A Discussion With Manatita on Spiritual Philosophy - Part 1
God will always find the way to remind us of our Truth, for there will always be people who will make their lives a medium of His manifestation! The Lantern Carrier is one of them!— Sean Dragon
A Gift of Knowledge
I thank life for blessing me with several teachers who have helped me walk the Spiritual path and seek the Truth in me.
The most recent of them is my beloved Brother Manatita. A real Lantern Carrier who with the wisdom of his writings made me understand how much Light he can offer to someone who seeks the way of Truth.
Therefore, when he accepted to give me an interview with "open" questions on Inner Philosophy, I thought it was a tremendous gift, and so it finally proved, since gave me the ability to clarify various "blurry" points in my knowledge and to deepen my understanding to even more. The most important thing is that I was able to take delight in his word, which is full of Love and Light, and makes me so excited.
I will share this discussion with you, apparently in parts, since it is quite large. I hope it will also be to you the gift of Light that was for me.
The book of Manatita, which is mentioned in the discussion, is "My Guru Sri Chinmoy: Life and Teachings" and is available on Amazon. Information about him can be found in this book or on his HubPages profile.
A Spiritual Adventure
Ioannis: Someone who reads your poems and texts can perceive the Love you want to offer to the world. This, usually, is a characteristic of someone who is happy and therefore wants to share happiness. So, I want to start this discussion at this point. Are you happy? Looking back to your life do you believe it was a happy life or is a life which evolved into a happy one?
Manatita: My life, your life … everyone’s life is in the process of evolution. We are transcending ourselves in the outer world and God also, is transcending Itself in the inner world. It is a process of constant movement in God’s cosmic game, in this field of Lila (Divine Game) and also the self-transcending Beyond.
I was brought up in Christianity and was very devout as a child, even more than my parents. My mother gave me much freedom to visit the evangelists and I took the opportunity to follow them, to their large gathering in tents, marquees and churches throughout the country. You might say that my Heart was on fire for God and Jesus.
So it all started from my childhood and yes, I was as happy, but perhaps even kinder, more self-giving than the everyday kid. Compliments of mom, perhaps. In the first Chapter of my book, I highlight the usual activities that kids did in my time and perhaps we were blessed with less opportunities, but a simpler life.
Moving forward to the age of 30, when I became a Disciple of Sri Chinmoy, I was able to see the common thread of my past and its relationship to the present. One does experience certain pendulums in life, but by and large, my life has been a joyful one. There is a special kind of inner satisfaction that comes with an intense faith in Something Higher … an unwavering certainty of the presence of God.
Re-incarnation helps tremendously. When one knows that this is not the first life … that the soul is immortal … that there is nothing to fear, then there is abundant joy, even in the setbacks along the way. Perfection is a different thing, obviously, but there is a tremendous inner fulfillment in knowing that one has found his/her station in life, and is doing the right thing. Actually, that is the correct way – to live in the Heart, like the child does.
As regards happiness, most happiness is transitory in everyday life. Happiness, more correctly, is Love bubbling forth into the newness and fullness of life. But yes, I’m contented and see everything through the Inner Pilot (God) of the Guru that strengthens me.
Ioannis: Re-incarnation! You really struck a chord here! This knowledge has changed me too, and I want to talk about that a little more. At first, I read in your book:
"I remember always wanting to go to school, to do good, to help, and to be cheerful."
And you said above that as a child your Heart was on fire for God and Jesus. I ask, do you believe all this came as a result of your previous lives?
Manatita: Yes, most certainly! Re-incarnation explains so much! Why is a child of three composing and playing the violin? Again, all the God-men I respect including my own teacher, speaks of it with authority. Sri Chinmoy teaches that it is difficult to find a master of his calibre, without having done some work before.
Reincarnation exists for the growth and development of the soul, which is immortal. The Bhagavad Gita, a book revered in India, is much clearer on this:
“Weapons cannot cleave the soul. Fire cannot burn the soul. Water cannot drench the soul. Wind cannot dry the Soul.”
We have many desires and we cannot fulfill them all in one lifetime. God is ever-compassionate and allows us to fulfill our needs. Bear in mind that Yoga Philosophy (Spirituality), sees you as a soul, manifesting in a temple, vehicle or instrument. You are not a body, but a soul.
The body needs the soul for its realization; the soul needs the body for its manifestation … to adore, worship or glorify the Divine. The Heart is the shrine and the soul is the deity inside the shrine.
Death and life are like two rooms. When we are tired, we take rest in the bedroom (death) and at other times we are in our living room (life)
“Death is not the end
Death can never be the end.
Death is the road.
Life is the traveller.
The Soul is the Guide …”
“Our mind thinks of death.
Our heart thinks of life
Our soul thinks of Immortality” –Sri Chinmoy
Reincarnation is the process of casting out our worn-out bodies, and entering into a new form, mostly human, for manifestation. We are ever-evolving and it is very unusual for the soul to go backwards. Again, it stores and remembers our past memories.
Ioannis: I loved your metaphor with the bedroom and the living room! It's both simple, and clarifying! But there is my next question:
Why cannot Christianity accept reincarnation?
In discussions, I had with some Christian theologians; they had expressed the opinion that it is a very dangerous idea because belief in reincarnation may affect one’s understanding of morality and motivation for moral living. Someone could think:
"Ok! I have many lives to live, so I'll do whatever I like in this one, without moral limits, I will enjoy every passion and lust, and I'll become a better person in a next life."
What is your answer to this point of view?
Manatita: I was extremely devout as a child and remember much of the Bible. In the same way, I have been with Guruji for 36 years and remember a lot of his writings. Sometimes, depending on the context in which I’m speaking, it is necessary to quote and at other times, I simply paraphrase. Long way of telling you that the bedroom and living room metaphors are not mines but Guruji’s.
Sri Chinmoy is unique and unparalleled, in my experience, when it comes to the use of spiritual language and volume. He even surpasses Rumi, one of my favourites and Rumi wrote roughly 60,000 poems!
Reincarnation is there in the Christian scriptures, but it’s not clear. Some even thought that Christ was an incarnation of Elias. Again, there are those who say that scriptures have been altered and of course there is the Aquarian Gospel of Jesus, The Christ. Quite different! We see this in ordinary translations today. Two people, speaking the same language, translate something and come up with varying meanings.
Why does this happen? Because there is a scholarly way and then there is the way of the Heart. Scriptures teach us that Truth has been revealed to babes and the illiterate and hidden from the intellect. One must be born again! That which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit, as was said by the Christ.
Re-birth is a sudden illumination in the inner flowering of the Heart, the Spiritual Heart. This happens in different ways: Via listening to a lecture, prayer, the grace of a Master or through reading a book, as happened to me at the age of thirty. I believe that your inner flowering is already in progress, otherwise you would not have found me and we would not be doing this right now.
Now the word ‘heaven’ has been translated as ‘sky’ by some and even as a child I remember that we all looked to the sky for God. The Christ teaches us, that the Kingdom of Heaven is within. He didn’t say above. The word ‘Heart’ is pretty vague and unless we enter the mystical life, we do not realize that we are Spirit beings with a very powerful spark called the Soul literally inside us.
So ignorance is another reason why some reject reincarnation. There is a veil in the mind and Hearts of many humans and unless we get the necessary inner experience, we are not ready for progress. So the books are not really at fault, but we humans are. God Himself has designed it this way.
In answer to your last two lines, Reincarnation does not exist without the Law of Karma. They go together. As a man soweth, so shall he reap. What goes round will come round. This is an inescapable law of the Cosmos. All actions will produce reactions; all causes will produce effects. This is the law of Karma in a nutshell.
The farmer tills the soil, waits for the rain, gives the right manure and six months later gets a bumper harvest, but the one who is less dutiful, will not do so well. I have to tell you though, that we humans, both from East and West, still continue in our ignorance. Christianity has introduced the concept of hell fire and damnation to induce fear and the Seers of the East Karma, yet we still wander lost in ignorance, paying little heed.
One can say that it’s the play of forces … that God has designed it this way and when the God Hour strikes, humans change, not before. I was thirty before I became fully conscious of my own immortality … before I knew that I was a soul and not a body … a divine being having a human experience and not the other way around.
Now when I started on Hub Pages 8 years ago, I said the same thing but started gently. Later, I became bolder, firmer, as I have realized that many Hubbers' are much further along the road. So we are growing, Bro. In a spiral, perhaps, but nothing stays the same.
I see hope and vision in everything! Even in what Donald Trump and young Kim are doing. On one level, it is so beautiful! So promising for mankind! Yet you will find many skeptics …those who say yes, but … life has always been like that.
So those who are fatalists, like in the last two lines of your question, are unconscious of Karma, but are largely a product of ignorance (limitations, imperfections, bondage, and negative tendencies) all which may be a product of their God-given packages right now.
The East is fully conscious of Karma, but the average person is caught in the meshes of Maya (illusion –we take for real or permanent the phenomenal, which is really the body of a Higher plan), as much as those in the West.
End of part 1.
To be continued… (link to part 2)
This article is an excerpt from my book "Manatita, The Lantern Carrier".
A book dedicated to all the seekers of the Light which I am sure that it will lift you up!
© 2018 Ioannis Arvanitis