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Spiritual Meditations

Our Vanishing World: Rainforests
Our Vanishing World: Rainforests
Robert J. Burrowes, New Age Islam

Rainforests are a crucial feature of Earth’s biosphere. Apart from being critical to Earth’s climate and vital carbon sinks, the major player in Earth’s hydrological (water) cycle, a massive producer of oxygen and home to most of the world’s species, rainforests are the home of a large indigenous human population.....

 

The wise person of the Gita, Sthitaprajna, is concerned with what is right action and how to exercise right judgement. In doing so, the sage becomes a jnana yogi...

 

Although education is escalating at much faster rate, but at the same time obscenity, pride, nakedness, corruption, anarchy, lobbyism, duality, pornography, atheism, and what not else, is spreading at an alarming rate....

 

She desires everyone in her town to die so that she and her lover (Mirza Yaar) could roam free in the deserted streets without any human or canine interference. The saint listens patiently and then comments on why she herself should not die instead. The story ends as the woman falls downs and dies, then and there....

Religion has been either displaced by secular modes of thinking or such forms of religiosity that are not averse to secular sensibility. Our children, generally speaking, go to secular schools where religion might find some space but in a manner that is, often, either irrelevant to overall curriculum or it is seen as alienating allografting exercise....

God is beyond Our Limited Understandings
Fr. Babu Thattil CMI, New Age Islam

Everyone needs something or the other to believe in—a deity, a power or maybe an ideology. Many of us believe in an All-Powerful Being called in English as ‘God’.

The fact, however, is that God, the Ultimate Power who created the universe and still continues to control and protect it, cannot be limited within the boundaries of any religion, ideology, sect or community. Being the Supreme Power, He is and must be beyond any such limits....

If we take the verses of the phrase ‘Kun Fayakoon’ at face value, it will give a wrong idea about the creation of the Universe and about the nature of God. God does what He wills but He does not do it out of His whims or for fun. If the phrase is taken at face value then it would mean that God’s creation is an illusion and does not have any principle or laws to govern it and there is not any fixed system for its governance….

 

Who wants constraints, including those urged by one’s own self, when it comes to exercise of one’s freedoms? Yet, if we search for the roots of the many problems in the world, we find them in our inability and unwillingness to live a life of ‘samyam’, a profound Sanskrit word for self-taught self-restraint...

 

The key issue is that for our strategy to mobilize people in this great struggle for survival to be effective, we must also be mobilizing parents, teachers, religious leaders and other adults to reconsider and profoundly revise their relationship with children. This is because every child who is not dysfunctionalised becomes a powerful agent for change....

 

The main area of Ram Mohan's interest was the Vedanta or the Upanishads. Through an in-depth study of the Vedanta, he realized that the central message of Vedanta or Upanishads was Monotheism or Unity of God: Ekamevadvitiyam (He is One without a second) which in Arabic can be translated as La ilaha illAllah. The Upanishads or the Vedas do not preach or promote idol worship. But he observed that the Hindu community had become idolatrous and instead of professing monotheism they professed polytheism. They had also invented many rites and customs which were not mentioned in the Vedas or Upanishads....

While all Muslims believe that they are on the pathway to God and hope to become close to God in Paradise after the “Final Judgment” – Sufis believe that it is possible to draw closer to God in this life itself. They aim to please God by working to restore within themselves the primordial state of Fitra...

 

The alternative to monotheism is polytheism. The Greek version of polytheism had no holy books, priesthood, and desires for crusades. I returned to Greek polytheism because of what the Christians did to my ancestors...

Baul music may be an unfamiliar genre for anyone who has never resided in West Bengal or Bangladesh, but this UNESCO World Heritage-listed musical style has influenced the culture of the area...

 

Parvathy has found the true meaning of her music and life as a Baul bard under her guru, Muslim fakir Qalandar Abdul Salam, in Kerala capital Thiruvananthapuram. “Abdul Salam has taught me the spiritual meaning of Baul music while my mentor in Bengal, Sanatan Das Baul of Bankura, showed me the way to sing early in life,” Parvathy told IANS after a performance in the capital....

 

The key challenge and the question life asks from all of us – that religion, philosophy and art treat in their own, arguably complementary ways – is how to live well. Religions are doctrinal support systems for patterning life into an art of rituals...

 

One view that is current today is that religion is not required. However, if used with a sense of balance and proportion, religion could be beneficial in many ways for everyone, including agnostics and atheists....

While the expression ‘mental disintegration’ has been used in a number of contexts previously, for the purpose of my discussion in this article I am going to redefine it, explain how it originates, describe several ways in which it manifests behaviourally and the profoundly dysfunctional outcomes this generates, and suggest what we can do about it....

 

He saw only two kinds of people: Gurmukh, the God-oriented and Manmukh, those who are self-oriented. A Gurmukh devotes himself to God. He practises truth and works for the welfare of humankind. Whereas a Manmukh follows his own thinking and practises falsehood and selfishness....

Tackling the ‘Impossible’: Ending Violence
Tackling the ‘Impossible’: Ending Violence
Robert J. Burrowes, New Age Islam

Whenever, in ordinary circumstances, the subject of violence comes up, most people throw up their hands in horror and comment along the lines that it is ‘in our genes’, ‘nothing can be done about it’ or other words that reflect the powerlessness that most people feel around violence....

 

The world stood stunned watching the engulfing fire in the 850-year-old Notre Dame de Paris. Having prayed at that cathedral twice, a couple of tears spontaneously dropped from my eyes. To make things worse, it happened during the most Holy Week for Christians when the Christian world observes the last tragic days of Jesus’ human existence...

 

Easter: first, what it is not.  It’s not a religious event. If anything, it cautions us against religion. The spotlight of Easter is on the human condition. Death and its aftermaths are not parochial issues. They are impenetrable mysteries....

 

In the absence of such pressure, a person will lose his utility and his viability in social life. He will suffer from Ahankar, excessive pride. And without doubt, there is nothing more destructive than excessive pride in this world....

If anyone thinks that the church can be reformed and its evils eradicated, or priests and bishops made less corrupt and more humane, they are chasing a wild goose. It is utterly futile to unseat a bishop or a hundred bishops. One bishop will be followed by another, worse than his predecessor....

 

Jesus exhorts his disciples not to come to prayer when there is an issue raging inside their mind relating to worldly affairs. He says to first go sort that matter out, and only then, when calm, to come to prayer. That is, not to pray in Dukh, but rather in Sukh, so the exercise can be fruitful....

 
The Creative Entity
The Creative Entity
Asif Merchant, New Age Islam

Since we are gifted with consciousness, it should be natural for us to want to know more about this fascinating thing called life, and the wonderful Universe we find ourselves in. Instead of worrying about Heaven and Hell, we should try to discover more about ‘The Creative Entity’ and ‘The Grand Design’....

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