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Dohe of Kabir

How Can Indians Become Tolerant? By Understanding Kabir!

हिन्दू कहें मोहि राम पियारा, तुर्क कहें रहमाना,
आपस में दोउ लड़ी-लड़ी  मुए, मरम न कोउ जाना।

(Hindus say we worship Rama and Muslims say Rahman. They both die, fighting with each other without even getting a glimpse of him.)

Look at Facebook walls, flooded with posts about intolerance, religious hatred and you will realize the significance of what Kabir said many centuries ago.

As Kabir says, we have converted gods into our possessions and we have brought into limits the limitless.

If one looks at it closely, we stick to a god or a religion because it  makes us part of a tribe, or a group. Belonging to a group gives us a feeling of tremendous amount of safety and security. Religious people are not at all interested in god, they are rather interested in this feeling of security that being part of a cult brings.

I can surely say that the intolerance is born out of a false understanding of religion. Rather, a deliberate and wrong understanding of religion which is born out of our insecurity as an animal.

All the spiritual masters spoke about religion at an individual level. Some masters like Osho and Buddha did talk about being part of a community of seekers; but there focus was always an individual.

It is quite clear that the kind of religions we have today, will lead to more and more tension and intolerance. As the times become more difficult, due to increasing population, limited resources, uneven distribution of wealth, people will be more concerned about their own religion and less tolerant about the others.

tolerance

On a different level, the issue of tolerance is not only about religion. I would rather say, in this particular view, we are rather over tolerant- we tolerate it when people have no water to drink, work in unhealthy and unsafe work conditions, die without getting a morsel of food, are subjected to forced labor etc.

We discuss religious tolerance so much simply because we belong to a particular religion and are afraid of some other religion becoming more powerful than ours.

I look at the above couplet of Kabir in a much wider sense. A Hindu loves Rama, Muslim loves Rahman, Christian loves Christ and so on. Similarly, a capitalist loves situation to make money, a social worker loves the problems in the society, political leaders love divide among the people.

As Kabir rightly says, everyone loves what gives him security and a true religious man is one, who dares to face this insecurity, discovers his individuality and ceases to be a part of a cult.

 

Categories
Society

Are Our Religious Rituals Just Placebos?

The way science is evolving, is quite interesting to have a look at. Many things, which we were told were useless, are again being proven to be correct. I am afraid to say, religious rituals are probably one of them. Before we actually dig into this stuff, we should first take out a minute to understand what placebo means and what it is all about.

Placebo reminds us of something which does not work, rather gives false hope. For instance, if the doctor is welcoming and not depressing, the chances and speed of recovery are much higher. We might doubt them, but placebos do work. It is also observed that if you give sugar pills to the patient, saying they are medicines, the chances of recovery are higher.

Just for an example, it is observed that making people wait for some time in que, before they actually enter the Disney Land improves the overall satisfaction that user gets out of visiting the Disney Land. So, I learn that Disney Land manipulates the wait times for optimum user satisfaction.

Another example is, wine tastes better in a costlier glass compared to an ordinary glass, and even expert wine tasters experienced this. The difference in taste could not be felt, when the tasters were blind folded.

When a set of people suffering from back pain were treated by acupuncture, all of them reported a drop in pain; whereas only half of them were treated with correct acupuncture.

Placebo means something does work, not because it is capable of doing so, but because we believe it will do the work. For past many days, I am reading a lot about placebo and work of many researchers around placebo.

As scientists discovered more and more ‘real’ medicines, placebo was looked upon as a sham. But, the scientific research shows that placebo does work. Most interestingly, it works even if you believe that it is a placebo.

We may deny it, but placebo is altering our everyday experiences. I would suggest the readers to go through this detailed article, which Seth Godin published on Medium. This will save me from repeating what he has already said and I can move on to the further part (you can also skip reading it, not reading won’t affect your experience of reading this article.).

The whole gist of the above mentioned article is,

  1. Placebos do work, they work more effectively as you move up in Maslow’s pyramid. That means, placebos show more effect when they are about something like self-realization or finding happiness in life than when they are about your basic needs like hunger, sleep, etc.
  2. Physical placebos are much stronger. This means, if you carry out some physical activity, the impact of the placebo will be more. Or as Seth has stated, fake acupuncture will be more effective than sugar pill as some physical activities, i.e. rituals are involved in it.

This pushed me to look at religious rituals in altogether different way.

Imagine, we are living in 10th century, without medicines, amidst of all the uncertainties of nature. And what we have at our rescue, is a placebo, a big placebo, that is, religion. Rituals make placebos even stronger; hence all the rituals i.e. karmakanda.

If after all the scientific experimentation, we agree that placebos work, then we will also have to agree that chanting some Mantra or Stotra can help you to cure fast from certain diseases or remain immune to them.

If you sing a Stotra as it is, the placebo might work; but if you put in some rituals (you wear amber clothes, take bath in the river early morning, eat Prasada etc.) the placebo effect doubles.

Seems our ancestors had much better understanding of how our psyche functions. Placebos not only alter emotions and feelings, but can also introduce actual physical changes, the latest research says.

It is good to practice some placebos on personal level, if they help you to lead a better life. But, one has to remember that a placebo is just a placebo.

I am not in favor of promoting Karmakanda because the benefits caused are little compared to the evil it creates. At the same time, the problem with us humans is, over the period, the placebo will become more important than the human beings for whom it is we will start killing each other to preserve the placebo. This happened with religions. Religions, as they say, are for human beings; over the ages, human beings are being killed over religion.

I certainly believe that on personal level, these placebos might help; only one has to remember that placebo is just a placebo; nothing more than that.

 

 

 

 

Categories
Current Issues

Are We Tolerant, Intolerant or Fools?


Suddenly, everyone is commenting about how tolerant or intolerant India as a nation is. Social networks, media houses, individuals and groups of individuals; everyone wants to be listened. I don’t know, how tolerant or intolerant we Indians are, I can certainly say, we are all fools. It is quite easy to provoke us, make us verbal about something and then using all the tides to fulfil some vested interest. This has been happening here for years and the trend will remain so for many coming years or even centuries.

Do we even know what does the word tolerance mean? We keep on living our cunning everyday life as usual, without bothering about compassion, tolerance, love and what not. When something or someone makes us feel insecure, or tries to take away our piece of pie or threatens our existence or interests, then only we become sensitive and verbal about all these topics.tolerence

I am least bothered to comment on what some film star or his wife has said somewhere. I am least bothered about the truth and falsity of the claims made. As a meditater, I am only concerned about one fundamental question- is a normal person walking on the streets around tolerant? Am I or my friends tolerant? If no, what is the way towards tolerance? It makes me worry that tolerance today is not something which makes up an essential part of our life but a weapon to trigger violence and hatred.

I have a question worth giving a thought- why do we need a movie to tell us how superstitious our lives are? Can’t we know that just by looking at our lives? The basic problem with all of us today is, we do not have time to observe and think about our own actions and our own lives. We need a movie to tell us that we are living a superstitious life which is worth laughing upon. We need a TV show to tell us the problems in our immediate neighbourhood. We like to run a marathon to create awareness about some problem but we take no efforts to face the problem and solve it. Are we becoming more intelligent as the time is progressing? I doubt. We are rather becoming shallower, quickly triggered by some piece of news which might be distorted as well. We are very eager to express ourselves without caring even a bit about do we really have anything worth sharing.

The problem with social media is, it gives us a feeling that we have accomplished something without us doing anything in the reality. I don’t know, if the lacs of comments and thousands of discussions will actually do anything to make us more tolerant or even intolerant. Within next two days, we would have happily forgotten everything. The second question worth asking is, who is benefitting from all this? Media companies, brands, politicians, social networks? I think all of them but not the individual who is wasting his time and energy in all of this.

 

Categories
Current Issues

Can We Bring Back Peace By Destroying The Concept of God?

Few days ago, I noticed a very reputed Marathi writer giving his opinion- peace cannot be achieved without destroying the devilish concept of ‘god’ which men have created. To make it simple, this highly acclaimed author claims that we will have to destroy the concept of god and then only we can attain peace.

If one looks at the violence which is taking place around in the name of religion and god, one might think that whatever this writer is saying, makes sense. Religions and gods have been cause of more deaths than anything else. I agree.

Now, the most important question- Will the violence stop if we somehow give a full stop to the concept of god?

I don’t think so. I agree with the author till the point he says that tremendous amount of violence goes on in the name of religion and god. That does not mean that destroying the concept of god and religions will bring us back the peace. No, peace is not that cheap.

violence

 

Why destroying gods and religions won’t bring back the peace? The simple answer is, if you destroy gods, people (rather we) will find something else to do violence under the name of. God or religion is just a reason or excuse to bring out the violence which is there inside us. Unless and until we get rid of the violence inside us, peace won’t come.

From where does the violence come?

Have you ever given it a thought? What makes us violent? Along with some other things, our insecurity makes us violent. We become violent when we feel insecure. It is not just a chance that the most violent person we have heard of, Adolf Hitler, was probably the most insecure person as well. Hitler was afraid of death.

If we remove gods and religions from our minds and our societies, we will hook our violence to something else. Nothing new, we know, how much violence has been done on the racial basis. The way we are moving ahead shows that there will be little violence around the religions and gods, and more around money, water, food or even Mars!

The problem of violence and peace will not be solved unless we do something about the insecurity which we have within.

Another question to ask- Why are we so much insecure?

The simple answer is, because of our ego. The stronger the ego on the surface, more insecure the person is within. We have been raised in a fashion which strengthens our ego. We have been taught in a fashion which makes us more competitive and hence, sows the seeds of insecurity within us.

The urge to possess more and more is also a cause of violence. This urge to possess also comes from our insecurity. Have you noticed? We are not satisfied with one house. We need a second or even a third home. We are not happy with one car; we need more than one. We are acquiring more and more things outwardly to fulfil our inner security. It is this attitude of us which leads to violence.

How is one going to solve this issue? As I said earlier, peace is not cheap, it comes with a great cost. The cost is our ego which is constantly looking for nourishment. Once the ego dissolves, peace arrives.

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Dohe of Kabir Dohe of Kabir 1

Kabir on truth – Doha #8 [Truth and Falsity]

सांच बराबर तप नही, झूठ बराबर पाप ।
जाके हिरदय म साच है, ताके हिरदय हिर आप
[There is no meditation is effective as truth and no sin as grave as falsity. Lord is present in the heart of one, whose heart is filled with truth.]
Once again, Kabir left me speechless. I have a collection hundreds of dohas of Saint Kabir. I make it a point to go through them once a few months and then elaborate one of them. Today, in the process of finding a doha, I stumbled upon this piece, a Doha of Kabir on truth . What makes these two lines so special?
Being truthful brings a joy along with itself and that is enough reason to be truthful. Hence, there is no point in describing the benefits of speaking truth. We are many times told to speak truth for some particular reason. The one, who speaks truth for some reason is not a truthful being. Saint Kabir deliberately says ‘the one whose heart filled with truth’. He did not say the one who always speaks truth. Speaking truth is not important but it is important to have a heart full of truth.
When we decide to speak truth, it is a decision of our mind. It is a calculated decision- as we speak truth only if it benefits us in some form or the other. This doha of Kabir on truth is not talking about such superficial truthfulness. Kabir here is talking about a heart which is full of truth and hence, has no space left for falsity.
At the same time, Kabir says that there is no sin as grave as falsity. This sounds quite contradictory with the everyday experience- where telling lies is the easiest way to cope up. Infinite are the occasions where one is tempted to tell lies. Kabir says, Hari (Lord Krishna) stays in the hearts which are full of truth. But, as we all know, Lord Krishna’s life was itself full of diplomacy and lies. When we give it a bit of thought, we realize that Kabir is not talking about the truth and lies in ordinary sense. He is talking about being true to yourself. You can tell lies to people and still be truthful to yourself. This does not justify frequently telling lies, but just emphasises that being truthful to yourself is the most important thing.
I remember beloved Osho saying that it can be tolerated if you cheat others but never cheat yourself, the Buddha inside.
This may suddenly trigger the question- “Is it okay if we tell lies?”
My take is, why bother about lies? As Kabir says, try to have a heart full of truth. In your sincere and honest journey, there might come an inevitable occasion where you need to lie. Just ensure that you are truthful to yourself!
As Saint Kabir says, having falsity in your heart is the sin. These two lines of Kabir make me think- we have so many people who are always right and always speak true. How many of them have authenticity in their hearts? Speaking truth is very easy, but attaining is a heart full of truth is meditation, an outcome of awareness. Such truthfulness is not an outcome of fear, pretention or anything else but it is born out of a clarity- a clarity about yourself. When one clearly understand who he is and what his way is, truth becomes his basic nature.

See the Complete Collection of Kabir ke Dohe

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Dohe of Kabir Dohe of Kabir 1

Dohe of Kabir # 6

Saint Kabir makes us stop still with the helps of his two liners, called Doha. This beautiful Doha of Kabir is worth a thousand lines-

माँगन मरण समान है, मत माँगो कोई भीख ।
माँगन से तो मरना भला, यह सतगुरु की सीख

English Translation-

(Do not ask for anything. To ask for anything is like being dead. My master teaches me that it is better to die than to ask for something. )

It can be seen that Saint Kabir is very much against asking. Saint Kabir is not saying that asking money is not desirable or asking for favors is bad. He simply says that all the demands should be stopped. Saint Kabir refers to all demands as begging  There must have been some reason behind these lines of Kabir. It is interesting to see the mind of a person who is asking for something. He is not satisfied. All of us are unsatisfied and hence we keep on asking for many things. One more thing is, asking comes out of insecurity. The persons who are insecure are more demanding. Many times, we ask out of our greed. Saint Kabir says, simply drop all the insecurities, greed and leave this habit of asking.

Saint Kabir equates this habit of asking for favors to death. He firmly says that asking for anything is just a sign of being dead. At the end, he says that it is better to die rather than asking favors. The question my come up in the minds of the reader that is it not justified if a really needy person asks for something? The answer is also very clear- when you need something really, you get it without even asking for it. So, if you need something and you ask for it, it shows that you do not have the trust in the existence. If you need something and you do not get it, the conclusion to be drawn is, you do not need it.

Saint Kabir has very rightly said that it is better to be dead than asking for favors. The very process of asking and demanding shows that you do not trust the existence

See the Complete Collection of Kabir ke Dohe

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Jagannath Kunte

Jagannath Kunte : A man beyond words

I do not know if I know this strange man jagannath Kunte in so much details so as to write an article about him. But, one thing is sure, he is not a man of this world. He is made up of different salt. Some different aura.

Jagannath Kunte

The first encounter I had with him when I was working as secretary of Philosophy Club. A lecture was to be arranged and I thought he was the best person we could invite. From somewhere i got his number and he answered the call. He came for the lecture without asking for even a single Rupee.

Later on, Jagannath Kunte was not at all a part of my life. I was quite buisy reading different books and other stuff. In last week, I again got a chance to meet him. I in the very first visit, bought all the six books written by him and to be honest, could not put down the first book Narmade Har Har and finished it hurriedly.

Apart from reading the books, I got opportunity to watch him from a closer distance. And, certainly, he is extra ordinary. His eyes are innocent and frank. His being is truthful. It confirms my belief that Swami jagannath Kunte is certainly not a man of this world.

I have read about many saints who were full of grace. After visiting Jagannath Kunte, I can say that I have seen one of them.

 

Update:

I kept on meeting Swami Jagannath Kunte after this meeting. I was fortunate enough to be able to meet him 4-5 times after that. In the consecutive meetings, he asked me to read all of his books, which I certainly did. Here is a post which I have written about his famous book, Narmade Har Har-

Narmade Har Har- Exceptional blend of mysticism and writing skills

Read More about Jagannath Kunte >

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Categories
philosophy

Nothing good, nothing bad

A few days ago, got a chance to read a wonderful book written by the master Osho. The book had in it one very wonderful statement- “In life, there are no good decisions and bad decisions. There are only wise decisions and fool decisions.”

I was shocked by this out of earth understanding. Yes, in life, in reality, there is nothing good and at the same time there is nothing bad. All the decisions that we take are either wise or they are foolish.

At first sight, this seems to be quite senseless. But when contemplated upon, we can easily see that the good and bad do not exist. In this flow of life, your decisions are either wise or they are fool. Other than this, they carry no quality.

The good and bad are designed out by man. The definitions of good and bad differ along with the time, they are very fragile and momentary definitions. What ever we do, is either wise or it is foolish!

Categories
mysticism

It is better that we die

This can be rather a bit shocking post title to read for all of the readers here. I have been always know as a life celebrating person. Today too, I am not at all life negative. I am not at all worried or under tension. It is generally observed that those who prove to be unsuccessful in their lives, write these types of posts. So, the very first point, I love life and I celebrate it.

But still, when I look around at the people, the way we all live, I feel that this is not the way to live. I can see that all the flowers are being crushed; under traditions, under so called rubbish prestige issues, under dogmas and what not. So, the very first thought, that comes within is, it is better to die than to live such a life.

But again, I come to realize that death is not going to solve the problem. If we die, we are being an ostrich.  When ostrich sees some danger, it puts its head in the sand. Ostrich feels, when he is not seeing the problem, the problem does not exist. Even if we do not, the problems exist. So, when you feel it is better if we die remember, you are being an ostrich.

Bliss has a cost of it. You have to pay it. Instead of living life like a fool or committing suicide, it is better if we give the cost and get the bliss. everyone had to pay the cost to get the bliss. No one got it without giving the cost. Socrates had to give it, Jesus had to give it.

Always remember, when you feel like dying, remember that you are being coward.

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Dohe of Kabir Kabir poems

Dohe of Kabir #5

जाती नं पुछो साधू की पुछ लिजिये ग्यान

मोल करो तलवार का पडा राहन दो म्यान….

(Do not ask a holy man his cast, look at his knowledge. One should always inquire about the sword and not its cover.)

One of the basic problem of human beings is, that they need respect. Any person on this earth strives for some respect, some dignity. It is a true fact that not all of us can always get respect, not all of us are able to earn dignity. So, people start designing other which will give them respect. Cast is one of such parameters.

And then comes the climax when people inquire about cast of a holy man.  Kabir asks us to put all these dogmas aside. Kabir says that a holy man is holy in spite of his cast. By telling this, Kabir wants to tell us that holiness is not of the cast. It does not arise out of the cast. It is there irrespective of the cast of the person.

One never looks at the cover from which the sword is taken out. We are always concerned with the sword, its sharpness and its mettle.  Then why do we do not apply this rule to human beings? Why do we judge human beings based on casts from which they come?

We are still engrossed in these ugly ideas and Kabir, 4oo years ago, tells us that holiness does not come out of cast, it is of that person.

Dohe of Kabir #3

Dohe of Kabir #2