"Truth is one, paths are many." Some religions feel that it's their duty to try and convert, that theirs is the only true path. For someone starting on the path they need to discard the beliefs that aren't in accord with Hindu Advaita thinking. Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam: The whole world is family. We want to realize fully that the Divine is in us. It's how man utilizes free will that gets him into trouble and creates conflicts. Taking full responsibility for karmic reaction to what's been done in the past leads to wise action.
Master Course, Dancing with Siva, Merging with Siva, Lesson 322.
This is from some recent daily lessons.
"Religious beliefs are manifold and different. Saivites, understanding this strength of this diversity wholeheartedly respect and encourage all who believe in God. They honor the fact that Truth is one, paths are many.
"Since the [inner] intent of all religions is to bind man back to God, Saivite Hindus seek not to interfere with anyone's faith or practice. We believe that there is no exclusive path, no one way for all. Saivites profoundly know that God Siva is the same Supreme Being in whom peoples of all faiths find solace, peace and liberation. Nonetheless, we realize that all religions are not the same. Each has its unique beliefs, practices, goals and paths of attainment, and the doctrines of one often conflict with those of another. Even this should never be cause for religious tensions or intolerance. Saivites respect all religious traditions and the people within them. They know that good citizens and stable societies are created from groups of religious people. Saivite leaders support and participate in ecumenical gatherings with all religions. Still, Saivites defend their faith, proceed contentedly with their practices and avoid the enchantment of other ways, be they ancient or modern."
I think, the basic point here, it's a good one to start off with, is that we realize that all religions are not the same. So, there are some Hindus out there who don't realize that. It's a common Hindu belief that all religions are the same. Which means they haven't studied the other religions at all carefully because if you study them, you become aware of all the differences very quickly.
In Texas it's easy, having just come back from Texas. It's common for even children to be approached by other children who are Christian and told, you know, because they don't believe a certain way they're going to go to Hell. And parents come to me and complain about that. And, but that's Texas. Some religions feel that it's their duty to try and convert. Because, they think theirs is the only true path and those who aren't following it are destined to not end up in a very good place.
So Hindus don't believe that of course. And, Gurudeva always encouraged Hindus to have a good response in mind. If you are approached by those of other faiths... I remember one of his examples was: If they knock on the door and talk about the Bible pull out the Vedas and show them our bible. You know, this is the Hindu bible; it's called the Vedas, a lot older than yours. More profound too. Whatever you want to say. But to have a ready answer is the point. And even for children. Children are being approached. There's one father got very upset when his child was approached. I think the child was around ten and I explained that the problem was that the child didn't have an answer. So children, if they are being approached need an answer appropriate to their age. If they're 10 years old the answer needs to be very simple. If they're 15 years old it can be more complex. If they're 20 years old it can be very complex. But children need an answer. Parents need to provide it when they're 10 years old and maybe even when they're 15. But certainly not when they're 20. If you have a good answer, then it's not a problem cause you're expecting it. Particularly you're in Texas. Expect to be approached.
The phrase that I encourage to replace the phrase that some Hindus use, that all religions are the same is that all religions are good. That's the first part here. All religions are good. Why are all religions good? Well, if they're practiced in a non-violent way they create stability. That's the phrase Gurudeva uses. Stability. See if we can find that here.
" They know that good citizens and stable societies are created from groups of religious people. "
There it is. Stable societies. So religion helps stabilize society when it's practiced in a non-violent way. And that's what we need.
I remember in Mauritius this very interesting story because Mauritius has had some periods of aggressive Christian conversion. And this is the story where one member of the family was converted to Christianity and she was told, as is common in fundamentalist Christian sects, that her family members being Hindu were worshiping the Devil. And so she took the whole alter and put it out on the street. You can imagine that created a little upset in the family there. So, it's creating instability. When you convert one member of a family to a religion you're creating instability. So you can just see it in that one home the the new tensions. You know, I'm sure they had old tensions. But the new tensions that were added by splitting the family in a religious way. So you don't want to split families unnecessarily. It creates instability.
Moving on: Merging with Siva.
"In order to really meditate to the depth of contemplation, and not merely to quiet mind and emotion and feel a little serenity, you have to be a member of a religion that gives the hope of non-dual union with God, that teaches that God is within man, only to be realized. Meditation, if it is to lead to jnana, must begin with a belief that there is no intrinsic evil and encompass the truth of karma, that we are responsible for our own actions. Such meditation must be undertaken by a member of a religion that gives a hope of a future life and does not threaten failure with eternal suffering, should failure be the result. Such meditation is possible, in fact required, of those who follow the Hindu Dharma. Hence, the practice of yoga is the highest pinnacle within our most ancient faith."
Now that's a typical Gurudeva couple of sentences. This huge amount of ideas packed into there. Pointing out, first of all, that we need to be aware of what our beliefs are. Of course, for all of us who have been studying Gurudeva's teachings for years and years that's not a, not an issue. But, for someone new taking up Gurudeva's teachings it could be. And we pick up beliefs in all kinds of ways. Of course, from our parents what they do and what they say. From strong minded people we've know, from ministers and all, we can have beliefs that we're not even aware of. So we want, if that's the case; if someone's starting on the path they need to discard the beliefs that aren't in accord with Hindu Advaita thinking.
The interfaith gathering in Midland is such a juxtaposition of beliefs, it's, it really stands out. It stood so much one year that I stuck it in my keynote. Quoted the Baptist minister, remember, the question was: Does your faith see the whole world as one family? So, I think I was right before he was. And I said, yes: Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam - We believe the whole world is family, all are divine beings. God is within everyone. There is no intrinsic evil, you know the whole idea.
And then he answered next. And he said: Well we too believe that the all of humanity is a one family. But in a different way. We believe they're all a fallen race. You know, all a fallen race. That we're all sinners and selfish and just hopeless, unless of course, we get redeemed or rescued by you know who. So, that really stood out, boy. Definitely all religions are not the same when you hear that.
Some of that thinking may be in someone who's taking up Hindu thought in a serious way for the first time so needs to get rid of it. That's why Gurudeva had people write up point-counterpoints as to their religious beliefs and make sure there weren't any remnants of that kind of thinking. You know, I'm a sinner. I'm imperfect on the inside. Etcetera. You know we don't want any of that thinking. And of course, we don't want any of the thinking about our outer nature that I'm a flawed person or other people are better than I am. Because, if we don't have what's called a positive self-concept about our outer self, we'll never be able to really believe that the Divine is within us. It just doesn't work. You know, we're seeing ourselves as outwardly flawed. So we don't want to have that. We want to realize the Divine is in us fully and that's the only way we'll eventually experience it.
Another point here I'm trying to find. Okay.
"Encompass the truth of karma that we are responsible for our own actions."
Think on the trip and on coming back here, I ran into interesting belief that is not in accord with this. The belief was: God isn't supposed to let us suffer or God isn't supposed to let anyone suffer. In that if suffering takes place God's not doing His job. Therefore, I don't believe in God. Something like that was the belief which may sound superficial but when there is tragedy in one's family life or community, you know, we can take up that belief. Because we're so sad; we're so discouraged, depressed by what happened. So, we're, God isn't suppose to let that happen.
Well, of course, Hindu scripture doesn't say that. Hindu scripture says, as Gurudeva says here: We are responsible for our own actions. Or, we are responsible for what happens to us. So, the way I answered that was; God has given man free will. And it's how man utilizes the free will that gets him into trouble and creates the conflicts. It's not God who's creating the conflicts or is supposed to solve the conflicts. It's man who is creating the conflicts. Different ethnicities, different religions, different countries, not getting along. Nothing to do with God. It all has to do with man.
So when we realize that, that God has given free will. And it's the use of that free will that makes things a mess or makes things go smoothly, then we get rid of this concept that God somehow is involved in this process and is supposed to do something to fix it. Cause Hindu scripture doesn't say that.
Anyway it's very interesting and as we know it's human nature that when things are going well, we're happy to take credit. But, when things are going poorly we want to blame it on someone else. But the credit is ours just as well. No matter if it's going positively or negatively, successfully or failing; it's all our own creation. And just have to be sure when times are difficult to accept that. And of course to try and make the best of any situation. We're not trying to be fatalistic but we're just trying to not get stuck in this state of mind it's blaming God for what's going on. Rather than realizing it's mankind's creation or if it's our own personal life, it's our creation. We created this. "When the mind has resolved all of its differences through worship, penance, dharana, dhyana, then the inner which is stillness itself is known. Then the inner is stronger than the outer. It is then easy to see every other person going through what has to be gone through during his or her particular stage on the path. Opposites are there, but no opposites are seen. This is why it is easy for the wise--made wise through spiritual unfoldment--to say, 'There is no injustice in the world. There is no evil, no sin.'
"We only see opposites when our vision is limited, when we have not experienced totally. There is a point of view which resolves all contradictions and answers all questions. Yet to be experienced is yet to be understood. Once experienced and understood, the Quiet comes. The karmas are quiet. This is the arduous path of charya, kriya and yoga resulting in jnana. This is the path of not only endeavoring to unfold the higher nature but, at the same time and toward the same end, dealing positively and consciously with the remnants of the lower nature. Following this spiritual path, we find ourselves effortlessly replacing charity for greed and dealing with, rather than merely suppressing, the instinctive feelings of jealousy, hatred, desire and anger."
So, that kind of develops what I was saying in a nice way. "The karmas are quiet." Meaning we're at the point in resolving our karmas that what comes back to us isn't that disruptive. That's what the karmas are quiet means. The karmas are noisy then our life is constantly disturbed by events and then in that midst, it's easy to want to blame someone. Blame someone else, blame God, whatever. But, when our karmas are quiet that's the ideal. And we all want to work through the karmas that come. The statement's in there; I won't try and find it.
The key perspective is: Everything that's happening should be happening. That's the point. And that's what I run into when I talk to Hindus outside of our own group. Quite often some of them don't feel that way. They don't feel some things that are happening in the world or happening in their personal life should be happening. This shouldn't be happening as I gave in that example. But it's happening because of what has been done in the past. It's just the reaction, karmic reaction to what's been done in the past by groups and by individuals. So, it's not ideal but it's where we are. And therefore, we need to accept it. And in accepting it, we take full responsibility and then that leads to wise action.
Have a great day.