Terrible Times–Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17

Photo Credit: CNN

Photo Credit: CNN

The past few days have been terrible for our planet. Howsoever we may evaluate recent events, culminating in the Israeli Palestinian hostilities and the downed Malaysian airliner in separatist held Ukraine, I think we must acknowledge that these occurrences did not come out of the blue. Bad things like changing climate including increased atmospheric turbulence and increasing divisiveness have been happening for some time, but some good things have also been going on. For better or for worse peoples are more aware of the plight of others and nations are unable to remain uninvolved in goings on far from home.

In my opinion karma is clearly responsible for what now occupies just about everyone’s attention.

Consider this excerpt from On Hinduism explaining the mechanics of karma:

. . . Multiple causes may give rise to a single effect or to a bundle of related effects or to seemingly disconnected effects. Karma is like a ripple in a pond. It can expand for a wide area and disturb the peacefulness of all the water contained within its circle. As it spreads, it dissipates until it gets lost in the waters of the pond.

Karma is a force comparable to magnetism or electricity. The laws of magnetism govern the attraction and repulsion of magnetic force and the laws of electricity govern interaction between electrically charged particles. The law of karma governs causality between moving forces. Human beings activate karma at the same time that we are subject to its power.

Gajjar, On Hinduism, Chapter 6, Karma and Reincarnation, p. 101

 

Hearings on Alien Life

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The Science Committee of the House of Representatives has held 15 hearings on space exploration since 2013. Lately the media increasingly discuses the existence of alien life elsewhere in our universe or in other universes. We have sophisticated equipment to search for sentient beings so many light years away that it would take several lifetimes for us to reach them.

While my personal opinion is that such beings must exist, my guess is that wherever they may be, near or far, their posture is, “don’t call us, we’ll call you.”

Of course, many credible individuals claim to have interacted with aliens but we cannot officially believe them in the absence of proof.

Thus we resort to science fiction to figure out what we think, if we do think about this issue. Please see New New York, by Irina Gajjar, to consider some possibilities.

Science, Faith or Imagination

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Attacks on science by the faithful and attacks on the faithful by scientists have resulted in extreme foolishness.

If I had to pick, I would say the faithful take first prize in nonsense by rejecting what has been demonstrated and verified by people with open minds. But scientists get a booby prize for rejecting what they cannot verify and classify. They confidently march through life disparaging everything that goes beyond the limited scope of what they know.

Our universe and other universes are fathomable but not knowable. I believe in imagination and in the existence of a divine force. Some call that force God who exists beyond what we can fathom.

Though science increasingly accepts the realness of planes and dimensions, humankind has long imagined them into truth. Imagination has given form to the power of a supreme force. I think these notions are significant. Human imagination and inner knowledge is powered by experience. It cannot emerge from nowhere.

God, Dispenser of Karma

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According to the principle of Karma, humans are as humans do. People become themselves based on how they act. In and of itself, this precept seems to ignore God’s role in our destiny.

However, in Hindu belief God dispenses Karma tempered with mercy. God is the Creator, the Preserver and the Destroyer of the Universe. Worlds exist with Karma built into them. Scripture explains that the pathway to goodness and ultimate liberation is the pathway to God. Thus Karma and God can be viewed either as one or as separate.

Disbelievers may be even more virtuous than believers who act in order to achieve a better life and a higher state of being. This is because disbelievers act purely, with no expectations at all.

Believers, Skeptics and Arrogance

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Quite a few adamant believers as well fervent skeptics consider their own views about the universe, about the manner of its creation and about the nature of its creator significant. Both the religious faithful and the faithful skeptics sometimes go to great lengths to convince others that their particular school of thought is valid, logical or important to their spiritual or even material well-being.

We should trust in our truth and respect the truths of others, keeping our minds and hearts always open. People whose minds and hearts are closed are neither wise nor knowledgeable. They are merely arrogant.

India’s Election

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Modi’s landslide win came as a surprise and seems to have perplexed the United States.

American’s do not know what to make of this winner who has Western industrialist democratic values, yet is not westernized. Modi was not educated abroad. Unlike his predecessors, his staunchly Hindu lifestyle has emerged from the tea boy he was at the start of his life, rather than from an aristocracy touched by foreign culture.

Local news in American cities was amazed that Modi celebrated his victory by touching his mother’s feet, something many Indians do whenever they greet a respected elder.

If you are interested in Hindu perspectives, be sure to check out Irina Gajjar’s book On Hinduism available in print and electronically.

 

 

 

Is Religion or Faith Funny?

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Recently, Saturday Night Live opened its show with a commentary doubting the existence of God and Heaven. The great comedian Woody Allen has written hilarious quotes about God and about the afterworld. For example, he said: “God is silent. Now if man would only shut up.” In speaking of heaven, he wondered whether it was open on Sundays.

In my view, none of us should consider our spirituality, our beliefs or our disbeliefs beyond humor. They are important to us, but they are opinions. We should keep them close to our hearts and minds but never present them too seriously.

Maya, Smoke and Mirrors

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It turns out that scientists in this millennium have re-confirmed that Einstein was right about time and light bending. Moreover, our eyes also bend light which suggests that our vision is distorted. If everything moves, bends and changes, isn’t it true that the world is Maya, which means an illusion? Isn’t what we see and touch and measure just smoke and mirrors?

Still the illusion within which we as humans live our life is important. It is our reality and even if it is not really real, it matters to us.

I think we should understand as much as we can and be as kind as we can. I think all existence matters, whether it is random or designed. It matters regardless of however, wherever and whenever it happens place.

Souls

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While some skeptics disbelieve in souls on the grounds that they cannot exist without attachment to a body, believers disagree about the nature of the soul as well as its relationship to bodies. They disagree about the nature of beings that have souls. Generally the faithful consider that souls are immortal. In my view, the important question is whether the soul is part of the existence we often call God Who transcends the multiverses that come and go.

Another question is whether the presumably immortal soul retains it characteristics at death. Some believers think it is judged at death to determine whether its former possessor will live on in heaven or in hell. Others think the soul determines the quality of future lives of its former owner. Yet others maintain that at the death of the body it occupied, the soul loses all its attributes, like waves that return to the ocean.

 

What is your view?

The Essence of Hinduism

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The three words Om Tat Sat represent the essence of Hindu philosophy.

Om means the absolute, endless, eternal spirit of God and Truth. It is a powerful term in meditation. Sometimes in meditation we can feel this word ringing within. Hindus assert that the word Om has the power to wake up our spirit and reveal our inner light.

Tat is a complex word meaning simply that or more deeply “That” that is. In the phrase Om Tat Sat, the word Tat implies that God is a truth or a force.

Sat means true or real. Sat says that what is true is real and what is real is true. Pure Sat is light and happy and lasts forever. Hindu philosophy views the temporal world we perceive as illusionary or as maya. Although the world of perception is measurable and verifiable, it is not real because it is mutable and subject to destruction.  Sat transcends the universe.