( This is One of the 10 Real Smallest-Houses in the world )
A young man in his mid-twenties knocks on the door of a renowned Guru.
He says: “have come to you because I wish to study Vedas”.
“Do you know Sanskrit?” -the Guru asks.
“No” , replies the young man.
“Have you studied any Indian philosophy?”
“No”. But don’t worry. I just finished my doctoral dissertation at Harvard on Socratic logic. So now, I would just like to round out my education with a little study of the Vedas.”
“I doubt”, the Guru says, “that you are ready to study Vedas. It is the deepest knowledge ever known. If you wish, however, I am willing to examine you in logic, and if you pass that test I will teach you Vedas”.
The young man agrees.
Guru holds up two fingers. “Two men come down a chimney. One comes out with a clean face; the other comes out with a dirty face. Which one washes his face?”
The young man stares at the Guru. “Is that really a test in logic?”
The Guru nods.
“The one with the dirty face washes his face” – he answers confidently.
“Wrong”. The one with the clean face washes his face. Examine the logic. The one with the dirty face looks at the one with the clean face and thinks his face is clean. The one with the clean face looks at the one with the dirty face and thinks his face is dirty. So, the one with the clean face washes his face”.
“Very clever”, the young man says. “Give me another test”.
The Guru again holds up two fingers. “Two men come down a chimney. One comes out with a clean face, the other comes out with a dirty face. Which one washes his face?”
“We have already established that. The one with the clean face washes his face”.
“Wrong”. Each one washes his face. Examine the logic. The one with the dirty face looks at the one with the clean face and thinks his face is clean. The one with the clean face looks at the one with the dirty face and thinks his face is dirty. So, the one with the clean face washes his face. When the one with the dirty face sees the one with the clean face wash his face, he also washes his face. So, each one washes his face”.
“I didn’t think of that”,says the young man. “It is shocking to me that I could make an error in logic. Test me again”.
The Guru holds up two fingers.”Two men come down a chimney. One comes out with a clean face; the other comes out with a dirty face. Which one washes his face?”
“Each one washes his face”.
“Wrong”. Neither one washes his face. Examine the logic. The one with the dirty face looks at the one with the clean face and thinks his face is clean. The one with the clean face looks at the one with the dirty face and thinks his face is dirty. But when the one with the clean face sees the one with the dirty face doesn’t wash his face, he also doesn’t wash his face. So, neither one washes his face”.
The young man is desperate.”I am qualified to study Vedas. Please give me one more test”.
He groans, though, when the Guru lifts two fingers.”Two men come down a chimney. One comes out with a clean face; the other comes out with a dirty face. Which one washes his face?”
“Neither one washes his face”.
“Wrong”. Do you now see why logic is an insufficient basis for studying Vedas? Tell me, how is it possible for two men to come down the same chimney, and for one to come out with a clean face and the other with a dirty face? Don’t you see? The whole question is nonsense, foolishness, and if you spend your whole life trying to answer foolish questions, all your answers will be foolish, too”.
May we all have the wisdom to ask, and answer, the wise questions!
The Air liberates…
There you sit
In your bubble
With all your troubles
See the world through
With selfish pride
Burst that Bubble
Wall of yours
Fall to the ground
And learn to endure
See the world
From a different view
Life has gifts
To share with you.
One night Sri Adi Shankaracharya,
the great Advaita master, was desperately searching for something on the street outside his small hut. When his pupil returned from his errand, he saw this and curiously asked the Master, –
“Aacharya, what are you looking for here on the street at this hour ? “
Shankaracharya replied, –
” I lost my needle; I am looking for it.”
The pupil joined him in the search, but after searching for a while, he asked,- “Can you try and recollect where you might have dropped it ? “
Shankaracharya said, –
“Of course, I remember. I dropped it near the bed in the hut.”
The pupil, utterly astonished at the strange answer, said, –
“Aacharya, you say you lost it inside the house, then why are we looking for it outside ? “
Shankaracharya innocently replied,- “There is no oil left in the lamp, so it is pitch dark inside the house. Hence I thought of searching for it outside, since there is enough street light here. “
While holding back his laugh, the pupil said, –
“If you lost your needle inside the house, how could you even expect to find it outside ? “
Shankaracharya simply smiled back at the pupil and the pupil got the message behind the Acharya’s puzzling act. !
Isn’t that what we do ? We run to far away temples and walk up mountains to search for what we have lost inside ourselves. We are all seeking outside what we have lost inside us. Why ? Just because it is pitch dark Inside. !
Silly, aren’t we ?
Light the lamp inside you and find your lost treasure right therein...
He was born into one of America’s richest families, the great grandson of Sir Henry Ford – the tycoon who gave the world the Motorcar and the assembly line.
” I had a normal upbringing.” Alfred B Ford says. ” My parents lived simply.” . But behind that statement lies generations of staggering wealth and privilege : mothers who collected Renoirs and Van Goghs, jet-setting aunts who married Greek shipping tycoons. Sunday school and baseball games. and the great tumult of the ’60s.
By the time he got to college, he was somewhat of an anti-establishment of a person. ” The Vietnam War had started, it was the era of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, we had a Presidential assassination, and we had his brother and Martin Luther King assassinated. ” Says Ford, ” We began to experiment and look at different ways of living. I wanted to know what God looked like. I was looking for a personal connection with God, a relationship with Him.”
Though it seemed to be a ’60s kind of thing to do, in families such as his, it was nothing new to search for higher meaning. ” My grand father Henry Ford,” he says, ” had always wondered how he had acquired the ability to know so much about mechanics. He had very little formal training, and yet, at the age of nine he could take a watch apart and put it back together. One explanation was that he had acquired this in some other lifetime. Though not very religious, he was very interested in spirituality. He believed in reincarnation. A Sufi Mystic came to visit him from India, and he was pretty much of a vegetarian.”
Blame it on the Beatles – George Harrison actually. ” Everything Indian was very popular back in those days,” he recalls, ” I remember, in my college I had a big picture mandala and we used to try and meditate in front of it. I had my hair long and a beard, and then George Harrison, who had become involved in the Krishna Consciousness, produced an album for the Radhe Krishna temple which I bought when I was in college.”
It was a life-defining moment. As soon as the first bhajan began, he says, he found himself crying. ” It touched something very very deep in my heart. It was a very profound experience. I realized that this was the concept of God I was looking for : Govinda, the most attractive…..the protector of cows….the most beautiful….always youthful….eyes like blooming lotus flowers…”
After college, Ford wanted to become a recluse, so he moved to the Rocky Mountains in Wyoming, where he lived in a little cabin, and skied every day. But Krishna came looking for him in the form of a close friend who had been a hippy along with him in college, and who had become an initiated disciple in the Krishna Consciousness movement. “He came over with some books, and preached to me.” he says. “He had brought me Prabhupad’s translation of the Bhagvad Gita , and soon, I started to change my lifestyle. I had turned vegetarian in college and I had stopped drinking, and then I started cooking vegetarian food and offering it to Krishna as prasadam. I started chanting on my japa mala and studying Prabhupad’s books.”
Soon a guru-disciple relationship began to develop between the 20-something heir to one of America’s biggest fortunes, and the 80-something pontiff of one of Hinduism’s largest movements. To please his guru, he bought a $6,00,000 mansion in Honolulu to house a temple and learning center. Finally, they met. “I was very nervous as I knew this was a great personality. So, I bowed to him and as I was coming up, he said to me, ‘So you are Henry Ford’s great grandson. Where is he now ? ‘
“And that question immediately made me realize that life is so temporary. Krishna Consciousness teaches you that the only eternal relationship and identity you have is with Krishna. I learnt when I was growing up that though I belonged to a family which had everything, still, there was unhappiness and frustration,” says the man who has come as close as any to having it all materially.
But soon there was trouble in paradise. “People definitely thought I had joined a cult,” he says, “but it did not bother me, in the least. I was happy.” And soon his family came round. “I helped set up a center in Detroit in 1983. And for the opening, my parents came, they saw Radha Krishna, the deities there, they took prasadam.”
Perhaps their feelings were assuaged because they realized that he was not about to abdicate his responsibilities. He still attended to the family business and had made quite a reputation for himself as one of the foremost dealers of Indian art. “I used to come to India and buy art from the Maharajahs,” he says, “In those days, we were allowed to take antiques out of the country.” With so much India on his mind and on his sleeve, you did’t need an astrologer to predict the next step : he married an Indian Girl. A Sharmilla Bhattacharya, PhD, from Bengal via Jaipur and Australia. “In the early ’80s, I became friends with one of the Hare Krishna leaders in Australia. There was this beautiful, brilliant Bengali girl, a devotee who was being married off to a doctor against her wishes, and her spiritual guru was worrying about her. Why don’t I marry her, I found myself saying.”
You can bet Krishna smiled. They were married in less than a year, and by the time she got her degree, they were already the proud parents of an American-Bengali-Brahmin-Wasp girl by the name of Amrita !
Life, more or less, settled into a routine now. There was the chanting, the worship at the temple that began at 4 am and lasted till about 9 am, and then there was office to attend to, where he worked as a trustee of the Ford Motor Company Fund, in charge of the company’s charitable work, oversaw an IT company that he had invested into in California, and other investments to attend to. “All this was pure business,” he says. “Krishna’s message to Arjuna was not to give up his position as a warrior and go meditate in the woods, but to fulfill his purpose here in the material world. Go ahead and achieve what you have to, be the best of what you can be, but at the same time, don’t neglect your spiritual life, “ he says simply.
He’s ruffled a few feathers with his passion for setting up Krishna Consciousness centers all over the world. In Russia, the Orthodox Church saw red when he wanted to build a domed building large enough to hold 8000 Hindus, a few miles from the Red Square.
Now, he is going to play footsie with the Indian government over a $250 million ski resort he wants to start in Himachal Pradesh. But for him, it’s all par for the course. Business and spirituality are not strange bedfellows.
“My cousin Bill is more or less vegetarian, eats no red meat, just a little bit of fish, is a Buddhist, studies Eastern religions and is Chairman of the Ford Motor Company, he says. “I send him books on Krishna Consciousness.”
“I am the Self seated in the hearts of all beings”
-Gita,Chapter 10, verse 20:
________________________________________________________________ In a universe of oneness, death is impossible Bell’s Theorem suggests that conscious human activity influences the behavior of subatomic particles in actual laboratory experiments.
The implication that human consciousness is a factor in determining the features of the ‘real’ world is affirmed by the quantum physicist H.S.Stapp. Stapp contends that Bell’s Theorem is the most important result in the history of science, and that it demonstrates the effect of human consciousness at the level of Macrocosm. The impact of our consciousness lies both in the direction of the very small and the very large (microcosm and macrocosm).
The principle of oneness is revealed through Bell’s Theorem and through the connectivity in the ‘Biodance’. In essence it says that through the unbelievable richness of contact that every human has with the universe at large and with every other human being, our concept of death is wrong. In a universe of oneness, death is impossible. The richness of connectivity renders personal extinction impossible, because personal extinction is possible only in a universe of personal isolation. We do not live in such a universe.
The failure to feel the universal oneness that envelopes us all perpetuates the greatest illusion of modern man: the inevitability of personal extinction. This illusion can be countered by an appreciation of the quality of oneness in the universe so well described by modern science.
The usual tradition of equating death with an ensuing nothingness can be abandoned, for there is no reason to believe that human death severs the quality of oneness in the universe. If we participate in this universal quality before our death, our survival after death is demanded. The oneness principle endures and we endure with it.
The theorems of Godel and John.S.Bell do much to affirm the experiences of the great Rishis of the Upanishads.
Our greatest spiritual achievement may lie in total integration of the spiritual and the physical – in realizing that the spiritual and the physical are not two aspects of ourselves but one. Perhaps the ultimate spiritual goal is to transcend nothing, but to realize the oneness of our own being, which is implied by Godel and Bell.
The view of ourselves as independent objects that are isolated from the universe we inhabit is erroneous. We cannot distance ourselves from the universe because of our oneness with it.
Excellent. Purity ‘within’, peace & perfection ‘without’ .
The crowds asked, “What should we do?” (Luke 3:10)
Relate: A while back I was eating at in a restaurant when from the booth behind me I overheard snippets of a conversation that caught my interest. Two guys who worked at the same place were sitting there talking about a third co-worker. That third guy was apparently a Christian. One of the two men said, “He’s practically a saint.” The other one replied, “I don’t want a saint. I want a good employee.” The conversation moved on but my mind rolled around that last statement. Since when did a good Christian not automatically equate with a good employee? Unfortunately, I’ve met a few examples that fit the bill. Even worse, I’ve been that example a few times in my past. I have heard the saying before, “He is so heavenly minded that…
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“Good and evil of this world of duality are unreal,
are spoken of by words, and exist only in the mind.”
– Bhagavatam, XI, ch. XXII.
In the voluminous writings of Hindu sages, there is no word that means creation out of nothing. The word, they use, literally means Projection and not creation, answering to the modern idea of evolution. They had slowly and gradually discovered the true cause of good and evil, and afterwards explained their mutual relation as clearly as possible. They said that good and evil are relative terms, one of which cannot exist without the other. What we call good depends upon the existence of what we call evil, and evil exists only in relation to good. Being interdependent terms they cannot be separated. In trying to separate them and to make each stand by itself as independent of the other, we not only destroy their relative and interdependent nature, but also destroy the terms themselves. The moment we try to separate good from evil, we find this to be true. Evil cannot exist alone. If we try to make evil stand by itself as entirely separate from good, we can no longer recognize it as evil. Consequently, according to the Vedanta philosophers, the difference between good and evil is not one of kind, but of degree, like the difference between light and darkness.
Again the same thing can appear as good and evil under different circumstances. That which appears as good in one case, may appear as evil if the conditions change and the results be different. The same fire may be called a giver of life and comfort and a bestower of happiness and a producer of good, when it saves the life of a half-frozen man, or when it gives us warmth in the coldest days of winter, or when it cooks our food and guides our feet. But it will be called the producer of evil and a curse of God when it destroys life, or inflicts injury on man or on his property. Still the nature of fire is to burn, and this nature does not change. The Great London fire destroyed many lives, brought ruin and destruction to many families, but at the same time it destroyed the germs of a plague that could have done more evil. So it was both good and evil at the same time. The same force of gravitation is called good when it attracts atoms and molecules of our bodies and keeps together the atoms of our clothes, gives shapes to our houses, bodies, and this earth where we are now living, but it is the producer of evil when it kills a man who falls from the roof of a house.
Electricity is good when it gives light, moves a streetcar, cures a pain, and relieves a disease, but it is evil when it crushes a man under the shock of its tremendous currents. As electricity, it is neither good nor evil, but their expressions may be called good or evil according to the results they produce. The forces of nature are running in the universe with tremendous activity and mad rush, like the currents of a mighty river which brings what we call good and blessings on one shore and evil and destruction on the other. As standing on one shore, where good prevails, we say the river is very good, it is the producer of good, etc., so, standing on the other shore, we call the same river a producer of evil, or a creator of destruction. Similarly, we say the forces of nature are good or evil according to our standard, ideas and interests. On the one hand, the river fertilizes the country by depositing rich soil and helps the growth of vegetation and, on the other hand, the same river destroys villages and all that stands in its way.
Good and evil exists in our minds.
That which fulfils our interests is called good, and that which brings to us misery or anything which we do not want, is called evil. When we look at the phenomena of nature piecemeal, without recognising their connection, we do not get the proper explanation of events. If we look at the same phenomena as related to one another and to the whole universe, then we discover the true explanation and we are no longer puzzled. Then the proper cause of good and evil is understood. It is limitation, the inability to recognize the relation of the part to the whole.
According to the monastic philosophers of India, it is impossible to find anything absolutely good, or absolutely evil, in this world of relativity. That which we call good, is only one phase and the other is evil. When we ignore the one phase, we see the other phase all along. The same event may produce evil in one country and good in another. The famine in India killed millions by starvation, but it made the American farmers richer than ever before. The famine has done evil in India, but good in America. This is true in every case. Our life, which is a great blessing to us, depends upon the life of others. The maintenance of our life causes thousands to die. Millions of lower animals are killed every day for our food. Each stomach has become a cemetery and each tooth a tombstone. When one man murders another, his motive is to do good to himself, or to his family, or to society, or to fulfill some purpose, which he considers good. The murderer may believe that he does some good to somebody, but, as he takes a wrong course of action, he is called a murderer, and gets no sympathy from anybody, and is punished by society and the State.
When a big murderer, however, comes from the battlefield after committing hundreds of murders to possess another’s territory, we praise him and call him the greatest hero, and reward him. But if we analyse the nature of the work he has done, we find that he has committed many murders to serve his country. As the murderer of multitude is supposed to do good to his country, so possibly the man who kills but one person, may do some good somewhere, although we may not recognise it as such. Our intellect is shortsighted, therefore, we cannot always see the true results of our actions. As we cannot draw a sharp line of demarcation between the good and evil results of the physical forces of nature and cannot say that this is good and good alone, so we cannot separate the good and evil results of our moral acts. That which is morally good in one case, may be evil in another. As, for instance, the commandment of God is supposed to be a moral good and beneficial to all. Think of the command that God gave Saul:
“Now go and smite Amalek and utterly destroy all that they have and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox, sheep, camel and ass.”
-(Samuel, XV, 3)
We call it a good act, because God did it, but if one man commands another to do such a horrible deed, what will you call him? Such is our judgment. We say many things without knowing why we say them. Let us open our eyes and see how far good goes and how it is mixed with evil. Each act that we do must be backed by a motive and that motive again is for the good of some, or for the evil of some. We may or may not understand it, but the results of our acts are always mixed with good and evil. Take, for instance, the nearest example. I am talking to you. Perhaps I am doing some good. At least, I intend to do so. But at the same time I am causing the death of millions of microbes. It may be good to me, to you, but the poor microbes would not call it good. When we see the results of this act from our standpoint we call it good, but if we were to look at it from the microbe’s standpoint, it would appear quite different and they would doubtless call it evil.
If we judge everything from our standpoint, we can never know whether it is really good or evil, because our standard is limited and imperfect.
If I judge the whole universe by my
standard, my judgment will be very poor.
Those who do not recognize the results of acts from different standpoints are liable to all kinds of error. If I judge the whole universe by my standard, my judgment will be very poor. But when I look at things from the various standpoints, I can understand how the same event can produce good and evil in relation to different conditions. Every mistake we make becomes a great teacher in the long run. Thus evil has its good side, and good has its evil side. Therefore good and evil go hand in hand. But ordinarily, wherever we find a preponderance of good over evil, we designate it good and the opposite as evil.
Again, that which is sinful to one may be virtuous to another. Consider the different standards of sin among the Mohammedans, the Mormons and the Christians. Compare the scriptures of the world and see how, what is a virtue in the Old Testament, is a vice to men who believe in other scriptures. If polygamy is a sin according to the Christians, it is virtue with the Mohammedans and the Mormons, and was such with the ancient Jews. That which is good for some persons, as inculcated by their religion, may be evil to others living under a different dispensation.
We cannot draw a sharp line of
demarcation between good and evil
Thus we cannot draw a sharp line of demarcation between good and evil. Punishment and reward, according to the Vedanta philosophy, are but the reactions of our own actions. It says that every action must have a similar reaction. If action were good, the reaction must be the same. The Vedanta philosophy says: “Every action, whether backed by good or bad motives, is covered with its opposite, as fire is enveloped with smoke.” If we examine our lives, we will notice that good often comes out of evil. If the greater numbers of personal misfortunes have their good side, hardly any good fortune ever befell any one that did not give, either to the same or to some other person, something to regret. The Vedanta philosophers try to explain the so-called punishment and reward by referring to the law of cause and sequence, or the law of action and reaction. Action and reaction are sometimes opposite and sometimes equal, says physical law. When we do certain acts, we are sure to reap certain results. But, if the results come before we have forgotten the causes that brought them, we call them either rewards, or punishments.
If a good act is done today, the result may come at once, or after many years. God never punishes the wicked, nor rewards the virtuous. He shines like the impartial sun equally upon the heads of the sages and the sinners. It is our own acts that bring the results, either in the form of reward, or punishment. When we understand clearly the law of cause and sequence, or of action and reaction, we cease to blame God, or any other extra-cosmic creator of evil. Then we do not say that evil has been interpolated from without. If we know that all the forces of nature, both physical and mental, are but so many expressions of one eternal Energy or Divine will, which is far beyond the relative good and evil, then we do not see good and evil in the universe. On the contrary, we find everywhere the expression of that Divine will. The nature of an effect must be the same as that of a cause, because effect is nothing but the manifested state of the cause, and if the cause of the universe be one eternal, divine Energy, then the universe, as a whole, can be neither good nor evil.
We can throw aside the narrow and limited (looking) glass of our relative standard, through which now looking at the events of life and put on our mental eye the (looking)) glass of divine energy, or universal will, then we no longer see good and evil, or virtue and vice, or reward and punishment. But we see the expression of one law of causation everywhere. Then we do not blame our parents, or the Satan, or God, or anybody, but understand that all our misery is but the result of our own acts which we did in this life or in a past incarnation. If we understand that as electricity is neither positive nor negative, but appears as positive or negative when manifested through a magnet, we apprehend that the laws of nature only appear to us as good or evil when they express themselves through the gigantic magnet of the phenomenal universe. If we realise that the eternal Energy, or the Divine will, appears as good or evil only as related to our minds and lives then we can say, as the great sages in India said:
“God does not create good or evil, nor does He take the virtue or sin of anybody. He does not punish the wicked or reward the virtuous. Our intelligence being covered, as it were, with the cloud of ignorance and relativity, deluded as we are, we imagine, on account of our imperfect understanding, that God creates good and evil, that His creation is good or evil, that He punishes or rewards.”
It is through our ignorance of truth that we do not recognise the Divinity that pervades the universe, standing high above the reach of our conception of good and evil.
However, let us strive to see the Divinity, by going behind the phenomenal appearance of good and evil. Let us go to the eternal source of all the phenomena. Let us first reach the highest plane of spiritual oneness, and standing on that Divine will, let us understand that good and evil are two aspects of one eternal substance which is neither good nor evil, but is the Absolute or the Brahman. Then and then alone, we shall transcend good and evil and enjoy the eternal Bliss in this life. It should be remembered that relativity created by the categories of time and space is nescience (ajnana or ignorance) and when we dispel the darkness of nescience, the ever shining light of the Atman, or the Brahman, is manifested. The light of the Brahman is self-revealing (svayam-prakasha) and it exists within us and within the phenomena all the time.