An Interesting Dialog

April 18, 2018

This started out as a simple inquiry to friends from one of my friends, Tapas! But it turned out to be an interesting dialog in few days! I am just sharing it here without any edits, for your reflection! If you would like, please do share your comments!

** Tapas Sat, Apr 14, 2018 at 11:21 AM

Subject: We are reeling with just the American news this week, not to speak of overseas ones.

This week only

  (1) US bombing of Syria,

  (2) Trump’s decision to try to rejoin TPP, Trans Pacific Partnership,

  (3) Comey’s book,

  (4) FBI raid of President’s personal lawyer’s office and home,

  (5) Teachers’ strike in Kentucky, Oklahoma, Arizona,

  (6) Gun right advocates’ march in state capitals,

  (7) Speaker, Paul Ryan’s decision not to run again,

  (8) Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony in Congress,

  (9) Mike Pompeo’s confirmation hearing,

(10) Court case against Bill Cosby continues,

(11) Stormy Daniel saga continues,

(12) California sanctuary city problems — DOJ lost the first case against San Francisco,

(13) Weather news,

(14) John Bolton starts as National Security Chief, as McMaster’s deputy resigns,

(15) Stock Market fluctuations,

(16) Trump’s pardon,

(17) What else?

 

** Gaurang Sat, Apr 14, 2018 at 12:20 PM

Need to focus on Meditation more, as Howard would say, “These are noises”…

 

** Ramesh Sat, Apr 14, 2018 at 12:43 PM

Some people like white noise to sleep well.  We can turn this and other kinds of noise into white noise.  Each is going to hear plenty of noise at all times.  How we respond and react determines our spiritual progress.

Also, we can respond to the noise by contributing constructively in whatever areas we can and choose.  Gandhi devoted much of his time to the fourteen items in his Constructive Program.  But none is obliged to do this.

One can simply plod on with a wildly fluctuating stress level.  We are largely made by what we choose.  Seems we stay hopeless without a spiritual turn.

 

** Howard Sat, Apr 14, 2018 at 8:03 PM

We have learned that the very essence of inner light is the same for all; holding onto Paramahansa’s Great Light of GOD. All Saints and Yogis show the way leaving duality’s reach behind; holding Rameshji’s teachings we have been shown from the bottom up and the top down its always the same Light ever shining through the outer darkness of mortal attachment . As Yogananda has said Get to the Beam; then you will know who you are. All scriptures tell us over and over when thine eye be single thy whole body shall be filled with light Beware that thine eye is not in duality’s separation darkness. We live; breathe; and have our being in Oneness Divine!  Jai Gurudevas!

 

** Tapas Sun, Apr 15, 2018 at 12:26 AM

  • Some people like white noise to sleep well.  We can turn this and other kinds of noise into white noise.  Each is going to hear plenty of noise at all times.  How we respond and react determines our spiritual progress.

Every noise is God’s noise or God’s call?

 

** Gaurang Sun, Apr 15, 2018 at 12:34 AM

Regarding my comment about noises! My questions are more fundamental!

  1. Is any one of the 16 events, that Tapas listed, helping me or anyone else in their spiritual journey? If they do not, then what is the purpose in focusing more intently than their worth?
  2. Do I know what is the right or wrong thing to do about these events? If I do, what is my obligation to react or not act about them? Would it help my spiritual journey or distract me from the journey?

There are no consistent answers about this, other than “Depends…”

Only answer that Howard has repeatedly conveyed is “Stay focused on that beam of light, be aware of the duality, and work on removing the separation”.

 

** Venki Sun, Apr 15, 2018 at 8:49 AM

Nicely put Howard

 

** Ramesh Sun, Apr 15, 2018 at 8:25 PM

Gaurangbhai’s questions pertain to the events and how to respond to them.  Such events are not within our control, so the matter revolves around attending to them and responding to them.  Unless we shut ourselves up drastically from the world, such events impinge upon at least most of us.  So, blocking them out of our attention span is not an effective option.  Even ordained sannyasins would find that hard.

We are then left to the question of how we respond to them.  Two aspects are in view here: how do we respond to them as concerned members of human community and what we do about them as spiritual aspirants.  If we mix these up, we can easily land in lot of confused tangles which seems to be our issue here..

As members of human community we can respond in myriad ways and, depending on the groups with which we identify, we can form ethical judgments.  This is bound to be varied.  Looking for consistency here is futile.  Why at all should we look for consistency in approaching them?  Even our near and dear ones would disagree on approaches.  Either we take sides and scream or do not take sides and still scream.  Or, scream at the inconsistency of approaches.  In sum, we have no choice but to put up and deal with a variety of responses on the issues on our part as well as that of our friends and non-friends.

Things are different, though, for spiritual aspirants.  As such, we can choose to ignore the events as noise.  Or, we can engage.  If we ignore, we still have our spiritual path ahead of us and our mind set on it.  Is anything lost here, spiritually?  I guess not.  We stay focused on the challenge of our chosen spiritual path as well as we can.  The big demand of this approach is that it asks us to stay above the turbulent flow around us.  It is not easy to ignore its noise, let alone not be tossed by it from time to time.

If we engage, on the other hand, we will do that because we are deeply concerned.  Spiritually speaking, we will be said to be “attached” to whatever in or about the events that concerns us.  So, when we engage we stay aloft, from attachment to our actions or their consequences.  Karma-yoga, eh?  Not easy.  But this is the only way we can stay spiritual and make any spiritual progress.  There is a temptation: it is to think that we may regard our line of engagement itself to be a spiritual pursuit.  We are usually wrong to do so.  Even if the issue is very clearly tilted one way, as we are likely to think especially about our politics, that there is a significant disagreement on it shows that there is a whole other side that we are missing in our zealous conviction that our favored politician is right and others are wrong.  That is why it is best, not necessarily right but just best, to stay close to the middle.  Gita asks us to be yukta-ahara-vihara.  Buddha, Confucius and Aristotle are among others who advocate the middle path.  It is the path of less resistance and less stress.

Alternatively, we can be Gandhian and decide that if our conscience says engaging in one way is right then we should follow it up in action going all the way.  But, because we never can be sure that we are absolutely right, we will have to engage in a totally nonviolent way.  Gandhi was always a fighter and he always engaged, but being assiduously nonviolent.  He even asked to be violent rather than not engaged.  Seems he went too far with that.  An individual has a right not to engage or to engage in their own way, of course only after accepting responsibility thereof.

So, let us break our head on these events and issues and see what happens!  I do not offer solutions, just some thoughts.

 

** Tapas Mon, Apr 16, 2018 at 7:41 PM

I had no idea that making up what I thought a factual list would lead to such a deep philosophical discussion.  I plead guilty of ignorance (taking responsibility).  But, I am glad that we got the benefit of reading this excellent write-up by you transforming a diaphanous topic into a substantial one.  I would not be able to do that.

Thanks, Rameshbhai.  Thanks also to Gaurangbhai for raising the question.

What would be the middle path to publishing a list and not publishing the list?  Publishing a non-list?

 

** Ramesh Tue, Apr 17, 2018 at 11:13 AM

Thank you, Tapas, for your very generous remarks and quite pertinent observations.  Both you and Gaurangbhai are to be commended for raising relevant issues and sharp questions that should make us think very hard.

Philosophy can be done from any fulcrum and this was an example.

I have tended to raise this issue in another garb: that of conflict of values.  When two values end up conflicting, either in the same person or among different people, there is just no solution to it, short of compromise or suppressing one value.

It seems currently polarization has gone to an extent where almost a verbal civil war is taking place.  One may even wonder how civil it is.  In this situation, it is difficult to find a good middle where a true dialog can occur.  The two sides won’t even agree as to what are the facts of the case.

As to the question about the middle between listing or not listing facts, perhaps one may try making two lists: one from each side with what appears to be facts to it.  It would then be interesting to see whether a further list can be made where both sides may more or less agree as to the facts, which may be the basis for a constructive dialog.

In my book Hinduism for Today I detailed a moderate and constructive view of Hinduism paving the middle way between conservative and reform views of Hinduism.  I said there that such an approach can be made to world religions as a whole.  Now, a case may be made that the approach can be applied to the present state of polarization.  Big challenge, to say the least!

1 Comment

  1. Enjoyed reading all the posts.
    Ramanathan.

    I have to sit and contemplate on the topics.

    Not able to do it due to work being made harder by too much tecnology. Clickinduced exhaution.
    Namaskarams.

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