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Posts Tagged ‘tradición de la sabiduría’

Bhagavad-Guita and the Koran

Gandhi said: «The Bhagavad-Guita –one of the sacred books of the Hindus- is not only my Bible or my Koran. It is more than that; it is my mother. My mother died a long time ago, but this eternal mother has taken his position. Each time I feel oppressed by difficulties or I feel distressed by suffering, I find shelter in her.»

Yogananda said that the Hindu teacher, whose name is Sri Yukteswar, rarely read a book that was not sacred.[1]

For the Islam, the Koran is a book dictated by God. It shapes almost all the Islamic saying, thinking, and feeling. Its words appear in all the Muslim cultural expressions. Believing in the Koran is almost the first dogma of the Islam. The Koran is “Kalâm Allâh”, that is to say, the ‘word of God.’ Mahomet did not write it; he was just a receiver and transmitter.

The Koran is the element that founded the Islam. The entire Islamic religion has been conditioned by the phenomenon of the sacred book. The Koranic expression “Ahl al-kitâb”, that is to say, ‘a town that has a sacred book,’ impregnates all the Muslim spirituality. There is no Islam without Koran.


[1] Cf. YOGANANDA, P., Autobiography of a Yogi, p. 134.

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Visista Advaita — Qualified Non-Dualism

By Br. John Martin Sahajananda

The second Hindu system we’re considering is called Visista Advaita, a system of qualified non-dualism, proposed by one, Ramanuja, in the 11th century after Jesus. He disagreed with Shankara’s position regarding the nature of God, the universe and humankind. For Ramanuja, as with Shankara, God (Brahman) alone is eternal (sathyam). But according to him, God is not nirguna, without qualities, but saguna, with qualities.

Ramanuja taught that God is personal. The universe and our world (jagat) is the manifestation of Brahman (not a mere appearance, mithya, as with Shankara). The universe isn’t created by God, but rather is seen as an emanation from God. God is the instrumental and the material cause of creation. We are part of God but not identical with God. There’s a subtle essential difference between God and us.

Ramanuja saw the universe and humankind as the ‘body’ of God. The relationship between God and the universe, he taught, is like soul and body, or the body and the hair that grows on and from the body. God and the universe are inseparable. The material world isn’t an illusion, mithya or maya. Maya, he teaches, is the creative power of God through which he manifests the world and everything in it.

If we go back to the analogy of water and ice, Brahman, according to this system, is water; ice is the universe. The universe isn’t an illusion. It’s the manifestation of Brahman. It’s the body of Brahman. But there’s a subtle difference between God and the universe, which includes humankind — it isn’t identical with Brahman.

Ramanuja also proposed the way of devotion, bhakthi marga. One has to surrender to God, he taught, through devotion or faith — to God’s will — and one finds peace and joy in this surrender. There’s no human soul identifying with God. No one can say, ‘God and I are one.’

For him, a personal relationship with God is very important. If a human soul was one with God, then no personal relationship is possible — it takes two to tango! He taught that we can have a personal relationship with God in one or more modes such as: father and child, lover and beloved, protector and protected, physician and patient, owner and the owned, sustainer and sustained, supporter and dependent, sun and lotus etc.

Ultimate liberation, Ramanuja taught, happens only after the death of the physical body. In general he is considered to be a pantheist. But this may not be correct since he holds that there’s a subtle essential difference between God and the universe in general or humankind in particular. From the Sun come many rays, but one cannot say that every ray is a Sun. There is only one Sun and the universe is its manifestation.

Br. John Martin Sahajananda

 

Continued next week

 

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The closeness of God: The Sun

Many people get bothered when God is close, because he makes them think about their ways of life. They do not like it because it makes them remember the dark parts of their ways. And they do not want to change; they do not want to be touched.

This happened to hypocrites and Pharisees who considered Jesus an enemy. This is what Jesus teaches now. You cannot be a person who only carries out the law and pretends to be a good person so that people say: “What a good man! How law abiding! How generous!” Jesus sees inside your heart and unmasks double-faced people. He does it for two reasons. Firstly, to help them because when he unmasks them he is living them a second chance. And secondly, in order not to let them deceive innocent people.

Nevertheless, many of them did not accept the word of God and did not bear him. They tried, by all means, to get rid of him. This also happens nowadays; many people have an appearance, show a kind face, but they are exactly the opposite. They are like actors who do not live their own lives; they live a pretended life they have invented, in which they are no more protagonists of a film. This is far from reality. The word of Jesus places you in your real life, and when you accept reality you see what you are, with no slyness or tricks; so Jesus helps you to start over.

This happens now and also happened two thousand years ago. Genuine people approached him despite the fact that they had sinned. His previous behavior and his way of life did not care. Thanks to Jesus they were reborn. They did not disown his presence; they invited him and shared with him instead. Zaqueo, who was a tax collector and a robber, admitted it before Jesus. He received Jesus in his house and his life changed radically. Mathew, another tax collector who kept other people’s money, invited him to eat and then became an apostle…

It is like the light of the sun. When entering a half-lighted room, we may say: «How clean this room is!» But when we open the windows and light enters, we see dirtiness, spider webs. In the presence of God, the sun shines. The darkness disappears. But if somebody wants to hide the dark part of his life get away from the light of God because nothing can be hidden from him.

In the Gospel, Jesus cured a man that was possessed by many demons, and then he sent the demons to a herd of swine. The evangelist says: «So people pleaded so that he moved away from them because they feared.» The inhabitants did not rejoice in Jesus’ miracle. They did not feel touched or happy when seeing his neighbor cured from the curse. They only cared about their economic loss, the loss of the herd of swine. On the contrary, the man from whom the demons had come out begged to remain with him (…) The man went off and proclaimed throughout the whole town what Jesus had done for him.»[1]

Demons and double-faced people cannot bear the Word of God. Many hypocrites read the Gospel to hide their malice. «They have eyes, but they do not see, ears, but they do not hear.» They have no root.


[1] Cf. Lc 8, 27-40.

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From the tunnel to the clouds

One day, a good man was introduced to me. He was intelligent and had great qualities. The person who introduced him told me: «He is a great man with a great problem: he lives in the túnel of the past, or in the clouds of what is about to come. Now, he needs to step on the present.»

I have met many people like that man: they seem to live anchored in the old year or dreaming about the new year. Remember the great celebrations to say goodbye to the old year and welcome the new year in every part of the world! However, the old year is each night when we go to sleep and dream with the angels: it is the end of the world, of our conscience. At the same time, each sunrise is a new year that God offers us: we revive the conscience, we come back to life.

How many times do we dawn looking back? The things I have done, the things others have done to me, the things I could have done. All this is finished: «the past is over.» Each awakening is an opportunity. In our dreams, we recover enough energy to wake up again, as new born. We learn from the past the things we do not have to do again. We prepare the tomorrow living the present with more intensity.

Adolfo confessed: «I do not understand the meaning of this phrase: “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God”[1] I asked it to many priests, but I did not like their answers.» Escalada replied: «I was seeing the photographs of my childhood and youth. I recalled my relationship with people, whom I believed my friends. I could not see myself reflected in that world, in those past years. So, I started to tear the photographs of my childhood. I only kept some of them.»

Chose the present! “Here and now” are the happiest moments of your existence. If you want to recall something, look in your mind for the positive things. In the Old Testament, a town was asked to recall the acts of the Lord. Recall what makes you walk, not what paralyzes you!

I suggest a prayer called “Memorare.”[2] It was written by Claraval and it is prayed in order to ask the Mother of God to remember us, to recall the gifts she always distributes among her children.


[1] Lk 9, 62.

[2] Remember, Oh pious Virgin Mary! It has never been heard that any of those who have turned to your protection, asking for your help have been abandoned. Due to the fact that I trust you, I turn to you, oh Mother, Virgin of the virgins, groaning because of the weight of my sins I dare to appear before you. Oh mother of God, do not reject my plea before listening to them. Accept them mildly. Amen.

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With a clean glance

 
The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had  spoken to him (Luke 22, 61)

I remember having moved to live in a new house, far from my land. I have been received affectionately. People showed me my room, and then I moved through the different places. There was a porch next to the house. I took several walks admiring the rich vegetation. In a strayed corner, a plant had grown. It was big and had some beautiful rosaceous violet flowers.

At lunch, I was asked about my first impressions. I commented on how nice this plant was. One of the diners answered that he had been there for thirty years, and he did not remember having seen that plant. I tried to describe him where it was, what color the flowers were… but he could not distinguish which flowers had captured my attention.

When we finished lunch, we went for a walk around the porch to see the mysterious plant.

— Oh! Yes, it was grown there, but it’s common in these soils. I have not even realized that it was there— the host said. He had walked past it a hundred times, but he had never seen it.

This is what you and I do when we take the Gospel with that easy and arrogant attitude: «Well, I know what it says. I’ve heard about Jesus’s life; there’s nothing new to learn. I’m going to read another book to learn something different and new.»

That friend continued seeing more things. Then, he noted there were many birds, butterflies, and much smell of flowers in the porch… They had always been there, but he had never realized. He had got used to it; and his eyes were blurred by the black carpet of his routine.

Cleaning your glance is an essential condition to understand the Word of God. Otherwise, you would not be able to see what God has prepared for you. Purify your eyes with the collyrium of faith. Humbly ask Jesus what the blind that approached him in the Gospel asked: «Lord, make him see».

To empty the content

Josecito visits me every day, at least some minutes to say hello. Now he is one year old and he walks. As all children, he frequently falls down; but it is wonderful to see how he stands up. It takes him some minutes. We always observe him because it seems that he will not be able to do it; however, little by little and with a bit of suspense, he stands upright, after a number of strange poses. His grandparents cheer him and say:  «Very well, very well!»

As well as adults observe the progresses of the children, their falls, their “foolishness,” Father God observes us. He sees our struggle to walk straight, our falls, and our first steps.

In order to understand the Gospel, it is necessary that we become children again. The child has nothing; he is empty. He is born “clean,” and he learns everything he receives. He needs to be taught even the more basic things. If nobody taught him to speak, he would never learn; if nobody taught him to walk, he would never be able to do it.

Become a child again! Empty your worries and prejudices. Forget that you can read and write, remain empty, “clean,” as new born babies because whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.[1]

I invite you to throw away all the things you know about the Gospel, all your knowledge about Jesus’s life. Forget everything because you are a new born baby who is eager to learn; you are a baby who cannot walk or speak. Now open the Gospel with this attitude, as if it were the first time.

Nothing can be put into a full vessel. First you have to empty it and then you will be able to put something inside. As Jesus used to say: «Rather, new wine must be poured into fresh wineskins.»[2]

Saint Augustine of Hippo used to say:

To fill a vessel, it first has to be emptied. Shed the evil from you because you are going to be filled with the good. Suppose that God whishes to fill you with honey; if you are full of vinegar, where will you put the honey? The vessel must first be emptied, and then cleansed and freed from the vinegar. This requires hard work and is painful, but it is the only way to prepare it to receive something. And as we say honey, we could have said gold or wine; the fact is that we try to dignify the ineffable: God… enlarge our hearts so that he fills it when he comes.[3]

Now think what is there, inside your heart; examine what is in your mind, and recognize your acts. Throw everything away so that you can be filled with the Word of Jesus.

Reading the Gospel with new eyes means buying the collyrium that will help us to see. Look, observe, think, analyze and learn with that collyrium.

Leave your habits and prejudices away, because now you have the Gospel in your hands for the first time, and you are about to open your eyes to a new reality: the life of Jesus.

Exercise

Reflect: What do you think about along the day? Who is in your mind for more time? What objects do you love the most? How do you spend your time…?

Write it down in your workbook.

Read carefully a chapter of the Gospel each day, and write down the thoughts that come to your mind after reading.


[1] Cf. Lk 18, 16.

[2] Lk 5, 38.

[3] SAINT AUGUSTINE, Treaty on the first letter of Saint John, n.4

Taken from the book: G. MEIRIÑO, Reading the Gospel with new eyes, Corrientes, 2009, pp. 25-31

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To empty the content

Josecito visits me every day, at least some minutes to say hello. Now he is one year old and he walks. As all children, he frequently falls down; but it is wonderful to see how he stands up. It takes him some minutes. We always observe him because it seems that he will not be able to do it; however, little by little and with a bit of suspense, he stands upright, after a number of strange poses. His grandparents cheer him and say:  «Very well, very well!»

As well as adults observe the progresses of the children, their falls, their “foolishness,” Father God observes us. He sees our struggle to walk straight, our falls, and our first steps.

In order to understand the Gospel, it is necessary that we become children again. The child has nothing; he is empty. He is born “clean,” and he learns everything he receives. He needs to be taught even the more basic things. If nobody taught him to speak, he would never learn; if nobody taught him to walk, he would never be able to do it.

Become a child again! Empty your worries and prejudices. Forget that you can read and write, remain empty, “clean,” as new born babies because whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.[1]

I invite you to throw away all the things you know about the Gospel, all your knowledge about Jesus’s life. Forget everything because you are a new born baby who is eager to learn; you are a baby who cannot walk or speak. Now open the Gospel with this attitude, as if it were the first time.

Nothing can be put into a full vessel. First you have to empty it and then you will be able to put something inside. As Jesus used to say: «Rather, new wine must be poured into fresh wineskins.»[2]

Saint Augustine of Hippo used to say:

To fill a vessel, it first has to be emptied. Shed the evil from you because you are going to be filled with the good. Suppose that God whishes to fill you with honey; if you are full of vinegar, where will you put the honey? The vessel must first be emptied, and then cleansed and freed from the vinegar. This requires hard work and is painful, but it is the only way to prepare it to receive something. And as we say honey, we could have said gold or wine; the fact is that we try to dignify the ineffable: God… enlarge our hearts so that he fills it when he comes.[3]

Now think what is there, inside your heart; examine what is in your mind, and recognize your acts. Throw everything away so that you can be filled with the Word of Jesus.

Reading the Gospel with new eyes means buying the collyrium that will help us to see. Look, observe, think, analyze and learn with that collyrium.

Leave your habits and prejudices away, because now you have the Gospel in your hands for the first time, and you are about to open your eyes to a new reality: the life of Jesus.

Exercise

Reflect: What do you think about along the day? Who is in your mind for more time? What objects do you love the most? How do you spend your time…?

Write it down in your workbook.

Read carefully a chapter of the Gospel each day, and write down the thoughts that come to your mind after reading.


[1] Cf. Lk 18, 16.

[2] Lk 5, 38.

[3] SAINT AUGUSTINE, Treaty on the first letter of Saint John, n.4

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Sixth sense

If you are able to focus your five senses on the Word of God, you open the sixth sense: intuition. You exceed the knowledge that is perceived through the senses –which are only physical- and you start to know directly.

Jesus had this sixth sense, and was able to see the heart of those who were next to him. In one occasion, the apostles were discussing the positions they would have in the future when Jesus came to power. So, the Gospel says: «Jesus realized the intention of their hearts and took a child and placed it by his side and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me”»[1].

This sixth sense helps you to understand what Jesus means with the Word of God. Some people have a gift for interpreting the messages of Heaven. As Mary, that young woman from Nazareth who listened to the voice of the Spirit, and interpreted and decoded it immediately, accepting to be Jesus’s mother, with no intervention of any man.

This way of knowing is common in the life of saint people from all religions. Ignacio de Loyola, who was a beggar and dressed terribly bad, preached the Word of God in such a way that people followed him. In one occasion, the Superior of the Dominic of Salamanca invited him to lunch with his disciples. After having interrogated him and getting to know that Ignacio had not studied theology, the Superior concluded: «We are not instructed and talk about vices and virtues, though nobody can talk about it but in one of the following forms: through the letters or through the Holly Spirit. And not through the letters and then through the Holly Spirit.»[2] The Dominic friar wondered how this man and his friends talked about theology and God if they had never studied. Where did they gather the information? How could they have that astonishing knowledge about theology? But the disciple is not more than his teacher. Jesus had experienced something similar. He was in one of the traditional Jewish celebrations, which was called Celebration Tents, when he decided to go to the temple to preach. «After having listened to him, The Jews were amazed and said, “How does he know scripture without having studied?”»[3]

God offers, to people who are humble and modest of heart, that “intuition” and wisdom, which had not been learned or studied in any university.


[1] Lk 9, 46-47; Mk 2, 8.

[2] IGNACIO DE LOYOLA, S., Authobiography, chapter. 7, n. 65.

[3] Cf. Jn 7, 15.

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The religious root of the man

We have undertaken a number of considerations on Christianity, under the title WE FOLLOW YOUR TREAD. The tread is a symbol of search. It seems to refer to the fact of not knowing something, but with the desire of knowing; as those who search for something… Anthropologists track the treads of humanity in order to find where we come from, what our origin is. The only way to learn about our ancestors is by means of remains, objects they have been left to us: a carved stone, a vessel. Neil Armstrong’s tread on the moon is a symbol of a presence that has become an absence, though the track remains. Neil Armstrong is not on the moon any more, but he left his tread; his footstep, the size of his astronaut boot, remains there.

There are many issues to refer to when talking about the tread of a primitive as, for instance, talking about the things he ate –inspecting food leftovers between teeth- or about the height of men who lived in Atapuerca by analyzing the bones we find… however, there are other issues to be considered as whether they were pious, worshiped the Gods, their rituals, etcetera… There are physical and spiritual treads… There are other treads that are more difficult to track, for instance, the treads of the spiritual, the religious in the human being, and the need for transcendence.

Let’s analyze the treads of a God that has embodied, that is to say, the treads God left in Jesus Christ, the full and perfect man. We already know how troublesome talking about God is. AsSaint Johnthe Evangelist says, Christians can do it thanks to God’s only begotten son, who is in the Father’s bosom, Jesus. All we know about God is known by intermediate of Jesus of Nazareth as man.

This is the topic of our space “We follow you treads.” Not only reaching God through Jesus the man, but also through the treads of so many men and women that have been looking for God throughout thousands and millions of years. And in this search, we will face a problem: We cannot talk about God directly; we can only talk about the man in the search for God. In Jesus Christ, the perfect man, we find the last word of God, not about himself but about the man. Talking about Jesus Christ is talking about a man that is God, God and a real man.

We are going through a moment in history in which talking about religion, uninteresting and past issue, seems odd. But this is the problem: every human being, even atheist, is deeply religious because he searches for something, is not satisfied, and keeps on the search… till the infinite. The man, who is never satisfied, keeps on the search, though he does not want to have anything to do with God, he needs and aims at plenitude, God.

And the man, who considers himself religious because he believes in God, will have to be informed of the fact that God is not a religious being because religion is the bond of dependence on a superior being; it is a tying with God; and God is not tied to anything or anybody. God is united with himself; He does not need to be tied. This is why we say God does not have a religion. The only being that, by definition, cannot believe in god is God himself. How is God going to believe in himself, if He owns himself, if He has himself, if He exists?

So, doesn’t God have a religion? God’s religion is the man, man’s plenitude. The religious being is the man; God is not religions. In other words, I believe in God because I walk towards Him. For this reason, God cannot believe in himself; God does not have faith because He has himself. The man has faith.

This is Christianity; it is innovating and revolutionary; and Jesus Christ is the one who will release the whole temple from pagan religiosity. Faith is getting out of oneself towards a different person, different from oneself. And in the case of Christian faith, as said person is the Other with capital letters, God, we say faith is a gift. We can only reach him thanks to the gift of faith. “We believe, for we walk by Faith, with Hope, towards Love,” Saint Paul says. Once we have reached love, we will not need Faith any more. We will talk about Faith the following day.

We follow you treads. Man is just a tread, but a tread made in God’s own image on the earth.

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Eyes of eagle

The sight of the eagle is extremely sharp, which enables this animal to visualize its preys from the distance. From the top of the mountain, it can see what is happening at ground level. It only leaves its habitat to hunt; and then, it returns. The real eagle has two fields of vision: one of them is to look ahead; and the other is to focalize the glance to the sides examining from the distance. If you want to be an eagle, you have to develop your sight. You will be able to fly on the top of the mountains and observe, from the distance, the poultry clucking, the reptiles sliding, and the human beings struggling for their basic instincts.

So, the first thing we have to do in order to understand the message is cleaning the lamp of our bodies –our eyes- and having the visibility of the eagle. Those who see like Jesus did are able to see beyond; they have to fields of vision, as well as the real eagle: they see the exterior and discover the depths of the heart of each person.

This is the sight I want for you, after you have seen Jesus in the Gospel and have talked to Him. Thanks to these new eyes, you will have a clean glance, a sharp mind, and a receptive heart and raised hands.

I also want to recommend you the book of the Apocalypse “I advise you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich, and white garments to put on so that your shameful nakedness may not be exposed, and buy ointment to smear on your eyes so that you may see.”[1]

You already have the collyrium, so you see Jesus next to you. Talk to him as you talk to a friend, face to face, with no intermediaries or interferences.

[1] Rev 3, 18.

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How Integral Dynamic Monotheism can transform and renew our entire Christian experience

                                                         By Br. John Martin Sahajananda

All philosophies, all ideologies, all scriptures, all religions, and all prophets and sages tell us two important things: who we are and how we ought to live our lives in the world of time and space. The way persons live their life, I believe, will depend largely on their self-identity — on who or what they think they are.

In this paper, I’d like to explore with you some powerful teachings about who or what we are that have influenced the lives of millions. Rather than trying to rank these key teachings in any way, I want to show that they all have something of value to offer us and that it would be against our best interests to choose any one teaching to the exclusion of the others.

I suggest that each of us has the opportunity in this life to evolve or move beyond our present spiritual capacity and experience more deeply our essential nature. The mystery we call ‘God’ undoubtedly has many different aspects for us to explore and experience if we will but drop our narrow concepts and go forward with an open heart and mind.

I’ll confine myself here to the major types of religious teaching that have shaped for centuries, and still shape today, our understanding of who or what we are and how we should live. I’ll propose that we have much to gain by following the example of Jesus who seemed to combine and synthesize different understandings regarding personal identity and ‘live out of’ one or other, or several at once, at different times in his life-experience.

These days it’s common for theologians to divide religions into two major overall categories (though not in an absolute sense) — the Wisdom Tradition and the Prophetic Tradition.

The religions like Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism belong to Wisdom Tradition. These religions have some common elements such as: karma, samsara, reincarnation and spiritual enlightenment.

The religions like Judaism, Christianity and Islam belong to the Prophetic Tradition. These religions are also called monotheistic religions as they teach the belief in one God.

In our exploration, we will focus our reflection on the monotheistic religions and Hinduism.

Br. John Martin Sahajananda

Continued next week

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