exercise authority would have to pass thru the rigors of the rules of creation – or chaos would result.
On questions of gender – is god a male or a female? This is again a redundant question. Most of the creation is inanimate, and genderless. Gender is a human construct. It is not a thing that exists in nature. Certain elements of the creation have a certain way of reproducing themselves. They use genital organs. Other elements of creation are enabled with asexual reproduction. Still other elements have other ways of reproducing themselves – like atoms for example – which allows electrons in its outer rings to be “gifted” or “stolen” from other atoms. It is a different method of reproduction than the semen exchange. But it is a exchange nevertheless that leads to “reproduction”. We humans just perceive such reproduction differently, and conceptualize and label it differently.
Since everything we have is in the image of god, a universal god wouldn’t really be gendered if such an entity has the ability to bring forth sexual, asexual and atomic reproductions as well. The genders are subsumed in the “it-ness” of god. The god is beyond gender.
The god-property I most value, and that which seems realistic, are the the nirakar, which means formless God. This is the true property of the god. A god that morphs into all shapes and forms – kinda like plastercine. The shapes and forms are projections of my psyche. The shapes are based on my needs, my requirements. The shapes are thus inside of me.
The property of nirgun – virtueless is a strange one. All virtues of the universe are subsumed, because the term virtue is a human construct as well. What virtue can one ascribe to Pluto? Or to Andromeda, or to a Black Hole, or to an electron ? Or perhaps we can construct millions of virtues for each of these. But all such virtues would be constructed, they are contextual, they are a consequence of evolution of language. They are a product of Maya. In of itself, the term virtue is an oxymoron, it has no meaning.
Can we then agree that when one loses language, one loses Maya ? Can we establish the supremacy of experience over thought, over intellect? Can we agree that intellect creates Maya, or can we say that intellect demolishes Maya? Perhaps both statements are true. Too much of intellect creates delusions. Too little leaves us ignorant.
The problem with this – and such philosophical debates is that they don’t really go anywhere. They’re just represent a diahorrea of words, and constipation of ideas. The debates themselves are endless.
So – how about we use drop all arguments, and counter arguments, and just say the god simply “is”. Period. The simplest definition of god then becomes this : the god is my experience of myself.
The argument arises – which myself? Is god the experience of myself when I was 5 or when I was 20, or when Am now 55? Well, we can go a step forward and say that the definition of god is my experience of myself in the here and now. In this moment.
This definition makes god multifaceted, limitless, and full of potential and potentialities as the scriptures espouse. What the scriptures espouse, I can never understand until I experience it. Hence such a definition allows me to experience the god in his/her/it’s fullest. And it allows my experience of the god to improve with my ability to experience. It allows endless unfoldings that align with my own growth. And since I change every minute, my experience of god is never static. Since I am a reflection, and the reflected, and the reflector, I can figuratively see myself in every which way like in a 3 way mirror, in a 3 dimensional manner – which is all I am capable of seeing anyway. The rest is beyond me.
Since that which lies beyond my experience of myself, cannot be experienced by me, therefore my experience of god that is beyond my personal experience is not possible, and therefore irrelevant. It is mere speculation. It will be a child like imagination. If there is something that exists beyond me, it represents the unknowable, something I will never understand, and thus should not concern myself with. If I can just understand that which is given to me, that is enough.
I don’t think I answered all the questions that I started with. Perhaps there are no answers. Or perhaps the answers are a few million years or a few million miles, or a few million dimensions away from humanity.
If everything about everything is known, would that make god redundant or would it establish the need for god or would it establish the existence of god? I don’t know. But I know that the next time I see an image of Shiva arising in my meditations, I can understand this image better than I did before today, because i will be linking it to my personal experience of myself in that moment – which is also the experience of fullness of god.
My argument can extend to any god or deity like Jesus, Prophet Mohammad etc. In the end, there is no truth, except for the experience of here and now. Hence it is best that we follow this absolute truth – and see things as they are, at that moment, not as we want them to be in some other time and place.
With metta to all.
What prompted me to write today is a look at the signature on my email account, a dream sequence of Draupdi’s cheerharan, and an altercation with the dharmic police (in reverse order).
My email signature is an ancient Indian proverb “Yatra Naryastu Pujyanta, Ramate Tatra Devata” – literally meaning, where women are worshiped/respected, divinity resides there. Such a profound statement from the ancient world is passed on to me like a heirloom by my ancestors. It carries with it a privilege associated with feminity. But it is such an alien thought in the eastern as well as the western culture today. The Bengaluru rapes and refusal of the educated and religious men to condemn it in a meaningful way, poses a question for every Indian – is this what dharma is? The religious police was quick to kill a muslim man under suspicions of being a beef eater in Dadri. However, no religious police has come forward with a condemnation of the Bengaluru rapes. The only statements we have from the religious community is one in which Maata Mahadevi blames women for the rape. Does beef eating, cow slaughter, Hindutva – the burning issues that inspire so the called religious Hindus of India today – take precedence over respect for women?
I love India. I am a devoted Indian. And sadly India today has a rape culture which parallels that of Saudi Arabia, and which is progressively getting worse. India swarms with men who threaten, harass, eve tease, molest, expose to, rape and kidnap children, girls and women. These men come from all spheres of society, and are of all ages. Rich/poor, teenagers, adults, middle aged, and even lecherous old men. Growing up in India was an experience I was happy to escape. Streets were unsafe. College was unsafe. Workplace was unsafe. Travelling in autos, taxi’s and buses was unsafe. Elevators were unsafe. Looking at any guy was unsafe for the guy was sure to follow you home. India remains so. I have been away for over 35 years. I would not mind returning now, only because I surmise that I am significantly older, and hence do not look pretty enough to attract attention. But I would still be afraid. One never knows what the lecher acing you fancies. It was almost a crime to be a beautiful women growing up in India, a crime for which I was punished by men and women alike. I hear the situation is worse now.
Denial of this fact constitutes dishonesty. Much as I love India, I cannot go around claiming that India is a safe country for women. It would be a lie.
If the harassment wasn’t traumatic enough, its the accusations from society, as well as one’s own family and friends that dwarfs the trauma imposed by wayward men. A woman can do nothing right. A man can do nothing wrong. Its just a regressive mindset. And so it was with Nirbhaya a few years ago, and so it was in Bengaluru.
When women raise their voices against rape, they’re told they too deserve being raped. This is the story of keepers of our religion. Hinduism apparently belongs to these individuals, and needs to be “kept” – in the same way that whores are “kept” by pimps – for exploitation and personal gains. As if Hinduism may not survive but for their (miserable) efforts. Stupid is as stupid does.
Do I hope to change the world by my writings ? No, not at all. The world unfortunately seems to have become unredeemable. But for all those undergoing similar life challenges as mine, it may provide an insight into the nature of their own problems, and perhaps give them strength to endure.
So here’s how the story unfolds…
I know this gentleman called Satish Sharma. Long ago, on facebook, he sent me a friend request, which I accepted. Sharmaji is a renown figure in UK, where he heads numerous Sanatan Dharma outfits. A religious bigwig, or so i am told.
Yesterday a discussion started on Sharmaji’s wall regarding women’s rights in religious texts like Ramayana. Sharmaji is a religious fanatic, and also happens to be a man who believes that Ram’s acts towards Sita were justified, that Sita got what she deserved, which, by inference includes that she deserved to be traumatized, abandoned, and deserved to die.
In Ramayana, Ram exiles his pregnant queen – the wife who made him famous, and turned him into a god like figure, a wife who sacrificed royal life to accompany him to 14 years of exile. She did not have to, but she did,out of love and devotion. After 14 years, Ram becomes a king and betrays her by throwing her out of the palace when she is pregnant. He wants to be a popular king..Thats it. Thats the only reason Ram kicks out his devoted wife of 15 years. Did his brain malfunction? Apparently, for he is unable to think ethically. No questions of loyalty, duty, responsibility hound him as he orders her thrown out of the palace. No sense of dharma awakens within him towards his unborn children. Such an absolute disrespect of the feminine.
This is the role model that Indian men are expected to follow. No wonder India’s divorce rate is rising faster than speed of light. No wonder a woman is raped every minute. No wonder bride burning has become family entertainment.
Continuing with the story, Sita – the former princess, and queen, lives in a forest, brings up the children as a single parent, in an ashram. When the children turn into teenagers, Ram, who has by then been denounced by his subjects for such betrayal of his wife, is now desperate to appear “just” in the eyes of his subjects. So again for his own popularity and publicity, he now orders Sita to return to him. Claiming property rights – eh? Which self respecting woman would like to return to a husband like Ram? You can guess what happens next. Sita spurns him. But he’s a king and can’t take NO for an answer.(And so, Indian men even today will never take NO for an answer). So Sita jumps into an abyss and commits suicide to escape from a dysfunctional marriage rather than return to it, and him. Wise decision, I would say, as would any woman since Sita.
In Mahabharata, Arjuna – one of the 5 pandava brothers -is ordered by his mother to share his wife with 4 of his brothers. And he does. Draupadi thus has 5 husbands. Does Arjuna’s brain malfunction? Is he incapable of thinking for himself? No, of course not. Does he think a woman, a wife, is meant to be shared ? Yes, because mommy said so. A great warrior, an intelligent being in his own right, turns into a blubbering idiot in the hands of his erring mother.
As if her woes were not enough, the wife shared by 5 brothers is wagered in a game of checkers by the eldest son – Yudhistra. Duryodhan – a cousin of the pandavas – wins the game. Thus a piece of property that Arjuna had shared with his brothers, is passed on to Duryodhana. To do with her as he pleases. African slaves probably had more rights. And these are our gods, our role models. Duryodhana, eager to ‘see” and “show” his newly acquired property, begins disrobing her in public, while the elders of the clan, including grandfather Bhishm Pitamah, and other “gods” silently watch. This act, of disrobing is declared adharma by the Pandavas and by Hindus. What about wagering a wife? Nope. Thats not adharma, according to Hinduism. Talk about situational ethics !
It is the oft repeated story in Indian legends. Our hero, our God, turns into a blundering idiot, has a brain malfunction when it comes to his wife. Our hero will fight an army of demons to save a cow because it wins him accolades. But wife? What does helping a wife get him? Nothing. So why should he do anything for women? Wife has a lower status then a cow. Sound familiar? Yes. Where is even an ounce of dharma in all these men?
These men are expected to be role models for our children, teenagers, and men in general?
Yes, these men showed valor in war. But when it came to women, their brains always malfunctioned. In a parallel world, Indian men are great achievers even today. Microsoft, Google, Intel – you name it, intelligent Indian men are everywhere. But when it comes to women, their brains continue to malfunction since Ram, Arjuna, Yadhustra. Like Jung’s definition of a complex, there is a hole in the psyche of men, that attracts all evil towards itself repetitively since antiquity, energizing itself, sucking all light and creating blackness, and bleakness in the world of women – like a black hole.
Many argue that the history has been twisted, that it was not so. Others justify the reasons for the actions of our heros. We’re told the women endured torture for a good cause. Who cares? And who decides whether women should or should not endure torture for a good cause? These men with malfunctioning brains? Will women ever have a say in whats good for them? Will women ever have control over their own bodies? Sound familiar? Yes, its the same argument that also spans the pro choice v pro life debate. Who controls women’s bodies? Men? State ? God? Or women themselves?
Regardless of what actually happened 8000 years ago, and what their reasons were, the point is, these men are wrong role models for man-woman relationships. No one copies Zeus. Or Apollo. Or Ares. They are made irrelevant because their behavior is considered inappropriate for modern times. And so must these Hindu gods become irrelevant in context of relationships. Bhakti cult carries blame for a lot of evils in Indian society.
So here’s how the argument got abusive and disrespecful.
In my argument with Sharmaji and the first batch of the mob, I suggested that we must concentrate our social activism on promoting and protection of women and children. Caring about Ram Setu bridge, cow protection and beef related issues – I felt – was secondary to women’s right and respect. If societal evils were taken care of, if molestation, sex abuse,disrespect of women were outlawed by the religious police, Hinduism would automatically flourish. Woman shaming by religious policemust be replaced by stringent measures against men. Currently it seems rape is the women’s fault, and men everywhere start chanting “woman’ fault” “woman’s fault” “woman’s fault”….tota bolo Ram Ram. Tota says Ram Ram. As history dictates, a man’s brain WILL malfunction when it is used in service of women’s rights.
Yatra Naryatu Pujyante, Tatra Ramayte Devata. Hinduism would be protected and would flourish thru protection and respect of women. That is what the efforts should be directed towards instead of the bullshit about inanimate Ram Setu bridges, Jattakulli bull sports, Hanuman’s hill, Sanjeevni booti…blah blah blah…
When no argument could be presented against this, Sharmaji accused me of being abusive towards the lynch mob. I informed him that he was following a well trodden path. It was the most common argument used to silence women since antiquity. A woman complains against rape, she is called “loose.” A woman complaints about societal/religious evils, she is called “angry” “ranting” or even “psychotic”. Men use such strategy to minimize a woman’s voice, silence her, or render her arguments irrelevant. An angry woman’s argument does not have substance – right? Well, this one woman is different maybe. I don’t honestly care what the world judges me as. My self worth is not tied to what others think of me. I remain true to my own self, to my own calling. I told him so.
When that did not work, a “bulldozer” called Prahlad Kemmara, was presumably called in to protect the face of Hinduism I guess. An uneducated, unintelligent, uninformed, uncivilized, uncouth man who had not read a single text he was ranting about, Prahalad Kemmara began bullying the two of us – me and another woman who jumped in to protect me (almost like Krishna intervenes to help Draupdi).
The expression “Tota bolo Ram Ram” (parrot saying Ram Ram) and “all brawn, no brain” aptly described Prahalad Kemmara. He had a diarrhea of words and constipation of ideas. He googled up arguments which others leaders of the time make in context of other discussions.Not a single word, or thought vomited by him, was original. He did not know what psychoanalysis was ,but used the word psychoanalysis repeatedly. He had never read Rajiv Malhotra, but quoted Rajiv Malhotra’s you tube videos. He attached pictures of a book on holocaust, but had never read the book. He did not understand what I wrote in english, but argued incessantly about what I had, in fact, not written.
This nutjob used profanity to bulldoze us right away.He started with calling us bimbos, drunken women, permissive, promoting free sex, falling on top of men; According to him, I was bitter because I did not have a man in my life etc. Apparently women cannot be single, and are not allowed to drink (I prefer being single, and don’t consume alcohol, but will defend the right of a woman to do whatever she pleases !). Apparently, Hinduism does not permit all I stood for. What I stood for – he had no clue.
But lets just admit, for simplicity, that I was guilty as alleged – guilty of nakedness, drinking, perversity. Shiva promoted Tantra – a sexual cult, our goddesses are depicted as scantily clad, Kamasutra is an ancient religious texts that promotes sexual enjoyment. Where does our culture say human beings should be celibate and women are to be clothed from head to toe? Ooops. It appears he has no clue about our culture when he argues that WE, women, chattels, property, are required to be covered from head to toe, walk 2 steps behind our men, and sacrifice ourselves, committing suicide over some sleazy man who would not honor us,or respect us? Which Hinduism are you talking about? Not mine.
What he was actually inferring thru his rabid rants was that he lacks the ability to control his penis. So he has a problem – his rocket launcher penis is out of control. And he feels entitled to demand that the entire species of women change their way of living – in order to assist him with his disability. I’d say get it castrated, you will be free of desire,and the women will be free of you ! True dharma – right?
Everyone in that group – including Sharmaji, the dharmic godman, watched, while this man abused us – me and my fellow kindred. Tota bolo Ram Ram. And he was reciting Ram Ram by rote, without using his brain. Just like men from ISIS say Allah – o- Akbar, without using their brain. Just like Ram, Arjun, before him and all people in between had forgotten that they had a functional brain.
As for Prahalad Kemmara, I have not looked him up, (to me he is like an irrelevant dirty fly, I flicked him off by blocking him) but I am told that the guy has a profile which shows him with a rocket, with phallic representation of a penis. Oh my ! I am impressed by such chavunistic symbolism. Burhan Wani would hold his AK41 and Muslim girls of Kashmir would swoon over it/him. Talk about an original idea…
This is a religious man befriended and supported by Satish Sharma ?! A rabid man with a rocket for a penis ?! And this is the depth of deprivation Hinduism has sunk to ? I rest my case.
Shame on all of those who support bullying under the guise of religious discipline. Shame for falling to such low levels of hooliganism towards genuine voices that question the misogyny in Ramayana – a book written by men, for men to promote a world of male supremacy. If misogyny was defensible, Sharmaji’s arguments would have sufficed. He would not have to seek “strongmen” to silence women in this day and age.
This is how low Hinduism has sunk? How are these people different from Islamists and ISIS then? This is what I asked him, and others there, before blocking off his rabid and perverted rants.
Mahabharata is not what happened thousands of years ago. In the psychic world, time does not exist. Mahabharata is what happens everyday in this world. Everyday lecherous men disrobe women with their gaze. Everyday, women are silenced, abused – disrobed – in groups for voicing their opinion while the group members cheer. Every Duryodhana wins for want of a Krishna to support the women. Sita dies a million deaths every day. Draupudi is disrobed million times each day.
And shame on dharmic people who venerate Sita’s death as noble, fair, and just. It is an apology of a man – like Ram – who would expect his wife to sacrifice herself. Shame on people who find nothing wrong with a man who wagers his wife in gambling. It is one of Jung’s complexes – which grows bigger and bigger with time, draws everything into itself and if unchecked, has the potential of swallowing the entire existence in itself.
Ram is an archetype of a self centred man. Sita is an archetype for a woman who is betrayed, used and abused. Men and women of today are attracted to these archetypes…and behave predictably.And if religious texts permit such behaviors, then religious texts need to be banned,burned or buried – take your pick – whichever religion that may be. One cannot throw stones at others if one is living in a glass house, and so Hinduism cannot profess to be any better than Islam, if all it does is mimic Islam’s extremism and misogyny. Prahalad Kemmara believed his penis is a rocket. How much worse can one get in the name of religion ?
I don’t profess to be very dharmic. But even I know that reciting religious texts by rote does not constitute dharma. Marketing and selling religion does not constitute dharma. Promoting misogyny, is not dharma. Calling goons to terrorize women and silencing them by bullying them, calling them bimbos, loose, drunken and deserving to be raped, does not constitute dharma. It is our *actions* – in the here and now – which constitute dharma.
Not a word was said to contain the miscreant who went on a rampage yesterday for over 5 hours. Like Bhishm Pitamah, Sharmaji was a silent spectator of this disrobing. If this is Sanatan Dharma, Satishji – then it is better you unleash this Sanatan Dharma only on your wife and daughters – your chattels – please spare the rest of us women.We deserve something better.
This morning, one of the members from that group, came to my wall and attempted to argue Sharmaji’s role in yesterday’s events. Someone else argued that maybe Sharmaji had NOT been watching. Firstly, I find her behavior an uncalled for intrusion into my privacy, and told her so. Secondly, a leader is always vicariously responsible for his followers’ actions and words. Although Bhishm Pitamah did not personally disrobe Draudi, he contributed to the crime thru his silence. He erred in not stopping Duryodhana. And in this case, at the very least, Sharmaji was guilty by association. He sure must have read the exchange. I have not had an apology till date. So presumably, Prhalad Kemmari’s behavior was ok in his opinion. Thirdly, in the facebook world, the owner of the wall is ultimately responsible for the contents, and the arguments, on their wall. Again one sees absolutely no repercussions for the miscreant’s misconduct.So one has to assume that the event was orchestrated, and planned to unfold the way it did. The only thing that had not been foreseen was my resistance, and my ability to document these behaviors on the web.
As I suggested on your wall, people who legitimize rape, symbolise penal superiority need to be forcibly castrated to protect our Hindu gene-pool. Forcibly sterilizing him would be dharmic act, an act of compassion, for the seed does not fall far from the tree, and it will greatly help the cause of Hinduism.
In this case, I await the karmic intervention for yet another metaphoric cheerharan. Time will tell.
If this kind of behavior is sanctioned by Sanatan Dharma, I dont’ even want to know it, let alone adopt it as my religion, for it fills me with shame. Swami Vivekananda was an Arya Samaji. He did not support the blind (and I mean blind) bhakti. People like Vivekananda are the ideals that I cherish. Ideals that do not make me hang my head in shame. Buddhist teachings are my favorites too. Buddhism teaches one to be in the here and now. What happened thousands of years ago, doesn’t matter. What matters is how we make a difference in this world.
Hinduism – especially Sanatan Dharma – will never progress until adherants reject the misogyny inherent in our texts. The misogyny is its nemesis. Our failure to reject misogyny makes us no different from Islam. Sanatan Dharma will never flourish until women are given their due respect and freedom. This is the curse of the feminine. And it holds power.
I am a Buddhist, I celebrates Christmas, and I still profess to be a Hindu – just not the Hindu that Sanatana Dharma seems to favor. I am not the one to roll over and become a doormat so that egotistic men can walk over me. I can find courage of womanhood from within.I am powerful because I am a woman, not in spite of being a woman. I am powerful in spite of self proclaimed “keepers” of our religion – the religious pimps.
Please join me in making your voice heard against such religious radicalism. Our scriptures and the teachings that they impart have been contaminated by the goons,bullies, and pimps who call themselves religious.
I must thank the friends who gave me courage to disclose the dream publicly.
In the end, all this post attempts to convey is – religion is a personal preference. Clothing is a personal preference. What role models one chooses is also a personal preference. What a woman does with her body, is a woman’s decision. When a religion,culture, or society attempts to impose limitation on the freedom of individuals, one must assume that the religion, culture, or society is already decaying, or already decayed. It is in the grip of fanatics because it has repeatedly been rejected by the mainstream, hencethelast ditch attempt by the goons to spread it thru intimidation. In the end, the righteous people fighting for freedom will always win, sooner or later. And history will show the shameful misdeeds of those that intimidate and oppress. The comments of these miscreants – that women are responsible for their rapes – will not be forgotten, nor forgiven. They will resonate in the hallways of feministic philosophy and literature. Women represent the face of Shakti in this world, and will win.
Tathastu. Metta. May God be with you.
PS: Today incidentally is Simone de Beauvoir’s birthday. Happy Birthday Ms de Beauvoir. May your legacy cut across cultures and religions and flourish in the name of humanity, equality and justice.
On the occasion of Navaratras, the 9 days of the Mother, I reblog this with reverence. May the Godess bless and keep us all.
After playing with the developmental aspects of our physical, ego bound existence briefly over the last few weeks, the intuition spontaneously drives to exploring the archetypal, the collective and the symbolic aspects of the mother and the father in greater depth. These writings that follow are not my own ( cited the author at the end), but the selection of these has an autonomous quality to itself, and based on this exploration, its a guess that the next few writings will be dedicated to myths and legends about mother and father from various cultures.
Today, I was drawn to Kali – the Divine Mother. And one can see how the feminine, even in this contemporary society, exists in various facets of the Divine Mother. The more things change, the more they remain the same. Certain level of preliminary knowledge of Hindu deities may be helpful… 🙂
When the gods lay exhausted…
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Something I wrote eons ago….sharing now, as it seems less threatening…
Long ago, in 1993 or thereabouts, I worked as a CIO at Sharjah Airport in UAE. One late evening , everyone had left as it was around 7:00pm. Being an IT professional, I – as IT professionals often do – often worked late, so I believed I was the only person in the in the whole building apart from the operations and nighttime crew that is part of an international airport and works in a restricted area. I saw a light in my bosses office, and wondering what was going on, I walked in to his office. My boss – the CEO of the airport – was only a couple of years older than me, and we shared a great rapport. It was the evening prior to Christmas eve, ie it was on the late evening on 23rd december. As I entered the room, I saw him hunched up at the head a of his very very loooooooong T shaped table. There was a foot high pile of documents on his table, and he was patiently ploughing thru them one by one. I was shocked to see him work so late, and so asked him if he intended spending this festive evening at work. He pointed at the papers, and said “If I don’t finish them today, you won’t get paid. And its Christmas, you and everyone else need to be paid !” My heart went out to him, and I muttered, “I wish I could help! It seems so lonely at the top!” He had smiled at me – a sad smile of acknowledgement, before he returned to his pile, ignoring my presence. I quietly and unobtrusively crept out of his office. There is nothing I could do, so like everyone else, I walked away. But that memory has become etched in my mind, and even after over 25 years, I still remember it as if were yesterday. He was the loneliest man I have ever seen in any professional setup ! Such is the destiny of gods.
The CAMFT Conference was a beautiful event. I was expecting an audience of around 30-40 for my lecture and almost had a stage fright when I heard the number of people who had signed up. But such a large audience oddly charged me up after a few minutes. My apologies for running out of handouts. I was asked to put the presentation up on CAMFT website. For reasons of professional and personal ethics, I am reluctant but I would be happy to email them to those who feel the need for it.
My topic was “Symbolic Quest for the Father.” A significantly more detailed and better version of what I had posted under a blogpost of the same name a few months ago. Although I m unable to post the paper here due to reasons of professional ethics and mandated requirements of the Board of Behavioral Sciences, I will briefly discuss the contents as they formed the base from which emerged a question of god and deity that I wish to explore today.
I had used the Jungian and Lacanian Psychoanalytic approach for conceptual model that defined the framework of a father’s role. As Lacan has said, the “Name of the Father” or the “Law of the Father” defines the character of the child in so many ways. And during the making of that presentation my mind would often wonder to the role of God, the symbolic and universal father, of which the biological father is but a representation, in forming the character of humanity. And the explorations into the realm of god were meaningful and profound for me, because I could see how the world is what it is today. I could also relate to the profound sense of power, coupled with isolation and sense of loneliness that gods of our world must experience – the gods that are heads of the world institutions that shape the future, the politicians of the world, the celebrities and all those that are in positions of authority.
Kalinich and Taylor discuss Michalangelo’s creation of God and Adam. In it, we see man and God lying facing each other, both pointing their index fingers at one another. A very small but visible space separates both fingers. The authors posit that this space is of extreme importance, forbidding any fusion between god and man, and compelling us to think of discontinuities between the deity and humanity, but also between people that belong to the different social and hierarchical structures. What does this separation entail, what is the outcome of the separation, and why is it necessary?
I wonder if god is aware of the power he/she/they/it wields on human beings. And I mean to talk about emotional power, not just the physical power. We humans grow up revering the gods, we carry their images in our hearts, we fantasize about them, we dream about them, we write about them, we imitate them and we yearn and strive to become like them. I often wonder if Dante had ended up marrying Beatrice, would he have ever been able to create The Divine Comedy ? She was his guide in paradiso, a guide that enabled his encounter with god. And so, it seems, this distance between the gods and the deities is necessary for psychological growth.
If that distance is bridged, if the gods become human, or if the humans attempt to manifest their godliness, all that is sacred becomes mundane, profane, with dire consequences.
Incidentally, this is the philosophy between prohibition of therapist-client dual relationship, and such relationships are a great metaphor for a relationship between deity and humans. The deity wields enormous psychological power on the mortals. The mortals, no matter how strong, resilient and powerful, are always vulnerable to the power of the deity – physical, emotional, political, social power. As long as the mandated distance is maintained, the two remain in the mutually enhancing relationship, for the deity needs a mortal to worship him, and the mortal needs a role model to worship and emulate. But in the realm of the gods, the deity is aware of his personal power on humans, and depending on the culture one is exploring, the gods are either benevolent, or spoilt, malevolent and punitive in their superiority over man.
The deity like person, on the other hand, is usually blissfully unaware of the power he wields. And this lack of awareness can be compounded by his need for connection, which makes him step down from his assigned role, the cross of success, and attempt to mingle with the common man. In that step down is humbleness, and need that is almost human, but not quite. The experience of his divinity stays with the person, regardless, of his attempts to bridge the gap.
From a very personal experience, I can vouch that the bridging of the distance has extremely, extremely negative repercussions. Long ago, I was in long term psychotherapy, and like every client in a psychotherapeutic relationship, I revered my psychologist. I believed we had a good rapport, which is a necessary requirement in psychotherapy. Unbeknown to myself, he was attracted to me. Which in itself is not a bad or a negative thing, as long as the psychologist can maintain the boundaries, and does not let the client know about it. Unfortunately this one did let me know, and a proposition followed. The sense of betrayal was so intensely traumatic for me, that it debilitated me for almost 3 years thereafter even though I had stopped my therapy. During this time I suffered physically thru severe sickness, emotionally thru depression, and financially due to inability to work due to illness caused by boundary violations. The psyche is incapable of distinguishing between emotional and physical acts. Something that is experienced, causing suffering. That experience could be physical, or mental. It is not uncommon to see people die of emotional shock. And all emotional betrayal of this kind is experienced as an incensuous relationships – as traumatic as a sexual relationship with a father. A god. A deity. (Buddha was right on with his teaching of RIGHT THOUGHT).
A god had dared to transgress into my personal space, and bridged the psychological distance between us. The ideal that I had nourished, and that which nourished me in turn was reduced to mundane in that moment. The heaven of that sacred psychological space was revealed to as ugly, as fallible as the earth. There was nothing to aspire to. I had nowhere left to go for healing. In that moment I realised there were no real gods. I was alone. I had only myself to depend upon. The issue that perhaps my psychologist saw as being carelessly local between me and him, became universal as I projected this incident on the world and the universe around me in a struggle to understand myself, these debilitating emotions, and the universe. Why was my body failing, breaking down? Because all dreams, all illusions I had – about life, about relationships, about humanity, about everything – were shattered, and had to be recreated. The words trust, faith, integrity, needed to be reassessed. Everything, each and everything needed to be redefined in the context of lack of ideal. New ideals needed to be set up. It is a HUGE and stupendous task. The sickness, and the low point that my life reached were actually a demolition of my conditioned thinking. Now I knew the reality of a god. A new world, based on reality, and new ideals, new relationships, had to be constructed before I could step into it. My relationships my surroundings had to be redefined in the light of this incident. I could either grow, or I could shrivel and die. I chose growth. But such growth has its disadvantages. It reveals true picture of the world, it robs one of innocence. If we have had a decent upbringing where our caregivers have been nice and loving, our psyche is protected from these true pictures of the world. But a faultline like this shatters those illusions of safety. I would not wish it on anyone.
That I ultimately grew from the experience is obvious. But it took every ounce of courage to remain rooted. I directed all my energy to self exploration and discovery – without which I would have scattered, and it would have been impossible to collect myself together.
Since then, this picture has held a great significance for me, and a sense of personal space has assumed importance that it never had. Because no one had ever breached that personal space, I had been impervious to it, I did not even notice it. But subsequently, the scarred psyche, terrified forever, now defends that space with a vengeance, constructing barriers to intimacy. Such adaptations of the psyche are in service of healing, caution and preservation of life – they are preventive. These adaptations are honorable and must be honored. However, they are irreversible.
It is different than a normal rape. In an episode of rape, if the perpetrator is a person that is unknown or despised by the victim, the psychological harm is still intense, but the fact that someone you trusted would do this to you, adds layers and layers of intensity and untold misery to the already traumatic event.
I often wonder how people who impose emotional, physical or financial hardship on others are able to look themselves in the mirror for the rest of their lives. I often wonder what kind of defenses they build to prevent themselves from dissolving in their own shame. The same barriers that people who molest their children build up to keep on keeping on. Some kind of justification that I did nothing wrong, that it was nothing that it did not affect her or him, I was just joking….and lastly – she is weird/mentally unstable….or the children brought it onto themselves, the children did not refuse, or protest….(I even heard one parent I know say – “the children still like me!” Duh! ) Blaming the victim is not uncommon in these circumstances… ….I guess I will never know how a perpetrator feels….mercifully, thankfully, I will never know…I don’t want to know……and thank god I will never know…
Personal spaces are created for a reason. They are meant to protect you from psychological harm. It is imperative that we each revere our personal space, and guard it with vengeance, that we allow no one, not even a god, to cross into that space. For this sacred space is the space within which trust, faith, confidence as well as the intellect grows. The distance and the stretch actually enhances the internal space where imagination and all symbols foster and make themselves felt. Breach this space, and the chance that you have of growing, is lost forever. What was an asset, becomes a liability. It is equally important that no matter how lonely, and isolated we feel within our own world, we must remain aware of the personal space of others, and always respect and honor that space – no matter what the emotional cost to us. For in that space, they are nurturing their trust, faith and confidence. They are stretching the wings of their imagination and reaching out to heavens. It is best that heaven always remain out of reach. The real world is an uncertain, nasty, ugly place, its people are liars, cheats, thugs, rapists, murderers. So dream about perfection are a necessity to create a compensatory balance. It is important that we dream about perfection, about beauty. About faith and trust. About certainty. It is necessary that we trust. Something, someone. Absolutely. For it is that trust which we then assimilate within, and that which allows us to trust humans despite the fact that humans are essentially untrustworthy. The beauty and allure of the gods, and the heavens is preserved by the fact that these are ideals, they inspire human beings to strive, they are absolutes, never to be achieved, never to be attained. In our imaginations, they are incapable of ugliness that we see around it. As Jung would say – we are healed by believing in something greater than ourselves. And so, attaining the unattainable, mingling with gods is a violation of the personal space. It reduces them in stature, they become of this world. As imperfect, as fragile. Such a movement is disillusioning. It causes the fear of certainty as the ideal is now demolished, and we know for sure that the god is fallible. What will we now believe in? How will our faith be restored? Who will protect us? Who will guide and inspire us? What is lost, can never be restored, there is no going back. Such violation of space may bring temporary sexual relief to one party, or even to both, but often the costs associated with such violations are horrendous. Especially for the aspiring mortal. The one lower in the hierarchy. For the one higher in the hierarchy, they are debilitating in that they breed narcissism, sociopathy, and a sense of false victory.
So here is to someone whose ideals have let them down – build new ideals that are realistic, and that are based on your internal strength. Thou Art That. You are the god. You do not need external ideals.
And here’s to all those who step into the personal space of others – pick someone your own size, pick another god, someone who is not emotionally vulnerable to you and does not hold you in awe. Isolation and loneliness is not a reason to transgress someone else’s space. Remember the story of Apollo and Daphne. Times have changed. The malevolent gods of the Greek rape culture died a well deserved death long long ago. Even Yehweh did not survive and was replaced by a more compassionate and just Jesus Christ. And so, it is incumbent on you to be aware and sensitive about personal spaces of others and no matter how hard it is to remain rooted in a personal sense of ethics, that is what you must do to prevent harm to others, and to yourself.
There has been a lot of controversy lately about the role of Gandhi in the liberation of India. Regardless, Gandhi’s contributions, along with his quotes, reverberate and resonate across the world even now, decades after his death.
One of the quotes that I often meditate on, and which has guided me in my personal life, is the quote “Be the change that you want to see in the world”. The quote has a fundamental mesmerising quality to it, a quality that allows you go to as deep into it, as you would like to. At various stages of my life I have looked at it differently, only to return to it later, and find that the words conveyed a totally different meaning. Under each situation, at each stage of life, the phrase took on a new and deeper meaning. So it was only my intelligence (or lack of it) that limited me, or guided me in my understanding, applicability and the vastness of these few words strung together and thrown carelessly around. During my teenage years, the phrase motivated me to fight for my rights on behalf of all the women of the world. In my twilight years now, it inspires me to a holistic life that includes environmental concerns and a simpler way of living. The phrase is much like a koan, in that the quest for meaning behind it is endless. But in its very limitlessness lies its existential inspiration and obligation. We – as intelligent human beings – can never give up on it, we can never have enough, we can never achieve it fully and completely. Like the heavens, it represents an ideal we can only strive towards. The ideal always remains beyond our human grasp. But we cannot ignore it, we cannot not act on it. The expression represents a moral, ethical – indeed an existential – obligation imposed on each and every human being by life itself.
We breathe, and then we are born. And we grow, and grow and grow. Physically, psychologically, intellectually – we grow. We are constantly evolving as individuals, as a community, as a species, as a universe. The change and chaos that evolution begets is the manifestation of that evolution. We never stop breathing. We never stop growing. We never, not for a moment, stop changing. We may not be aware of all this, but the fact remains – that we change moment by moment. Our body cells die, and regenerate moment by moment. The chemicals constituting our body, and brain, are constantly changing – the change in them leads us to function. If they did not change every moment, we would not be able to function. The world around us changes moment by moment. Someone somewhere – everyone everywhere – in this world is doing something that is enabling the world to change. The electrons are zipping around, the atoms are moving, the photons dash around colliding with each other and enter the retinas to create vision. The rich man in Beverly Hills steps into his lamborghini, and dirty little beggar child in Kolkata extends her hand to seek alms, the thief in Turkish bazaar swindles the buyer, in Washington DC Obama plans another strike on the Syrian rebels…it is all related to how the world evolves and becomes what it does. Each and every action undertaken by each and every person on the planet at each and every moment, is a decision point that affects the way the world will turn, is turning, evolving. If the beggar girl did not beg for alms that day it would affect her family, or the grocery shop that sells grocery to her family. If the rich man in lamborghini stayed home on that day, it would affect the gas his car consumes, or the quality of time between he and his loved one. If Obama fell sick and was not attend the meeting on that day – the world would be different. In all these cases the world would not be the same. So even the most mundane and seemingly harmless actions of ours affects the way the world turns out as a consequence of our day to day actions.
If the universe is so full of activity, how does it matter what I do? There are 6 billion people in the world, what does it matter if I am not perfect?
The seemingly calm, quiet and placid empty space that surrounds us and puts a sense of interpersonal distance between you and me, is actually like a frothy, violent river of tiny strings, elementary particles, atoms and molecules. The solid stuff that we see around us – like tables, chairs, walls – on the other hand, is mostly empty spaces being guarded by electromagnetic forces which prevent our hands from slicing thru the hard material. On a larger scale, the universe is speeding along, the planets are buzzing with activity, the sun is spewing fire – everything is changing every moment. If we could see and feel all this, we would not be able to handle the chaos, and would be dead in an instant. Mercifully, the human limits imposed on our bodies limit and protect us from the overwhelming universal chaos.Even if we are not aware of such activity, even if we are not paying any attention to it, we are part of that particular atomic, molecular, chemical activity. Ask any astrologer and he will tell you that our mere existence influences gravity, that affects the interplanetary relationships. Even the tiny elementary particles are doing their bit to help evolve the world. Each entity has a sphere of influence that can affect the state of the world. Each entity is contributing to the evolution of the universe according to its dharma, according to its nature, the way it is supposed to.
Another way of looking at it is to imagine the universe like an onion (thank you Shrek!). Each successive layer of the onion is exactly the same as the one above, except smaller. Outer layers were inner layers before they became stronger and more pronounced, and characteristic of onion. The outer layers build, protect and shield on inner layers while growing as a whole, and as a species. In a similar manner, the outer layers, which are synonyms for adults, society and culture, protect the newborns, who in turn grow up to be the characteristic of the species that we profess to be. So our contribution to the species is mirrored in the vegetable world, if only we take time to understand the workings of the universe. We protect and nourish our children, and who we are, and what we do, and how we wish to be perceived, we propagate thru our progeny, and those thoughts, actions, deeds characterise and defines us. If we stand firm on our virtues and values, we radiate such behavior outwards. If we ourselves fall short on virtus like honesty and integrity, then that is the kind of society – inner layers – we promote. Our society gets characterised and defined by that lack. Either way, we have contributed in the evolutionary forces.
Yet another way to look at it to study our environment of signs of how the universe works. Just like with onions, the universe reproduces and mirrors its mechanism and functionality in the functioning of our own human world. As above, so below. Take for example a production line in a factory which has several thousand workers doing their bit, to produce a piece of a giant machinery like a nuclear reactor. Or even an ordinary truck. Let us say there is an employee who puts in place a tiny screw on the finished product. In a machine that has millions of screws, and complicated pieces of machinery spread over miles and miles of production line, that one last tiny screw doesn’t seem much important – does it? Lets just say the employee screws it, but does not tighten the screw. But if even that one seemingly unimportant worker on an industrial assembly line who bolts a tiny screw fails to tighten it, the screw will fall off sooner or later. Therefore the product is not going to be as it was designed to be, or as it was meant to be. In some way or the other, it is going to fail – in quality functionality, guarantee – depending upon how critical the tightening of that screw was. Thus the failure of the worker to tighten the screw he had been responsible for, affects the quality of the product. The product will definitely, in some form or other, not be as complete and perfect as it was designed to be, as the manufacturers claimed it would be. If the quality is affected, then the brand image will be affected. It also affects the health and safety of the consumers that use the good being put forth by the company. So if it is a nuclear reactor, or a space probe, or a medical equipment – one can immediately hypothesize the consequences of the failure. But even if it is not of such importance, the quality and durability of the product is affected nevertheless. If the employee regularly fails to tighten the screw, the entire product line is tainted. If the item is being exported, the failure to tighten the screw may affect the company and national image. So on and so forth. Indeed, a minor lapse may create a national disaster, or a nuclear war. If a whole section of the production line is lax, the failure is magnified and the fault more severe, affecting a larger population, and the consequences much more severe for product, company, society which lives on the employment thru the company (remember Flint and Detroit?) and the nation.
Thus, every individual is responsible and accountable. He or she is. I AM. In some shape or form, I am absolutely responsible and accountable for the status of the world today. And only thru changing myself, my thoughts, actions and deeds can I become entitled to dreaming about a better world. As long as my actions are incongruent with the dreams that I have of a better, more honest, ethical, just and equal world, the changes that I desire remain absolutely unattainable. Even if the whole world changed for the better, I would still need to clean up my act. Why be the last one?
These examples are relevant and connected. The phrase “be the change…” goads you to experience the change within, and then work towards it. The ability to experience is an evolutionary phenomenon, it is a manifestation of psychic growth. It also requires courage to be. To be different than the masses. To be unique. To be alone. To be a creative thinker, with the abilities to think outside the box, outside of conventional thinking imposed upon us by the system, and as a consequence of that thinking, to be able to follow thru with acting on that creative thought.
Psychologist Kohut maintains that growing up is a consequence of the movement of the psyche from selfobject relating to object relations. In the selfobject relating mode, we believe that we are the centre of the universe, and the universe exists to take care of our needs. We believe that the universe is an extension of ourselves, and hence, like our own body, we can use it in whatever way we like. He claims that selfobject thinking is a child’s way of thinking – every child treats its environment and its mother like a selfobject – an extension of its own body. A child does not understand that the mother is separate from it, or that the mother may have limited resources to take care of him/her, or may have other important things to attend to. Selfobject relating creates a sense of entitlement, a narcissistic incessant demand on the other, a taking without any realisation or obligation of giving back. Thru the sufferings and trauma imposed by repeated failure of the mother to be perfect, a realisation of being “alone” and “an individual” arises, and leads to a realisation of the “otherness” of the mother. The failure of mother to be perfect causes trauma, but is also growth enhancing as it leads to an maturing of mutually fulfilling relationships. However, such evolution is optional, it is does not happen as a lifestage, but is a consequence of the experiences that are imposed upon the child. In cultures where the woman is subjugated and subservient to, the man does not go thru experience of loss, remaining cathected to the mother, and treating her as a selfobject without any regard to her own independent existence. Evolution to object relations is an outcome of recognizing the existential alone-ness of the self, letting go of the mother, and treating her with equality and otherness – (see my blog Othering of the Mother). This relationship of equality earned with the mother is then projected on others as in the environment, and community, which then are treated with mutual respect and concern. In object relations way of relating, we become conscious of, and acknowledge the other as separate from ourselves, and are willing to concede that the other’s need may be different, even in contradiction to ours, that they are entitled to acting to enhance their wellbeing, and that we are obligated to assist them in their welfare. When under the influence of mature object relationships, we engage in mutually fulfilling relationships.
For eons, humans existed in a symbiotic relationship with the universe. We unrepentantly pillaged the earth, without any awareness of the separateness of earth, or the limit of its resourcefulness, or the effect of our relentless scavenging. As ancient religions, cultures, and civilizations evolved and acquired maturity, we see a subtle shift in their acknowledgement of the otherness of the earth, of people, of the environment. Product of millions of years of human evolution, these religions, cultures and civilizations did not seek to impose their own way of life on nature. Instead, they acknowledged the differences and mutual interests of each entity. Operating from relational principles, the ancients honored and preserved the otherness of the other – be those others animate or inanimate objects. We see emphasis on interaction and engagement with environment, nature, and objects in all ancient (pagan) cultures, religions and civilizations.
The ancient cultures, civilizations and religions were overpowered within this millennium by newer cultures and religions that lacked such depth, wisdom, and maturity needed to grow in an interdependent manner. With childlike narcissism, the actions of the new religious minded revolved around their own needs, and the needs of their own congregation. The essence of relationship with the mother has a more broader implication – a societal implication – than is actually acknowledged by any of these newer religions. In all these cultures, one sees that the the symbolic separation from the mother is never completed. The otherness of the (m)other is never established. In their way of thinking (M)other is forever enslaved into subjugation, as an essential part of their own bodies, to be treated as they would treat their own bodies, to be controlled as they would control their own bodies. These unresolved and exploitative relationships with their own mother were then projected onto the environment.
The pagan culture of the American Native Indians, Aborigines of Australia, The Maori of New Zealand, the Yezdi of Middle East, the Zoroastrians of Persia, the Hindus of India and most vanquished indigenous people of all lands, engaged with nature in a mutually respectful manner. However, with the exception of Hinduism, all these cultures have practically been wiped out.We now live and breathe in an environment that is based on selfobject relating. Fundamentalist faction of society from Middle East battle with the doctrines of materialistic greed flaunted by the West for world dominance – the environmentally beneficent cultures and religions are not even in the race. The idea of either side winning this war is a frightening thought. Both sides spell disaster for the world and environment – what kind of disaster it should be, is the only variable disputed by the warring factions.
We today stand at the historical crossroads that will shape our future generations. The violent, corrupted and contaminated world which we live in, scares most of us who have the ability to dream of a better world. A large majority today believe that lack of honesty, and integrity is a new threshold of human character. Deceit in relationships is a norm rather than an exception. In such a world, it becomes easy to forget who we are, what we ought to strive for. We experience helplessness associated with being a miniscule part of the world, and doubt our own potential, and ability to make any difference. So why bother with values when we do not have a say in the evolution of the world. We do not believe that we matter. We do not believe that we can be the change that we dream about. But these flawed beliefs are a consequence of only a sense of overwhelm we feel upon being confronted with the massiveness of humanity. Since when have sheer numbers discounted individual human potential? Majority of humanity does not utilize even 10% of their potential. Look at it this way – if Bill Gates and all the others did not, and do not feel overwhelmed by the sheer numbers, then change by individual action must be possible. Would you feel so powerless in your own home? In your neighborhood? In your community? You did not feel powerless when you had to provide for your wife and kids. Why would you feel powerless to be the change that has a potential of affecting your loved ones, and the world that they will inherit from yhttps://www.facebook.com/ou ? Is dishonesty, corruption, apathy a legacy that you would leave behind for your children?
You are not powerless in affecting change. You may be apathetic, but not powerless. Passion is the first step to change. Passion is invincible. If you think you are powerless, it is only because you lack passion for change, you lack belief in your own abilities, and the courage to venture out of comfort zone – and as a consequence, you place self imposed limits on your existence and your potential. You lack the courage of being who you truly are – the divine child of immortality with powers to match.
My last post was about the divinity within, taken from a religious Indian online newsletter. I found it to be a potent message. We are divinity itself. We are the offsprings of immortality. We are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself. We come thru humans, our parent, but we come not from them. We are within the world, yet we do not belong to the world – we are more than mere human bodies. We are children of immortality. We are unending. We are timeless. We are born, we craft a world by and thru our actions, we die but the world that is created and affected by us, lives on. And it is for us to decide what kind of world we want to leave behind for our children. Should it be a safe and secure world, or should we leave behind a world full of apathy, corruption, evil and ill will? Would you willingly send your child to a school that was unsafe, apathetic, even evil and dangerous? Would you willingly live in a neighborhood which was dangerous? Would you willingly do anything to endanger the life of your child and/or harm them? Would you be apathetic about leaving behind an ancestral home for your child that was unsafe and dangerous to live in ? If the answer to any of these questions is no, then why would you want to contribute towards creating a world that would be harmful to your children?
Living in this world, and constantly being exposed to its failures, we fall into disrepute with our psyche. We start off with proper ideals, but as we grow, we conform, we lie, we cheat, we steal, we lose our integrity, our passion, our dreams. Happens even to the best among us. But it is our ethical obligation to pick ourselves back up, and put ourselves back onto the track. A track that will leave the world at least as beautiful as we found it when we inherited it from our parents. A track that will leave footprints that our children would be proud to follow. We are constantly leaving footprints. If we are not careful, we leave the wrong kind of footprints/examples for our children to follow. And follow they do, which is why our careless treads have led the world to a precipice. This is the world our children have inherited from us. And we owe it to them to clean it up. Therefore, what we do, and how we do it, and what we are and how we are seen by our children, is important. We have to be what we want them to be. We have to be the change that we want the world to be. There is no other way.
Our actions have consequences. The consequences are manifest in the world itself, and they do not end when we die. Since a part of us lives on in our progeny and in the legacies of art and narrative, and even in the memories we leave behind, therefore it is only our ignorance that makes us believe that we die when the breath ceases. John Locke, and Gandhi died decades ago, Jesus died over 2000 years ago – but are they really dead? Each and every action of ours had a consequence that affect us and our progeny into perpetuity, into infinity, even after we do not exist as mortals. And so, thru our actions, we affect the future. We cannot escape the consequences of our actions – even in death. This is the law of Karma.We are reborn and we continue to craft the world thru our actions and deeds. We are the creators, we are the created, we are the creation. That is our dharma, the nature of our existence. And in that ceaseless, timeless existence, we affect our children, and indeed the world thru our actions. We affect evolution. Our actions cause and contribute to success as well as the downfall of civilizations.
Some of these above are the paraphrased words of Vivekananda, and Khalil Gibran. Gibran further states “The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might, that His arrows may go swift and far.” Thus we are the archers, we are the bows, and we are the arrows that the archer sets forth, and we – as human – are also the targets that the arrow is intended for. Gibran ends with “Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness; For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.” So let our actions, our personalities, and our behaviors create an environment that is commendable. It behooves us to remain stable, to remain rooted in our integrity, in our honesty, in our compassion, in our care and concern for our environment, in object relational way of interaction. It behoves us to be passionate about our dreams. It behooves us to put forth actions and deeds anchored by our dreams, so that those actions and deeds, powered by the strength of our passion – like arrows – will go far, and make a mark. It also becomes our ethical and moral responsibility to lead our sons, daughters and youth by example. They will, or can only follow our own models to fuel their inspiration, and they in turn will birth sons and daughters with the same passionate dreams and inspirational values to further spread honesty, integrity, compassion, and concern for others and the environment. The world needs role models. Who can be a better role model than you? There is no limit to what can be achieved. One only needs passion, and the ability to dream.
The change that we want in the world starts from the grassroots. It starts from a thought, an act, a deed, and yes, a person. And if each person forgets about changing the rest of the world, and only focuses on changing himself or herself, and becomes that change, and creates a micro environment around him – in and thru his own family influences – which manifests that desired change, the world will change. One person, one family, one neighborhood at a time. Without that first thought, first deed, first action, first person, no change is possible.
So find out what you are passionate about. And use that passion as a fuel to create a better version of yourself. And see “betterment” radiate outward in the world. You do have the ability and the power. Yes, you do.
A pastor once asked me how how much money I donated every month in charitable contribution to make the world a better place. I told him that my contribution to the world is much much more than mere financial. I was created to have integrity, I am honest, and I have a passion for justice and equality. I have lived by those ideals all my life. I have been the creation. I have created two beautiful and perfect specimens of human species, who don’t lie, cheat, fight, who are honest, ethical and hardworking citizens of the world, with a remarkable passion for justice, fairness, equality and environment. Such a contribution to creation dwarfs any financial contribution I may have ever made.
I believed in being the change, and in and thru years of being that change, I influenced my young ones, and the change that I had become, has grown and multiplied over the years. The change will continue growing thru them, and thru their children – it influences the world in many different ways and contributes to the destiny that lies ahead. I made a difference. So can you.
So, come and join me. Embrace Gandhi’s words, become passionate about them, act on them. Begin NOW, in this moment.