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Spiritual Meditations

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’....

There is nothing wrong or inherently destructive about having ideas that differ from those of others. On the contrary, disagreement is necessary in a pluralistic society to find the best solutions to problems. The ability to disagree freely is one of the great blessings of modern democracy...

In any case, we decided this was a good test of god’s existence. We would see whether or not he punished us for this sin. We walked over to the Coffee House and, soon, as expected, our classmate came in, looking tense. He sat alone in a far corner, an eye on the main entrance....

 
Saving the Future
Saving the Future
John Scales Avery, New Age Islam

“Today we are heading for unprecedented dangers and conflicts, up to and including the end of a habitable planet in the foreseeable future, depriving all future generations of their right to life and the lives of preceding generations of meaning and purpose....

 

I’ve been searching for practical tips on how we can be less beastly to one another, especially when we’re negotiating disagreements. I’ve found some excellent guides...

 

For Gandhi, conflict was a perennial condition. He also viewed it positively and considered it desirable. For him, it is an important means to greater human unity precisely because their shared conflict could remind antagonists of the deeper, perhaps transcendental, unity of life, which is far more profound than the bond of their social relationship. He viewed violence differently…

 
Telling a Dying Man about God
Roshan, New Age Islam

No one in Mr. Wira’s family will do this—they’ve so forgotten God that even in the hospital, where he’s dying, none them has even mentioned the word ‘God’ to him, not even once!” There was nothing more important that anyone could do for Mr. Wira at this time than to tell him to focus his mind on God ...

 

In Islam we speak of the 99 Names of Allah. The very last Name in the traditional lists is as-Sabur, “the Patient”, and this seems significant. Perhaps it is in recognition that patience is the most difficult Divine Quality to fully embrace and emulate...

However, despite the obvious fact that it is human beings who are inflicting all of this violence, it is virtually impossible to get people to pay attention to this simple and incontrovertible fact and to ask why, precisely, are human beings behaving in such violent and destructive ways? And can we effectively address this cause?...

 

In this world, the non-confrontational approach is the only right approach. Non- confrontation does not mean cowardice or accepting defeat. It is in actual fact, the same strategy which is known as ‘buying time’. ...

 

Have we succeeded or failed in our lives? This question remains despite our successful careers or positions or percentage of marks obtained. ...

Reflections on 2018, Forecasting 2019
Reflections on 2018, Forecasting 2019
Robert J. Burrowes, New Age Islam

In many ways it is painful to reflect on the year 2018; a year of vital opportunitiess lost when so much is at stake, whether politically, militarily, socially, economically, financially or ecologically, humanity took some giant strides backwards while passing up endless opportunities to make a positive difference in our world....

 

Modern Christmas, with its emancipatory and egalitarian spirit, is a literary invention, dreamed up by ....

 
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