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Spiritual Meditations

Though it was undoubtedly articulated countless years prior to Islam and Christianity the Golden rule was recorded in ancient China, among the teachings of Confucius, who taught; Do not inflict on others what you do not desire others to impose upon you, and what you would require of your friend, first apply in your treatment of him. All of these formulations predate Prophet Muhammad and Jesus Christ....

The War to End War 100 Years on: An Evaluation and Reorientation of our Resistance to War
Robert J. Burrowes, New Age Islam
The War to End War 100 Years on: An Evaluation and Reorientation of our Resistance to War
Robert J. Burrowes, New Age Islam

As we commemorate the passing of the 100th anniversary of the armistice ending ‘the war to end war’, one can only marvel at how wrong humans can be sometimes. Not content with the violence inflicted during World War I, humans used the twentieth century to systematically decimate human and other life as violence and war raged across the planet with an increasingly massive and sophisticated armory. In fact, by mid-century, in a tribute to their technological ingenuity and psychological dysfunctionality, humans had invented a weapon that could destroy life on Earth….

 

Religion has not only been an indispensable part of human existence, but it is an also ineffaceable part of our lives. Indian society is predominantly religious and as a result, we are not at ease with the idea of secularism and religion continues to play a dominant role in political discourse.

 

The essence of Vedanta is described in four words: ‘Brahma Satya, Jagat Mithya’ – the only reality is pure consciousness and all that is manifest in the form of the universe is only Maya, illusion. For an ordinary person, this thought is not only counterintuitive but also unacceptable.

 

Against this is the consensus of believers and saints and scriptures that one may state in Biblical terms as “Knock and the door shall be opened.” Fazl Illahi deftly presents this through a complex tale involving characters seeking to decipher mysterious signs or events in their lives. For the novelist there is a boat that may ferry us to home/"Mother"/God....

 
The Only Person We Can Change
Roshan Shah, New Age Islam

“Please forgive me for my foolishness,” Romi would pray to God. “I used to ask you to transform the whole world, and then to transform my family. But never once did I ask you to transform the one person I should have—me. But that’s what I request you to please do now, God, before it’s too late.”...

 

Acquiring knowledge is one of the needs of those who desire salvation and a life of worship and devotion. Knowledge and worship are precious gems which enlighten mankind. It is these reasons for which the Holy Scriptures were sent down and for which Almighty God sent down His Prophets [Ambiya, pl. of Nabi] and Messengers [Rasul] to all communities. In fact it is these reasons for which God Almighty ordered creation of All That Is, the Universe....

Gandhi’s Despair and the Struggle for Truth and Love
Robert J. Burrowes, New Age Islam
Gandhi’s Despair and the Struggle for Truth and Love
Robert J. Burrowes, New Age Islam

‘When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it – always.’ M.K. Gandhi

As we remember Gandhi Jayanti on 2 October, the Mahatma’s 149th birthday and the International Day of Nonviolence, there is plenty of room for despair...

The world of Islam is in a state of upheaval because of a “surplus phenomenology of identity” or “hyper-Asabiya”, which makes it fight internecine wars. This crisis has grown out of an inability to reinterpret a creed predicated on violence. Gandhi’s non-violence appealed to many great leaders in the West after the two World Wars. India can never claim that he was a leader only of India....

Then Satan crept in and I would find myself in those environments, randomly. My spirit felt stronger when I removed myself from situations I felt were no longer appealing to the way I wished to conduct my life. The temptation was strong and the whispers of Satan, even stronger....

 

We cannot define God because God is infinite and definitions are finite. And so, proof of God for a believer or a non-believer becomes a function, not of evidence but of an emotional response. And when our emotional range shrinks, for reasons we cannot control, we often start to lose faith. No one is immune to this phenomenon. No one is immune to this phenomenon. If spiritual giants can lose faith in spite of all their efforts, so can we. In fact, loss of faith is often an inevitable part of any thinking individual’s spiritual journey.....

How is that so? Just as our body requires physical exercise to keep it healthy, so also does happiness depend upon one’s state of mind, which can be termed as ‘intellectual exercise’. Those who spend their time in some form of intellectual exercise will be happy. This is testified to by the rarity of unhappiness among members of the scientific community. This is because science involves constant intellectual pursuit. Every scientist, with a great sense of commitment, is continuously preoccupied with some form of intellectual endeavour....

 

So if you practise mindful breathing and maintain that kind of mindful awareness, you are protected by your compassion and what he says will not touch off anger or irritation in you anymore. That is why it is called the practice of compassionate listening. You are able to tell yourself: Later on, in three or four days, when the chance comes up, I will offer him some information so that he can correct his perceptions, but not now....

 

Man is both a material and a spiritual being. The solution does not lie in denying the material needs and desires but in denying their claim to primacy. They are part of being but not the reason or goal of being. As long as they are kept in place, they are an important part of our life. The problem is not money but the love of it. Wealth itself is not bad. In fact Quran refers to it as

 ‘ … your wealth, which Allah has made for you a means of support.’ [Al-Nisa, 4:5]. ....

 

Buddha’s Four Noble Truths, which are the basis of his teaching, display a rational analysis where there is a problem, (suffering in life); a cause for that suffering (passions, lust, cravings); and, based on the principle of cause and effect, a solution to the problem, the eightfold noble path. His method is sometimes compared with medical diagnosis and treatment. What, however, began as a philosophical-life discipline approach, common in ancient times, East or West, was transformed over time to a religion replete with myths, legends, a complex symbol system and monastic discipline....

 

If you think religion belongs to the past and we live in a new age of reason, you need to check out the facts: 84% of the world’s population identifies with a religious group. Members of this demographic are generally younger and produce more children than those who have no religious affiliation, so the world is getting more religious, not less...

 

Rigidness is a cultural defect endorsed by the erroneous views of many religious believers across the world. The clear danger is that it may cause people to accumulate false knowledge that better fits their rigid personalities — at the expense of truly understanding their religion. This proposition might unintentionally distance many people from their religion. In fact, rigidity is a trait that we should consider discarding completely. ...

 
A Mission of Divine Love
Swami Ramdas
A Mission of Divine Love
Swami Ramdas

May God’s will fulfil itself through the great souls who are trying in different parts of the world to stem the tide of a devastating war! May they, by their penance and sacrifice, release the Divine power for bringing a reign of peace and goodwill on earth! By the Supreme Master’s grace, may the attempts of all these illumined souls, from whose hearts ever rise waves of compassion for suffering humanity, be completely crowned with success!...

 

If one follows the principle of the K l ma Sutta, one will have independent knowledge and reason with which to understand the meaning and truth of ideas and propositions heard for the first time. For example, when one hears that greed, hatred, and delusion are dangerous and evil, one understands thoroughly and instantly, because one already knows through personal experience what these things are like. One believes in oneself rather than in the speaker....

 

It is demeaning for women to beg to be accommodated in a priest-controlled, man-centred, religious establishment. Christian women, likewise, must exercise their right to un-mediated access to God. God has nothing to do with these man-manufactured canards meant to swell the hypermarkets of religion. To wish to be accommodated somewhere on its margins is an insult to oneself....

Road to Happiness and Harmony
Swami Ramdas
Road to Happiness and Harmony
Swami Ramdas

Mere accumulation of wealth and worldly possessions does not lead to happiness. Those who give whatever they have to those who are in want and distress find real happiness by so doing. Others get attached to wealth and possessions. By forgetting God and clinging to their possessions they become unhappy themselves and make others also unhappy. But those who live in God are themselves happy and make others also happy.....

 

Nevertheless, in Mogadishu, the reality of war is never so far away that those attending the book fair can forget it altogether. At eye-level, far below the range of drone photography, the trees are hidden from the street by thick concrete blast walls. Cars weave through security barriers along pavements patrolled by men in uniform brandishing automatic rifles. ...

 

On the one hand is the temptation to compromise on the issue of right and wrong to avoid hurt feelings. On the other is the temptation to correct the wrong with total disregard to the fact that one might be insulting or injuring the other person. While we may see these extreme attitudes in people who seem to be poles apart in terms of their practice of religion, both stem from the same narrow vision of religion that holds our dealings with others as worldly affairs, outside the realm of Islam!...

 

Preachers should understand that those attending sermons come from all walks of life and from various professions. Friday congregations, when the majority of the people of this country have their ears tuned to the sermon from the pulpit should address such present-day issues. With such a captive audience, it would be a shame not to take full advantage of the situation. Let them be touched by the words reaching their ears....

 
Heaven upon Earth
Swami Ramdas
Heaven upon Earth
Swami Ramdas

Self-centredness, that is, too much concentration upon one’s own selfish aims and objects, is responsible for the chaotic condition that now prevails in the affairs of the world. When our hearts and minds, through constant prayer and remembrance of the Divine, are purged of these unnatural and suicidal tendencies, true happiness and peace, after which every man and woman on this earth is hankering and for which they are all striving day and night, will be realised by us....

 
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