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Archive for October 11th, 2010

From: “Seshagiri Das”
Subject: Sitting Simultaneously on Two Boats
Date: Mon 11 Oct 2010 07:23:23 +0000
To: am-global@earthlink.net

Baba

“Ruper mela’y bose tumi arup ga’n shun’iye ja’o…” (PS 3331)

Purport:

O’ Formless One, O’ Divine Entity, You have situated Yourself in the
festival and grandeur of form. You have created Your advent in this
colourful world. You are playing Your flute– singing Your song for me.
By Your grace You have come emanating Your eternal call. Baba, bathing
Yourself in the ocean of form You resonate Your divine sound in my
heart. That is: by leaving Your eternal formless stance of Nirguna
Brahma, You graciously descend upon this earth as the Taraka Brahma and
come into the world of form. By Your grace, You fill the heart with
devotion and with the irresistible urge to get You.

O’ my dearmost, You have come into the world of form and showered Your
grace by playing Your eternal flute. Baba, Your sound– Your divine
flute– resonates eternally in animate and inanimate beings, in flora
and fauna, in mobile and immobile beings, everywhere. You saturate Your
divine love in every thought and in all expressions.

Baba, You play Your flute and by Your grace it vibrates in all atoms and
in every molecule– in everything and everywhere. O’ Parama Purus’a, You
are the Na’dtanu of the ages, You are beyond time; You are Ka’la’tiita.
You are immutable. You remain in one unaltered state in all times: past,
present and future. Because of Your immutable characteristics, You are
not only beyond the bondage of time (Ka’la’tiita) but also beyond the
bondage of space (Desha’tiita) and beyond the bondage of form. O’
Na’dtanu, O’ Parama Purusa, I do sastaunga pranam at Your alter…

*Na’dtanu: This is one of the countless names that describes one of the
infinite attributions of Parama Purusa. Specifically Na’dtanu refers to
that Divine Entity who is the Lord of all music and dance. That is, the
One whose very body is made out of the na’da– the primordial sound– is
Himself the Lord of the dance.

== SITTING SIMULTANEOUSLY ON TWO BOATS ==

Namaskar,
Recently, one margii’s father died and the shraddha ceremony was
performed in town by one local acarya according to our Ananda Marga
guidelines. Many people attended.

Thereafter the margii went back to his village where he was raised to
attend to some family matters.

When he finished his affairs in the village and returned back to town,
his appearance was dramatically different. The margii no longer had hair
on his head and his mustache and beard were shaved off as well.

The local acarya inquired, “What happened – why this change in appearance?”

The margii replied that he was pressured, even forced, by his family,
relatives, and village community. He did not want to do it, but
ultimately acquiesced to those local Hindu shraddha customs which
mandate that the hair of the head along with all facial hair (i.e
mustache and beard) be removed in order to purify oneself. Plus the
margii acknowledged that he participated in other rituals according to
the Hindu tradition such as feeding food to the disembodied soul etc.

FOLLOW RITUALS OR BE HARSHLY BLAMED

It is believed that the deceased soul moves around for 12 days near the
village. And in order to reach heaven certain rituals must be performed
by priests. For instance, everyday food and water must be served to that
soul. Then after 12 days, a big ritual is performed where various gifts
are offered that soul’s comfortable accommodation in heaven. If anyone
fails to do this, then the deceased soul will turn into a demon ghost
and it will harass and attack everyone in that village.

That is why illiterate, dogmatic people are afraid. They fear that if
this is not done, the entire village will be in trouble. If anyone does
not do these rituals, and some villagers get sick with a cough and cold,
then startled people will say, “Look what happened – the ghost did
this.” Whatever happens, the blame goes to the person who did not follow
the shraddha ritual. Then those villagers become furious.

That situation puts pressure on all villagers to follow – lest they be
blamed, beaten and harassed.

Under such pressure, the said margii shaved his head while in his village.

VERY CRITICAL QUESTIONS

The above incident regarding that margii is an isolated happening. Most
follow AM ideals, but now and again some weak people are confronted with
similar circumstances. Pressure comes to follow family, local, and
religious customs, and weak-minded persons succumb.

The above story the raises many critical questions for us to consider:.

1) For any given festival or occasion, should we observe the Ananda
Marga style of observance as well as that of the local customs and
religious dogma?

2) How are we to respond to those who insist we participate in local dogmas?

3) What is the harm in participating in local dogmatic functions that
differ from our AM way of life?

4) What is our responsibility as Ananda Margiis?

OUR AM SHRADDHA CEREMONY

In a nutshell, here is Baba’s stated teaching related to the shraddha
ceremony.

Baba says, “The departed soul does not get any advantage from the
shra’ddha ceremony [memorial ceremony]. It is only meant for the psychic
satisfaction of the person performing it.” (CC-1)

According to Baba, the shraddha ceremony is only for the psychic comfort
of the surviving family members and friends. The deceased soul does not
get any benefit. Hence all those dogmatic ritualistic traditions done in
the village have no effect on the departed soul.

Here Baba explains further about our dharmic way of performing the
shraddha ceremony.

Baba says, “The period of mourning should not extend beyond twelve days.
If you wish, you can perform the shraddha ceremony any day within this
period according to convenience. During the period of mourning you
should not subject yourself to unnecessary mortification or ostentatious
penance.” (CC-1)

There are a few points from this we are to understand.

a) The shraddha ceremony itself may be held anytime within the 12 day
term following the death. It may be held on day 3, or day 5 or day 10,
or day 12, or any day within that period. But it not must be observed
later than the 12th day.

b) We have the full right to express our emotional feeling but we must
not subject ourselves to tortures or give way to irrational and / or
harmful dogmas. Nor are we to make a big public, ostentatious display.

c) We are not to observe any type of dogmatic ceremony on the yearly
anniversary of the death.

Thus our AM shraddha ceremony is simple and straightforward. Plus more
points are outlined below.

SHRADDHA IN THE HINDU TRADITION

In His special discourse entitled “Shraddha”, published in Ananda
Vacanamrtam part 3, Baba fully discusses the Hindu ritualistic
observance of this function.

Firstly, Baba warns us of the Hindu tradition wherein an offering is
made of food and clothes so that the deceased person will have something
to eat and wear in the afterworld. This is a long standing Hindu ritual.

Baba says, “A priest may say that your father will die only once, and so
after his death you should arrange for a sufficient quantity of
food-stuffs, a sufficient quantity of edibles, a sufficient quantity of
clothes, etc., for him. And that has been done in India for about five
thousand years, since the time of the Atharva Veda. And people have
generally offered rice and sesame, also honey and ghee, to be consumed
by that person who has left the world.” (AV-3)

In this next quote Baba warns us what happens to those offered items
that were meant for our deceased relative.

Baba says, “After offering rice, sesame, clothes, etc., what do you
find?. The rice is consumed by the purohita in his house. Go to his
kitchen, and all that rice is being consumed by his family. That dhuti
which is being offered by you for your late father is being used by the
purohita, and the sharii by the purohita patnii; and the gamci, the
towel, if it is surplus, is sold in the market. And the utensils are
also sold in the market. So your deceased father, your parents, who are
now inhabitants of aparaloka, won’t get anything.” (AV-3)

Thus Baba exposes how this idea of offering food, money, clothes,
utensils, housewares etc was nothing but the brainchild of those priests
of old. The person who has died has no need for such items – nor is it
possible to deliver those items to him. But such questions do not arise
in the various religions. Intelligent inquiry is set aside, and the
mandates of those top priests became law – no matter how illogical and
unreasonable it may seem.

Here below Baba guides us that we can only serve those who are here on
earth. As soon as they pass away, they are beyond our means and we
cannot offer anything to them.

Baba says, “As long as a man is here in our society we have a social
responsibility for him. Human beings are social beings, we have a social
responsibility for them. And when the leave this world and go to the
other world, they go beyond the scope of our responsibility. We cannot
render any service to them. Our social responsibility is over as soon as
the cremation is done.” Ananda Vachanamrtam part 3 (AV-3)

Thus in Ananda Marga, we do not adhere to the Hindu rituals surrounding
the shraddha ceremony. We do not agree with their policy of offering
material goods to the deceased; we do not adhere to their practice that
the surviving family members must shave their heads; nor do we follow
their ritual that if someone famous or reputable dies, then the whole
village or township has to shave their head and beard. None of these do
we follow in AM. Because we know that such religious regulations are not
based on rationality but rather on delivering more power to the priest
class etc.

Baba says, “In all corners of the world this type of exploitation is
going on. And why are the people being exploited?. Because they are
under the veil of superstition. They are superstitious people. They are
less developed in intellect.” (AV-3)

Greedy priests started these rituals in the past to get free money,
clothes, food, housewares etc. This all began in the vipran era when
they had the power of rule.

It is our duty to inform everyone about the real origins of why Hindu
followers celebrate their shraddha program in this way. And we should
also point out the shortcomings of such ceremonies within the various
religions like Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Confucianism and that of
other faiths. Mixing those dogmas with AM is not our path in life such
as how Mahaprayan (MPD) is nothing but a copy of the dogmatic Islamic
tomb worship of Ajmer Sharif. Indeed, once any true Ananda Margii
understands the (il)logical underpinnings, then they will give up such
ritualistic manners.

We cannot just rely only on punishment or force. Education is needed;
people both inside and outside the Marga must understand the reasons
behind such dogmas. Then those dogmas will fade away.

Should we opt to keep quiet – thinking it will go away on its own – is
very bad. That will only allow the dogma to grow. We must apply our
rational intellect and educate people about such dogmas.

WHY HINDU SHRADDHA SHOULD NOT BE DONE

Here are further reasons why we must not give way to the Hindu shraddha
ceremony.

1) In order to make a big, public show, families spend huge money and
vow to feed the entire village and locale in honor of their father’s
food arrangement in heaven etc. It Hence it becomes a contest to outdo
one’s neighbors and host the biggest feast to safeguard the prestige of
their family. By this way many go into debt, and instead of serving and
honoring the deceased, they are just chasing after worldly gain – i.e.
name and fame – and putting their family into economic strife.

2) At the time of death, Ananda Margiis either attain mukti or moksa, or
they undergo rebirth. There is no option for one to sit in outer space
and wait for a rocket to arrive carrying their food, garments and cot
which they left behind on earth. This latter option does not exist in
Ananda Marga.

WHAT IF I ARRANGED OR PARTICIPATED
IN SUCH RELIGIOUS CEREMONIES

The next question that invariably arises is what does one do if they
have arranged or participated in such type of religious ceremonies. Thus
far we have been speaking primarily about the dogmatic Hindu shraddha
ceremony. But all the religions contain similar edicts that one might be
forced to follow. Or there may be local traditions that get imposed.

For instance: (a) Eating at a religious or family function when others
are taking non-veg, (b) eating at any funeral or death ceremony, (c)
indulging in idol worship, or (d) participating in any of the Christian
or Semitic rituals like attending a wake, wedding or funeral service.

All of the above are against our AM way of life.

Similarly a true margii should get married according to AM ideals. Those
margii newlyweds should not then indulge in a Christian wedding in order
to appease their friends and family etc. That would be sinful.

In such a circumstance what is one to do if one indulged in such sin,
either voluntarily or due to outside pressure?

By Baba’s grace He has given the perfect remedy and way of
rectification. In Caryacarya part 1 Baba has given a chapter titled
“Self Analysis”. By following these guidelines one can rectify oneself,
by His grace.

Baba says, “If an Ananda Margi violates the principles of yama and
yiyama, he will confess his fault to any a’ca’rya and ask for
punishment, on that day or on the day of the next dharmacakra. The
a’ca’rya will prescribe only physical or mental punishment, not
financial or any other type of punishment, to those at fault. The
a’ca’rya will prescribe punishment in the form of service to the
society, but they will never accept any kind of service for themselves
from the persons at fault.” (CC-1)

Plus Baba includes these two following stipulations.

Baba says, “If rectification of one’s offence is possible, the a’ca’rya
will, instead of giving punishment outright, have the fault rectified by
the guilty person by other appropriate means and ask him to be careful
in the future. If the offence is serious, the a’ca’rya may punish
publicly, but the nature of the fault will not be disclosed.” (CC-1)

Baba says, “Whether one’s conduct has been defective or not, a statement
regarding how far the principles of yama and niyama have been followed
has to be submitted to the a’ca’rya.” (CC-1)

By reading Baba’s above directives, it is clear that either the action
will be wholly rectified or some type of just punishment will be taken
to serve and please Parama Purusa.

This will all be dependent upon time, space and person: That’s to say
the nature of the crime and the experience of the person involved. A new
margii might receive a much lighter punishment than a senior margii who
committed the same wrong. Because the senior margiis are aware about the
do’s and dont’s and if they deliberately do not follow then they are
deserving of more punishments than a new margiis who just took
initiation yesterday.

By adhering to Baba’s divine guidelines from His Self-Analysis chapter,
all margiis who misstep will be brought back on the right track. In
their mind they will clearly understand where they erred and how to
proceed properly next time.

This special teaching of self-analysis is totally new and revolutionary.

WHAT IS OUR COLLECTIVE DUTY

To avert future mishaps, our collective duty is to educate everyone
about our AM values. No one should think that if they perform the AM
shraddha ceremony then it is fine and well to also participate in some
local dogmatic or ritualistic affair. Doing so is to water down the
teachings of AM. We are to follow Ananda Marga ideology and not mix it
with the prevailing dogmas of the day. This is just opening the
floodgates – allowing all such dogmas to come pouring into AM. That will
not be good.

That will be like trying to sit on two boats at the same time. It cannot
work – the person is bound to fall into the water.

So we should never double up our AM dharmic programs with local
ritualistic or religious dogmas, whether that be for births, deaths,
marriages etc.

Just think of it this way: When we eat we do not first eat a sattvika
meal according to AM teachings and then eat a non-veg meal according to
the local custom. Similarly in all our dharmic programs like the
shraddha ceremony etc, we should not thereafter participate in a local
dogmatic tradition.

Our duty then is to learn AM ideals, apply them in our personal lives,
and develop the sustenance of mind to not fall prey to following local
dogmas.

BABA’S WARNING: DEFECTIVE MENTALITY

Here Baba warns us about the mentality of those types of people who fall
prey to following every dogma under the sun. As Ananda Margiis we should
not fall into such doldrums.

Baba says, “A person whom I was very close to, a relative of mine, used
to recite the following after taking bath: “Victory to mother Ka’li,
victory, victory to Ka’li, victory to mother Ka’li of T’han T’hania’,
victory to mother Ka’li of Daks’in’eshvar, victory to Baba Ta’rakna’th,
victory to Baba Vaidynath of Deoghar. O’ Fathers! None of you should
think that I am leaving out someone’s name.” After this he would say,
“O’ gods and goddesses, please forgive me if I have omitted any name
inadvertently. Please assume that I have mentioned your name also.” Does
this yield anything at all? One says, “victory to mother Ka’li of
Ka’ligha’t” and in the same breath one says, “victory to mother Ka’li of
T’han T’hania’.”It signifies that the mind is moving both towards
Ka’ligha’t and T’han T’hania’. Can the mind become concentrated in this
way? Certainly not.” AV- 9/10, p.114)

Similarly, those running after AM and simultaneously following various
religious dogmas are on shaky ground. They cannot be considered as
dharmikas. Their approach is useless. One must be strict in AM.

BABA’S BLESSING

By Baba’s grace our duty is to follow His guidelines as given in
Caryacarya part 1 about our dharmic shra’ddha ceremony. If we adhere to
His teachings alone then we will be on the right path and set a proper
example for society. This is our way, by His grace.

Baba says, “Those who have the responsibility to show the path to others
should be of superlative character with the most refined conduct. They
and their followers must move constantly towards all-round development.”
(AV-31)

Namaskar,
Seshagiri

******************************************
Eternal Source of Energy

Baba says, “Because each and everybody in this universe gets energy from
Parama Purusa, He is the Supreme Source of energy.”

“This earth and all the other planets and satellites of this solar
system get their energy from the sun. The sun is the source of their
energy. But He is the source of the sun’s energy. And that’s why He is
jvalantam.”

“And that’s why I have said that there won’t be any thermal death of
this universe. Because He is jvalantam, He is present, and He will be
present forever. So there won’t be any shortage of energy in this cosmic
system, though there may be a shortage of energy in some particular
portion of the earth or the cosmos.” (AV-3, p. 26-27)

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