How liberated beings recognize each other...
I will now set out to narrate how a strife among belief groups is caused by myths and fables of the followers, who miss on the essence of the teachings of their teachers, gurus, masters, prophets and saints.
The related incident spawning this narration is a developing story in a place called Santa Monica, California, U S of A. The incident is reported in The Blaze (10 Dec 2011).
What is happening in Santa Monica, is a clash of petty egos, each group believing that one is more right than the other, and all this in the name of religion - or non-religion. In more details:
Come Christmas, the Christian community here, puts up Nativity scenes in the Central Park, to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ, every year.
A surprise awaited them this year, when they saw the place being already occupied by the local Atheists.
By the look of things, Atheists here, are out to make the local populace aware that God etc are all humbug.
To the credit of their intelligence, I must say, that they have invented a nice way to put forth their message: they have booked the park in advance through proper procedure and put up a display of Thomas Jefferson's quote, "All religions are alike; they are founded on myths and fables." bang in the spot where the faithful followers of Christ had planned to place their Nativity scenes.
A quarrel has already broken out and charges are being traded on either side. No side is willing to give way to the other.
And why? Because I am holier than thou!
Either side is adamant on own belief system. Christians have acquired it through family and community conditioning and the atheists have acquired theirs through the rash, adventurous and revolting thinking of the youth.
Both refuse to study, learn and contemplate upon the merits of the other side.
If only Christians would say to themselves," Okay, Christmas is close by. Let us go through what our Lord Jesus has taught....
....Let us meditate over his teachings.
....Let us find out how he reacted to situations,
....Let us find out how he answered questions,
....Let us emulate him,
....Let us live Jesus, Let us be Jesus,
....Let us truly qualify ourselves as true Christians."
But no, that is not to be. Our Christ-Followers are too busy in crafting Nativity scenes.
Nativity scenes are more important than Jesus! Why?
"Because, Christmas is a time for good food, fun, frolic, holidaying.
"Because, Christmas is not a time for Jesus.
"Because, for Jesus, the Church has reserved Sunday mornings! For the present, Nativity scenes must be put up at any cost! Community pride is at stake!"
"Pride? What pride? Jesus Christ has taught humility. How can his followers be proud of anything?"
"Humility? Oh, Humility; We know humility. It is in the Bible.
"If you have humility, you inherit the kingdom of heaven.
"We will surely inherit the heaven, we all will, because when we kneel down before the altar and the priest, we show humility.
"Our Lord sees this every Sunday! But we are sure those Atheists shall never inherit the kingdom of heaven, because they do not kneel down before the altar like we do and besides block our nativity scenes!
"Jesus sees all. He will take good care of these enemies of religion, and shall never allow them entry to heaven. We are sure!"
On another street, "Viva", the toast goes round, because the faithful cannot display their Nativity scenes this year in the Central Park! Victory is ours!
"We will retire God. God, what God? Where's God? Who has seen God?
"Prophet? What Prophet? Why should anyone send Prophets here on the earth? Are we not happy without the Prophets? "
Ask them: Were your ancestors very happy before when they were staying in caves and jungles all insecure and uncivilized, before the society was formed and morals had developed?
Ask them: Would you have developed into well regulated communities with moral fiber firmly woven into you, without the saints, the prophets?
Ask them: Would even one of the men, been able to create and enliven the vision of peace and therefore of prosperity, without the touch of divinity as did the prophets and saints?
I am sure they would be speechless. Because they would not have meditated on these issues. If they were to meditate on issues of such gravity they would have got the answers which Jesus kept giving throughout, and then they would have cooled down, matured and would have never indulged in mischief of the type they have perpetrated in the Central Park.
Thus you see, belief-groups clash through the ignorance of the essentials. This is the history of our civilization. Unable to rise above their limited ego-states, they project I over you, strife over peace and rituals over religion.
But this is not so with those elated beings, who, by the grace of their guru, and constant study of the exercises prescribed by them, meditation, contemplation, discussion et al, have risen above the mundane, who have experienced the bliss of that universal identity with oneself and thus dissolved their ego.
How do such persons exist among us, though fully detached from our limited sensual world?
Here is a story of how such enlightened beings quickly recognize the greatness of the religious principles taught by others:
Gasan was a Zen Guru, a Sadguru, a complete Guru, the Master.
One of his disciples once visited the big town of Tokyo.
On returning, he asked of his Master, " Most Respected Sir, have you read the new testament of the Bible? Do you know what a certain Jesus had taught to his followers?”
Gasan said," I have never heard of this Jesus. Who was he? What is in the Bible? Please read and tell me, since you know already."
The disciple then read out Mathew from New Testament.
He kept reading and Gasan kept hearing until the disciple came up to the Sermon on the Mount.
Jesus said, "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?"
Suddenly, Gasan signaled the disciple to stop, closed his eyes, and sat there meditating.
After a while, he opened his eyes and said,
"Whoever uttered these words is an enlightened being. What you have read to me is the essence of everything I have been trying to teach you here!"
…. And went into silence.
What did Gasan mean?
The essence of all religions is:
Surrender before the creator of the universe.
He is all, He is everything, He is everywhere.
He takes care of everything...
Why should I bother myself about the world and about me?
Let me only remember him, He will take care of the rest.
Says the lover of the God, "Lord, free me from needless worries and help me to put my trust in you. Make my first concern your kingdom and your righteousness. Help me to live each day with trust and gratitude for your providential care for me".
In Islam, it is said, you do his Jikr ( remembrance) , why to do Fikr (care, worry, concern) of the world and of you? He caters to all, big or small. Such is the nature of total surrender.
This is Aatma-Neevedan, the ninth stage of devotion (Bhakti) in Hinduism.
Jesus precisely taught this to his followers in the Parable of the Lilies on the mount.
He pointed out to his followers that the Lilies do not care about their cladding, how they look etc. They simply breeze along, in the ecstasy of being as it comes. Yet the Lilies are better dressed than King Solomon. Why? Because they do only Jikr. The Lord does their Fikr!
Gasan recognized this great truth, indeed the only essential truth and rediscovered it in the voice of Jesus!
Let us all hope that the warring factions of Santa Monica understand this truth, keep away from fruitless strife, and begin contemplating on the teachings of their great guru, as the Christmas approaches. Amen!