A Discussion With Manatita on Spiritual Philosophy - Part 7
Yes, I believe in one God, one Source. Love of God is like a tree — the life-tree — and it has many branches. Each of the branches has its own identity and its own name, such as Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam and so forth. But they are still branches of the same tree.— Sri Chinmoy
An Ongoing Adventure
In the sixth part of this spiritual adventure, my Brother, Manatita helped me, and I hope you too, to approach the Spiritual path of the Heart. In this seventh part, we will continue with some questions about forgiveness and self-protecting. I hope you'll enjoy it as I did.
Spiritual Adventure, Part 7
Ioannis: Hallelujah Brother! Hallelujah!
What a Spiritual treasure was that! Let me try something to see if I have understood well.
My wish always was to help my brothers and sisters - and as we said the right approach is to serve and not to help - and through this, I thought that I will fulfil my longing to realise God. But after your answer, I can see that my wish it could be even an obstacle in my path. No matter my good intentions, my trying to serve while I am not really able to do so, it may track me out of the path and make me lose my Great Goal.
I have been there! Guilt, self-condemnation and sadness when I couldn't be as helpful as I wished to be or when I caused problems instead of helping. How does the wise saying go?
"The road to hell is full of good intentions!"
But if I reach my Goal, Self-Realisation, then I will really be able to serve others, because I will know my powers and the way, and my wish will be fulfiled too!
Is this the meaning of your answer, my Brother?
Manatita: Some of your questions confuse me, because you are bringing in the summary of what I said in an intellectual way. Service will definitely take us to God. But the way we understand seva (means ‘selfless service’) may be different from others. Seva comes from the Heart and not the mind. It is a soulful or selfless outpouring of God's Love without intentions, meaning no expectations. We serve for serve's sake. Again, one must feel called to serve and in the right measure. To serve we need to be anchored in the Light or we will weaken ourselves.
Yes! I did not say that, but longing for realisation can be viewed as an obstacle in the higher scheme of things. We want to Love God for the sake of loving God. But in the beginning, one cannot remove the subtle selfishness. It goes with the territory, so to speak. But the Heart is very dear to God and as long as there is purity of intentions, He will lead you to the right Path. Ours is to serve … to make the effort. Do not jump to higher thoughts so fast.
Service comes from the purity of the Heart, but at the same time, if you feel that you cannot serve, then why do spiritual masters accept us? People serve in a multiplicity of ways and to serve is to inspire, awaken, touch others … reach the Heart ... illumine. One may do this in his own home. But yes, the highest form of service is done by the realised soul.
Ioannis: Ah! The intellectual way... You know, this must be the "curse" of being a scientist, a practising physicist, for over thirty years. Ha! Ha!
The truth is that I am trying to put myself in the place of our readers, and I know that many of them - mainly the Greek ones - are more familiar with the way of the mind. You have to admit though that I am trying to serve this way, so, please, excuse my confusing summary. After all, you always have the skill to clarifying things! I think that you have got into trouble with me Bro, but you are always free to give up! Ha! Ha!
My question has been answered, so let's move on. I have noticed that in some cases when you speak about forgiveness, you refer to self-protecting too. I think that is an essential theme because I believe that Jesus' saying:
"But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also." (Matthew 5:39),
What do you say about that?
Manatita: Yes, yes. Definitely misunderstood.
Actually I was trying to serve before you even asked. The Temple is the instrument of God! Of what use is it to God, if it allows itself to be trampled over? Sri Krishna wanted Arjuna to fight on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Arjuna initialled delayed, until Sri Krishna told him that these people were already dead anyway. Arjuna was just to be the instrument. Sound advice for any pure Heart relying on the Divine as Arjuna did.
So sometimes we have to fight. The motive, however, must be pure. Is there sincerity of purpose? Purity of intent? Remember, the Light that dwells within knows all. The Heart … the Heart! Spirituality is the language of the Heart. There is a story of the Sikh Guru who not only forgave his soldier for treating the wounds of the enemy, but praised him for understanding the Guru's Philosophy.
God never, never excludes duty, in whatever form. So we have to do our duty, surrendering the results to God. It is our Hearts that He looks at. All the fuss that these puritans make about abortions, are they in the woman's Heart? Do they know the reason? If a woman gives her child away, does that mean that she is bad? Can we read her intentions?
Do you know the one about the priest and the prostitute? How bad he treated her? It is a long story, but when they got to heaven, the woman was given a huge Palace, while the priest got a simple house. "There must be something wrong." He said angrily. "This is a mistake!"
"No mistake." Said Peter. "Have a look at her Heart in our records." Then the priest looked and all the time he was saying bad things, he saw that the woman was thanking God and saying what a good man he was. She was also constantly asking for forgiveness and being sorry for the way that she had to make her livelihood.
All this, my brother, to tell you that motive or intent is crucial! With a knife I can peel fruits or with a knife I can stab someone. A small action done selflessly without expectation of reward, is worth more than egoistic selfish actions which may appear to have a better outcome. It is our inner attitude that we need to be aware of.
So yes, we may need to defend ourselves, otherwise the cold and callous, will have no qualms about sending us to God. Why should we allow them? We will have no chance to manifest God or do His bidding. So we must defend ourselves, while maintaining our dignity and poise, using minimum of force, with joy and concern for the other in our Hearts.
Finally, it is good to be humble. Humility allows us to avoid false modesty and to get joy in the other person's joy. When this is present, we feel no wish to hurt, even if we should still protect ourselves. God will not ask us to be the punch bag of others, as it not only delays our progress, but the perpetrators also, who will remain lost in their ignorance.
Ioannis: I agree with you my Brother, and I think that this is a crucial point. You have referred to a sublime part of Bhagavad-Gita. I was always fascinated by these words of Sri Krishna to Arjuna:
"Dedicating all actions to Me and with your mind fixed on Me, freed from the feelings of hope and sadness and cured of mental fever, Hey Arjun, you must fight. Because he who has given up all desires and has become free from the feelings of “I” and “Mine” eventually attains peace." - Bhagavad-Gita: A Conversation between Sri Krishna and Arjun
I think that this part may include the hidden message of Jesus' allegory. Maybe the order "turn to them the other cheek" is an order for a change of mind. It is an incitement to action, not to passivity. To turn our faces from the "problem" and fix our look to God.
What do you think about that?
Manatita: I do not know Bro.
Guruji explains it, I believe, in his play 'The Son', based upon the life of the Christ. This is not the only puzzle.
The Christ is also supposed to have said: "I am the way, the truth and the life ..." now what about the Chinese and Japanese?
Asian countries give us Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Hinduism ... perhaps the most liberal, broadminded of the God-based Faiths.
They give us Taoism, Shintoism, Confucianism and so forth. So what about these 67% of the world’s religions.
We prefer to teach of inner experiences ... knowledge? To show you how to do this. Then in three months ... six months ... a year or so of following the Principles, your own Heart or Soul will teach you.
Life and its discernment are based on Faith true, but inner experiences will guide you to places that Manatita cannot. Mysticism is very real and Grace will teach you all things.
Still, what you are saying is sublime! Give yourself to God ... surrender your small will to the Will Supreme and our Lord Itself, will walk with you.
Ioannis: Do you play tricks on me, Brother?
You say that you don't know and then you give a great answer!
You put on the table another sublime phrase of Jesus:
"I am the way, the truth and the life..." and then you give the hidden message by saying:
"We prefer to teach of inner experiences ... knowledge? To show you how to do this. Then in three months ... six months ... a year or so of following the Principles, your own Heart or Soul will teach you."
I believe that Jesus came for all the seekers of the world, not only for those who call their self Christians. After all, who are the right Christians? Who has the truth? Orthodox Christians say that they are right and the other Christian dogmas are heresies! Catholicism says the same, and so is going on!
Jesus had to speak to people who didn't have a knowledge base to understand the Spiritual way of life. So He had to talk in parables which were allegories at the same time, leaving under the words the message for the seeker. So in the phrase "I am the way, the truth and the life..." I think that He doesn't speak for Himself as Jesus but for the Christ that lives within every one of us. Our Inner Divine Self who is the Son of God. The Heart and the Soul that you mentioned in your answer. This is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Are the Principles of Spiritual Life: goodness, love, mercy, tolerance, soulful self-giving... all those that you have repeatedly marked along this discussion.
I cannot accept that the other 67% of the world’s religions, that you mentioned are wrong, because through my theological studies I found that the core is the same for all religions, the core is your last words:
"Give yourself to God ... surrender your small will to the Will Supreme and our Lord Itself, will walk with you."
Yes, my Brother, our inner experiences will guide us to places that nobody else but Inner Self, the Christ, the Buddha, the Krishna - name it as you wish - can. Mysticism is very real, and Grace will teach us all things. Thank you for reminding us!
Do you have any remarks, objections or corrections, before we pass to the next question?
Manatita: No Bro, you seem to have covered it well, although you are using a lot of reasoning. The Jnani Path is valid, but ours is the devotional way. Do not try so hard to convince others as they too, have their story. In the way of the Heart, (Bhakti Yoga) we are merely offering service to aspiring seekers… those who are receptive to it or vibrate on this wavelength.
Not everyone will want this as souls differ. Know that this is also ok. Never feel that you have to convince others. Clarify yes, but not convince. Of course, there are differences in our characters, but I am thinking all the time of how I am representing my Guruji, Sri Chinmoy. Ours is the simple way, the way of the Heart.
I did not say that the other 67% of religions are wrong. All religions are valid. We are all streams in the river, heading to the Ocean of Bliss. Therefore, I hope that you understood.
End of part 7.
To be continued… (link to part 8)
© 2018 Ioannis Arvanitis