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Archive for September 13th, 2010

From: George Kourakos
Subject: Stand of Ananda Marga on Burning…
Date: Sun 12 Sep 2010 16:34:02 -0000

Baba

“Sukhe ele na’ko, shoke sa’ntvana’ dite ele…” (PS 3091)

Purport:

Baba, when I was feeling happy and content that time You did not come.
Those days I was so enamoured with myself and I was so involved in my
own glory that I did not even think to call You. So You did not come.
But when I lost all that happiness and when I become drowned in my
sorrows of self pity and when I was suffering and overwhelmed by various
problems, then by Your grace You immediately came and consoled me. Baba
in that desperate moment You graciously relieved me of my grief. Baba, I
did not ever feel that You are mine. In this life I was always suffering
from the vanity and ego of my own I-feeling. Those days I was thinking
that ‘I am everything’. Due to my ego I did not accept You as the
Supreme One– as my Goal. I did not take You as that most loving One who
can solve all my problems; I did not surrender at Your feet. Baba, even
then by Your grace You took Your holy advent deep inside my heart and
became mine. And now I understand that You are ever helpful and that You
remain with me always.

Baba, those days when I was overwhelmed by that severe suffering, I did
not outrightly tell You about my problems. I did not openly say
anything. I did not express my pain to You. But because You are
ever-present in my heart and because You are my eternal shelter, with
Your infinite compassion You fully understood the desperate state of my
mind– You understood my sorrow. And by Your grace You instantly poured
Your eternal sweetness and love. By Your grace You filled my whole
existence with Your divine bliss. Baba, due to my ego and vanity I could
not recognise You. You were showering huge grace on me but I could not
recognise that. I thought that due to my own qualities everything was
happening. In those happy times I could not recognise You. Only did I
begin to recognise You in my sorrow. Baba, in my state of terrible
suffering, when the mountain of misery started falling on my head, then
all my friends left me. I was all alone. When I was happy then they were
along with me but when I became sunk in misery and woe all those friends
disappeared. Baba, You are the exact opposite. When I was sunk in woe
then by Your grace You immediately came and removed all my pains and
troubles. Baba You bathed me in Your infinite love. Filling my I-feeling
with Your bliss, You surrounded me each and every second. Baba, You
showered Your grace and saturated my heart.

Baba, You are so gracious. You are love Personified. You have done
everything for me. Baba, I surrender at Your alter…

== STAND OF AM ON BURNING KORAN, BIBLE & DESTROYING IDOLS ==

Namaskar,
All have heard the news how one Christian pastor threatened to burn the
Koran (Quran) on the occasion of the 9th anniversary of 9/11. In the
wake of worldwide furor, the pastor withdrew and promised not to burn
the Koran.

Even then this incident is not over – similar scenes are bound to recur.

As in the case of all critical issues, as Ananda Margiis we should be
crystal clear about Baba’s teaching. We should know our stand – i.e. the
stand of Ananda Marga.

Specifically, (a) what is our policy with regards to the burning of holy
books from the various religions, (b) what are our weapons against such
religions, and (c) on what level can we address religious claims.

To reach these answers, we must review Baba’s, our Lord Shrii Shrii
Anandamurti ji’s, key guidelines about the various religions.

RELIGION IS FADING

In comparison to a 100 years ago, religion on the whole is a much weaker
force than it used to be. And further back in the middle ages, millions
were killed in the name of religion during the crusades. Today however,
religion is no longer the dominating influence in peoples’ lives. Mostly
it is just a namesake – i.e. something that people passively follow.

Most do not ardently adhere to the various religious rituals and
mandates. People no longer base their lives on what the scriptures say.
With the rise of science, people depend more on their logic and
reasoning. They are no longer moved or swayed by irrational religious
doctrines. Hence religion is fading away in most parts of the globe.

Although some radical fundamentalists do exist in every religion – they
are comparatively few in number. Here the term radical refers to those
who blindly follow negative and detrimental theories based on irrational
ideas devoid of logic and reasoning. Strictly following bhagavad dharma
is not radical as it is based on rationality and for universal
well-being. If someone is an adherent of harmful dogmatic teachings from
the religions, then surely they are radical.

Here Baba points out the defective mind-set of such persons.

Baba says, “It is very difficult to persuade religious bigots to follow
the path of logic because according to them even to listen to others is
a sinful act. This is nothing but mere sentiment. According to some
religions beef eating is forbidden but the killing of deer and goats is
permissible. This is totally irrational.” (Prout Nutshell – 7)

Thus in this age of reasoning, most are not convinced or drawn in by
religious leaders. Because when those religious leaders themselves do
not follow the path of logic, then the common people just think such
priests etc are outdated. For this reason the various religions are
shrinking.

MUST NOT INCITE REVIVAL

However, if a misplayed and offensive attack is launched against those
religions on the sentimental plane – such as by burning their holy books
etc – then there will be a major uprising and waves of followers will
staunchly line up behind their religion.

Baba says, “Through such religions it is next to impossible to establish
unity in the society. Religious differences should be minimized as much
as possible, but it should be remembered that blind faith in a religion
cannot be forcibly eliminated. To strike at any type of sentiment will
only cause that sentiment to grow stronger.” (A Few Problems Solved – 2)

Why do we see – from time to time – profane language used by one
religious follower to another? Because of some political gain. This has
happened time and again. It has happened in the past and will recur in
the future. Intelligent people should always be alert and aware of such
tactics. Those not in power incite tense situations to get the power and
thereby create chaos in the society. This unfortunate maneuver occurs
all around the globe. When we see such incidents it means some political
gain is at stake. Those not in power want to come in power by escalating
the situation and creating differences.

9/11 happened nine years ago but in those days nobody threatened to burn
the Koran because the party involved was in power. Nowadays, since they
are not in power, this same party wishes to sidetrack everyone from the
main issue of solving the economic crisis. Such parties incite the
public in a cheap manner – i.e. by threatening to burn the Koran – in
order to disrupt society and bring voters into their fold.

If we allow this to create religious conflict then fissiparious
tendencies and divisive forces will rise and society will be torn apart.
All remnants of peace will be gone.

Thus to lambaste any religion on sentimental grounds will only make
matters worse. That is Baba’s pointed warning. Religious leaders can
only rely on sentiment and emotion to rally their people – they cannot
say “use your brain” because the religions do not adhere to rational
teachings.

So if we attack their religious sentiment by insulting their holy texts
then that will only invite a dogmatic resurgence of that religion.
Everyone, inside and outside of the Marga, must be careful about this.

HOW MUST WE PROCEED

Here Baba outlines what our approach must be in order to create peace
and harmony in the society.

Baba says, “Psychological methods will have to be employed to make
people realize the irrational nature of blind religious faith. This
requires a rational interpretation of philosophy through enlightened
intellect. When the human mind is gripped by the fear psychology it
gives indulgence to blind faith rather than logic and reason. If human
fear is removed through logic and reason, the very basis for blind faith
will be weakened. That is why human beings will have to be taught
philosophical doctrines in a rational way.” (A Few Problems Solved – 2)

Thus we are to employ logic and reasoning as our faithful tools to
combat religious dogmas. Resorting to insulting behaviours and / or
belittling their faith will not do.

Furthermore in His teachings on neo-humanism, Baba guides us to fight
against isms and dogmas with our logic & reasoning. And that logic and
reasoning can only be successful if one has inherent love for all of
humanity. Such persons are sadvipras. They only can wipe away dogmas and
isms.

If politicians try to crush, suppress or push aside the religions then
they will fail. The communists tried that scheme but they could not
smother those religions. Rather such religions flourished underground.

Baba says, “It should be remembered that there are certain differences
in the society which should be taken into proper consideration. These
differences are usually removed through natural fusion. It is not
possible to eradicate them by force. When human beings come close to
each other with a genuine feeling of unity, when they share the common
joys and sorrows of life, those external differences gradually vanish as
a matter of course. In the human society there are four main types of
external differences: food, dress, language and religion.” (Prout in a
Nutshell – 7)

That is why Baba encourages inter-caste, inter-race & international
marriages. And indeed we see that any metropolitan city around the globe
where there is a wide representation of diverse ethnic groups living and
working together, such as in New York, Sao Paulo, or London, such types
of heated social problems are much less.

We should rally around similarities not differences. We can also
encourage rational philosophical discussions as that will clear up the
minds of students.

IMPORTANCE OF FREE THINKING

The most detrimental aspect of religion which hinders society most is
that people stop using their brain. In any era, or country or place
where religion is very dominant, people are forced to blindly follow
dogmatic edicts and keep away from rational analysis. In that way, they
degrade themselves to near animals.

Everyone knows that our intellect is the unique quality of being human
yet the religions mostly force people not to use their intellect – they
stifle the entire method of free inquiry and open discussion. If we
gradually encourage logic and reasoning – especially with youths – then
gradually the hateful religions will be a relic of the past.

That is why Ananda Marga is working hard to establish educational and
neo-humanistic institutions around the globe.

The rate at which religion is fading now is staggering; it is on a big
downturn. We must raise the slogan of intellectual freedom and rational
thinking. Then we can get success because religion does not allow such
logic and reasoning.

In contrast, if we allow impulsive and fiery preachers to burn the Koran
etc, then that will only ignite the flames of religious fervor. That
will be totally counter-productive.

RELIGIOUS DIALOG:

PHILOSOPHICAL DISCUSSION VERSUS ATTACK ON SENTIMENT

As margiis we should understand Baba’s guideline for discussing the
religions.

In AM, we appreciate healthy debates on philosophical grounds based on
religious teaching and preachings. Hence we can speak about the
loopholes of any of the religions. For instance in Christianity we can
debate their positions on heaven, hell, and Satan etc, and with Hindus
we can raise the point of idol worship etc. We can discuss why these
things are right or wrong with regard to all the religions.

But these philosophical discussion must be carried out in a very
respectful and dignified manner. There must not be one bit of hatred or
disrespect towards any religion. On this very point Baba says in Caryacarya:

Baba says, “Never attack the religious beliefs of anyone. Make the
person understand gradually with logic. If you attack a person’s
religious beliefs, it means you have attacked Ananda Marga.” (CC-2,
“Society”, pt #9)

So we do not appreciate any type of attack on one’s religious
sentiments. That means no bible burning, no Koran burning, no destroying
of idols, no cartoons about Mohammad, no wall writing about the
religions using offensive language etc.

It is fine to politely discuss the defects of idol worship but we should
not stand from afar and hurl rocks at those Hindu temples.

Debating the principles is very important, Baba says we should do like
that. But we must not hurt their emotional or sentimental feelings of
their religion. That will only lead to social chaos and and rouse the
followers behind those religions.

The question comes: Why should we encourage philosophical debates?
Because we believe in the liberation of intellect and free use of logic
and reasoning. Before choosing any religion, one should use their brain
as to how far it is logically meaningful.

We see in the society that when people go to purchase anything worth one
penny they think deeply about how far they should spend that money or
not. But when committing their entire heart and emotional feeling to a
certain religion then they do not use their brain. They do not question
its veracity.

For instance, Hindus believe that if you hold the tail of a cow on the
bank of the Ganges in Varanasi and pay a priest 50 rupees to recite the
rituals for “godana puja”, then you will go to eternal heaven and
receive all kinds of luxuries and niceties.

Such an approach is not good. Everyone should use their brain and logic
and see how far it is rational to surrender to those religious beliefs
and theories.

In any geographical region where education is prevalent, the grip of
religious dogma is melting fast. But where people are not well educated,
they are more prone to illogical beliefs, rituals and dogma. So
education is very important. It should not be forgotten that in America
14% of the population is illiterate – they cannot comprehend the
newspaper. Thus we must work hard to raise the intellectual standard of
all peoples in all countries – that will help promote an environment of
all-round respect and cordiality.

BABA’S BLESSING

By Baba’s grace He has given us all the teachings to form a harmonious
human society. We must pay heed to His guideline of not hurting anyone’s
religious sentiment nor should we try and forcefully root out any dogma
by methods of suppression, repression or terror. We are all one people –
brother and sisters – united in under the loving shelter of one God.
Whatever differences we have must be sorted out in a respectful, safe,
and diplomatic manner.

Baba says, “The more human beings live in unity, shoulder to shoulder,
the greater the welfare of the human race will be. Let no one try to
suppress others on the basis of nationality, language, religion or
anything else in any sphere of life. Let the path of full expression of
human intelligence be kept open forever.” (A Few Problems Solved – 3)

Namaskar,
Gagan

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Solution

Baba says, “This has been our failing: that we neglected the spiritual
faculties of human life, we neglected the cardinal spiritual points of
life. If we are interested today in the welfare of this beautiful
universe, we should try more and more to accelerate the speed of
spiritual progress. If the acceleration of spiritual progress becomes
tremendous, then not only in the human world, but also in the physical,
psychic and spiritual spheres of the entire world — and not only of the
entire animate world, but of both the animate and inanimate worlds —
there will be tremendous progress. And this is what we want. Now we are
anxiously waiting for that crimson dawn on the eastern horizon.” (AFPS-5)

Note: Generally people do not realise this very thing which Baba has
explained above. To understand this fully it needs agraya’ buddhi
(pointed intellect). Only those who are blessed sadhaka can understand
that sadhana is the panacea.

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