Money

Posted: 28/11/2013 in Routine part 2

O Lord, lead us along the right path to prosperity. O God, You know all our deeds. Take from us our deceitful sin. To you, then, we shall offer our prayers.

Shukla Yajur Veda, Isha Upanishad, 18. VE, P. 83

Good Money, Bad Money

My satguru, the venerable Sage Yogaswami, discriminated between good money and bad money and taught us all this lesson. Money coming from dharma’s honest labor was precious to him to receive, and he used it wisely in promoting the mission of the mission of his lineage. Money coming from adharmic activities was distasteful to him. He warned that such gifts would, when spent, bring the demons from the Narakaloka into the sanctum sanctorum of our shrines to create havoc in the minds of devotees. This has been the unsought reward for receiving bad money — funds gained through ill-gotten means — for many ashramas this last century. One day a rich merchant came to Yogaswami’s hut with a big silver tray piled with gold coins and other wealth. Yogaswami, knowing the man made his money in wrongful ways, kicked the tray on the ground and sent him away without accepting it.

Yes, there is such a thing as good and bad money, because after all, money is energy. Why is money energy? Money gives energy. Money is power. Money is a form of prana, captured in paper, in silver and most importantly in gold. Actually, gold is the real money, the basis of all paper money, coinage, checks and bank drafts. All the money in the world once fluctuated in value according to the price of gold. Mystically, if you have gold in your home or your corporation — I mean real gold — your real wealth will increase according to the quantity of gold that you have.

Good money is righteous money, funds derived from a righteous source, earned by helping people, not hurting people, serving people, not cheating them, making people happy, fulfilling their needs. This is righteous money. Righteous money does good things. When spent or invested, it yields right results that are long lasting and will always give fruit and many seeds to grow with its interest and dividends from the capital gains. On the contrary, bad money does bad things — money earned through selling arms or drugs, taking bribes, manipulating divorces, performing abortions, fraud, theft, riches gained through a hundred dark and devious ways. Bad money issues from a bad intent which precedes a wrongdoing for greed or profit. That is bad money. When spent or invested, it can be expected to bring unexpected negative consequences. Good money is suitable for building temples and other institutions that do good for people.

Bad money is sometimes gifted to build temples or other social institutions, but often only to ease the conscience of the person who committed sins to gain the money. Nothing good will come of it. The institution will fail. The temple will be a museum, its darshana nil. Its shakti, though expected to be present, will be nonexistent. Bad money provokes bad acts which are long lasting, and it sours good acts within a short span of time in the lives of the people who receive it. In 1991 I composed an aphorism to guide those who have sought my opinion on this matter. It says, “Siva’s devotees, knowing that bad money is cursed and can never do good deeds, refuse funds gained by fraud, bribery, theft, dealing arms or drugs, profiting from abortion or divorce, and all dark, devious means.”

Some postulate that using bad money for good purposes purifies it. That is a very unknowledgeable and improper concept, because prana, which is money, cannot be transformed so frivolously. Many among this group of misguided or naive individuals have lived to witness their own destruction through the use of tainted wealth. Also, this brings them into the illegality of laundering money. Money cannot be laundered by religious institutions. Money cannot be legally laundered by banks. Money cannot be laundered by individuals. Further, we know that those who give ill-gotten money to a religious institution will subtly but aggressively seek to infiltrate, dilute and eventually control the entire facility, including the swami, his monastic staff, members and students. If bad money is routinely accepted in abundance and depended upon, it will bring an avalanche of adharma leading to the dissolution of the fellowships that have succumbed, after which a new cycle would have to begin, of building back their fundamental policies to dharma once again.

Refusing Soiled Funds

My own satguru set a noble example of living simply, overnighting only in the homes of disciples who live up to their vows, and accepting only good money. He knew that accepting bad money brings in the asuras and binds the receiver, the ashrama or institution to the external world in a web of obligations. How does one know if he has received bad money? When feelings of psychological obligation to the giver arise. This feeling does not arise after receiving good money that is given freely for God’s work. Bad money is given with strings and guilt attached.

Our message to religious institutions, ashramas and colleges is: Don’t take bad money. Look for good, or white, money, known in Sanskrit as shukladana. Reject bad, or black, money, called krishnadana. If you don’t know where the money came from, then tactfully find out in some way. How does the donor earn his living? Did the money come from performing abortions, from gambling, accepting bribes, adharmic law practices or shady business dealings? Is it being given to ease the conscience?

Even today’s election candidates examine the source of donations exceeding US $10,000 — investigating how the donor lives and how the money was gotten — then either receive the gift wholeheartedly or turn it back. When the source is secret, the source of gain is suspect. When the source is freely divulged, it is freed from such apprehension. In the Devaloka, there are devas, angels, who monitor carefully, twenty-four hours a day, the sources of gain leading to wealth, because the pranic bonds are heavy for the wrongdoer and his accomplices.

Imagine, for instance, an arms dealer who buys his merchandise surreptitiously and then sells it, secretly or in a store — shotguns and pistols, machine guns, grenades and missiles, instruments of torture and death. Money from this enterprise invested in a religious institution or educational institution or anything that is doing good for people will eventually turn that institution sour, just like pouring vinegar into milk.

The spiritual leader’s duty is to turn his or her back to such a panderer of bad money and show him the door, just as an honest politician would turn back election donations coming from a subversive source, gained by hurtful practices, lest he suffer the censure of his constituency at a later time, which he hopes to avoid to hold his office. A politician has to protect his reputation. The spiritual leader will intuitively refuse bad money. He doesn’t need money. When money comes, he does things. If it doesn’t come, he also does things, but in a different way, perhaps on a smaller scale.

In Reno, Nevada, for many years the gambling casinos gave college scholarships to students at high schools. Then there came a time of conscience among educators when they could no longer accept these scholarships earned from gambling to send children forward into higher studies. They did not feel in their heart, mind and soul that it was right. Drawing from their example, we extend the boundaries of religion to education and to the human conscience of right conduct on this Earth.

Humans haven’t changed that much. Over 2,200 years ago, Saint Tiruvalluvar wrote in his Tirukural, perhaps the world’s greatest ethical scripture, still sworn on in Indian courts of law in Tamil Nadu: “A fortune amassed by fraud may appear to prosper but will all too soon perish altogether. Wealth acquired without compassion and love is to be cast off, not embraced. Protecting the country by wrongly garnered wealth is like preserving water in an unbaked clay pot” (283, 755, 660).

Three Kinds Of Bribery

Let me tell you a true story. A young man is riding his motor scooter in busy Kuala Lumpur. His tail light is out and he knows it. Hearing a siren behind him, he slows and is pulled over by a motorcycle policeman. In Malay, the officer informs him of the infraction, and pulls out his ticket book, then indicates through well-known gestures that a small bribe would take care of the matter. Heart pounding, palms sweating, the boy musters up his courage and says, “Officer, are you asking me to bribe you? I’m not paying you anything. What is your badge number? Take me to your superior!” Visibly shaken and seeing that the youth is no easy mark, the policeman spins around, mounts his bike and speeds away. There was a bad feeling about this real-life incident. The cop knew he was committing a crime. The youth was tempted to become the accomplice, but resisted, sidestepping for the moment one of society’s most sinister problems.

Yes, briber and bribed are bound together in their dishonest, dark deed. Reluctance, resignation, efficiency, disdain — none of these sentiments relieve a person from the guilt, the ever-accumulating kukarma, the bad karma, of the crime. There are three kinds of bribery. The first is the most common — withholding services one has been paid to perform until that additional, secret compensation is paid. The second kind is a little more subtle. Favors — contracts, concessions, legal immunity, etc. — are given to those who pay a bribe in cash or kind. The briber offers money, saying, “I am giving you this money, and this is what you can do for me,” and if the party accepts it, that is what he must do. It’s a purchase of secret, unauthorized use of influence, position or authority. The third form of bribery, even more subtle, is to provide a paid service and then exact an additional reward. This is, however, the most easily detected of all, because when asked for further service, it will be delayed or denied — that is, if the gift expected after the first service was performed was not given or was not large enough.

Bribe comes from an Old French word, meaning a morsel of bread given to a beggar. Says Webster’s Dictionary, a bribe is “1) anything, especially money, given or promised to induce a person to do something illegal or wrong; 2) anything given or promised to induce a person to do something against his or her wishes.” Bribery money when received, in cash or kind, is bad money, because it is wrongly gotten — in whatever of the three ways — by psychological force, the arousal of greed or by devious coercion.

In many countries, bribery has become a way of life. Bribes are demanded, and usually paid, for most anything, from getting a contract signed to buying a train ticket. A prominent politician in India told me he finds it impossible, simply impossible, to get anything done without it. Most, but not everyone, would agree. A successful, sophisticated Bangalore businesswoman, now in her forties, swears she has never, ever paid a bribe in her entire life

Bribery Is Corruption

Spiritual people and institutions sometimes feel compelled to accept or pay bribes because the alternative is so frustrating or because their sense of mission is so strong, and they want it to go forward at all costs. Still, it must be remembered that it is not only what you do that is important, but how you do it. Bad money cannot be purified by spending it on good projects. Rather, bad money sours and fails them.

In our spiritual fellowship, we have a rule that we do not engage in bribery, even when it means great sacrifice. In our efforts to carve a granite temple in Bangalore to be shipped to Hawaii — for which we established a village of a hundred workers and their families — we have been called upon time and time again to hand over a bribe. Yes, even a giant project can be hampered by a small bribe. We had to ask ourselves, shall we pay the petty pittance to keep the electricity on and the phones working? It was hard sometimes not to submit, but now it is well known that we don’t pay, and the bribe takers no longer ask. One previous bribe seeker actually apologized for his earlier demands.

By neither accepting nor paying bribes, my devotees are telling the community that bribery is unacceptable and ultimately unnecessary. If enough people follow this principle in any society, then bribery will go away. If enough people do not, then bribery becomes the accepted way of doing business, and everyone will accept bribes as a source of additional income, and pay bribes as a means of getting things done. The acceptance of a bribe is an affirmation of the practice. Every time a family, an individual, a community, a nation disavows or rejects the practice of bribery, then bribery is diminished. To walk away from a bribe, to reject a bribe or to refuse to pay is to fulfill Hindu Dharma.

Where does bribery begin? The same place as everything else — at home, often at a young age. Mothers bribe their children to behave and earn good grades. Fathers bribe youths to marry according to their race and financial position. Dowry, we could say, is another form of bribery. If it’s not given, the marriage does not take place. If it were really a gift, that would not be the case. Those who take bribes and pay bribes raise a corrupt family

Mercy, through personal prayashchitta, sincere penance, can help relieve the bad karma, but that, too, is all for naught unless one stops the practice. The power of decision rests on the character of each person in the family. If that power is used rightly, the kukarmas clear. If not, the family and all members go down and down and down, for bribery is stealing and being stolen from. It is similar to walking into someone’s house late at night, opening their cash box and taking money. Bribery has the same emotional and psychological impact. He who pays a bribe is an accomplice to the person who demands it. He who accepts a bribe proffered to buy his favors is likewise bound to his crafty benefactor. There are two criminals in each case, he who accepts and he who pays. Inwardly, karmically, astrally, they are bound together as one. Those who pay bribes for the sake of efficiency or accept gifts without examining the intent may deem themselves innocent, but they are not. Karmic law spares no one.

Steps Against Bribery

Bribery breeds an educated criminal generation. It blocks the free flow of business. Bribery disrupts positive projects. Bribery diverts creative energies to worries about who, if not paid, will disrupt the progress, cut the phone lines, turn off the electric power or otherwise cause delay after delay after delay. Bribery is devastating to a nation’s economy. No one knows how much anything really costs; and since it is illegal money, black money, the recipients don’t pay taxes on it. Two sets of books have to be kept. Honest companies are put out of business by dishonest competitors who give and accept bribes.

What can be done about bribery? On the governmental level, there are instructive examples from recent history. Twenty years ago in America, undercover FBI agents approached various politicians and offered them bribes to help a fictitious Arab company gain American business. A few politicians accepted the bribes and quickly found themselves jailed. Every politician got the message. A few years ago, New Orleans hired a new police chief to reform its notoriously corrupt police force. First he demanded and got the officers’ pay doubled. Then he arrested, prosecuted and fired the next sixty-five officers caught taking bribes. The rest, it’s said, no longer risk their now well-paying careers for bribe money.

Internationally, only the United States has a law preventing its companies from bribing foreign officials. As far as we know, other countries — including all of Europe — have refused to pass similar statutes on the excuse that it would put their business communities at a disadvantage. In fact, the bribes so paid are even tax-deductible. Yet, the same companies’ paying a bribe in their own country can result in prosecution. One organization, Transparency International in Berlin, is attempting to end this global double standard which makes it so difficult for individual countries to root out the scourge of bribery.

From a psychological point of view, bribery is a criminal consciousness of deceit, cheating, on the darker side of life. Guilt is always involved, secrecy, fear of being caught for extorting funds, fear of what might happen if bribes are not paid and worry over obligations incurred by accepting bribes. Such surreptitious dealings create an erosion of trust in society.

Bribery is basically stealing through intimidation. The able-bodied beggar demanding alms on the street is no different from the able-bodied businessman who withholds his services. The beggar shirks his legitimate work, and the businessman uses his position to exact payments not due. Both reap bad karma that will reflect on every generation in the future and a few in the past.

Bribery and Tipping

A healthy society is based on honesty, openness, love, trust and goodwill. It is at the grass roots level, in the home, in schools, in the marketplace, office and factory, that bribery should first be stopped. Hindu Dharma is the law enforcer. Simply don’t bribe. It really is OK not to bribe. More and more, not bribing is becoming acceptable behavior. It is difficult to step back from this practice, but you can live your whole life and not pay a one rupee bribe, even in a place where everyone pays bribes.

One might wonder if tipping is a form of bribery. It is legal in nearly every country to tip a waiter, busboy, carhop, valet, cab driver, maitre d’, and no one has ever been arrested and prosecuted for giving such a gratuity. True, a tip is expected, but services can’t be withheld if it is not given, lest the individual lose his or her job. Giving tips, or gratuities, is not bribery when it is the custom for paying waiters in restaurants, bell boys in hotels and valets who will get your car from the parking lot and drive it up to the door. Tips are expected, and because they are receiving tips, their salary from the hotel or restaurant is often very low. The giving of gratuities is an accepted custom. But the employees would be bound by the hotel or restaurant to perform the same service even if tips were not forthcoming. This is not to be extended to areas where this custom does not exist, such as to paid government servants who have a salary much higher than those who live by being tipped.

Similarly, the giving of gifts on auspicious occasions to anyone who has been of service is spreading goodwill, but is not expected and is completely voluntary. The service would not diminish if the gifts were not given. Our giving gifts to the shilpis several times a year at our temple worksite in Bangalore is an example. Even if we did not honor our carvers by a gift, they would still have to do their work up to specifications. This is the pure vibration we want to work into Iravian Temple — the vibration of dharma, not the vibration of giving something to someone for fear they will in the future withhold their services or do us some harm.

There are many other wrongs, too, such as prostitution, paying for sex — that’s sex without love, which is lust — that create kukarmas, that are also against the law. Then, we might ask, why don’t some countries in which bribery and prostitution have become part of the national culture make these practices legal, at least to protect the lawmakers, who would then pass legislation to control them?

There is small time bribery and big time bribery. In the Western world, bribery is big time. It’s at the top, involving millions of dollars. We’ve seen cases where a senator will put his family, his reputation or his life in jeopardy by accepting a $10,000 bribe — which is about seven percent of his yearly salary — and lose his office, lose his reputation. In India, bribery comes down to a few pennies to facilitate the little chores of life. We have heard of unspoken rules in different parts of India as to how bribery should be done if you want to get anything done, even buying a train ticket.

Why is it that people are willing to live in fear of being found out? Why is it that politicians who accept great bribes often finally bribe their way out of the situation with those who brought about their indictment? And why are they caught, but maybe to siphon off some of the wealth that they had garnered from bribery, which could be quite lucrative for law-enforcement people? Even after their punishment, those who have become wealthy through receiving bribes often maintain a higher standard of living than they would have before they mastered the art of bribery.

Bribery in The Home

Then there is bribery of children: “I’ll give you a sweet if you do what I want you to do. I’ll take the sweet away if you don’t.” Some call this discipline, but true discipline is training and teaching, learning to uphold a known rule. Anything else is punishment, which closes the lines of communication between the elder and the child. The child has to be clearly taught what the rules are and who is in charge. The child has to know what he is going to get and not get, according to his or her misdeeds. But to bribe the child who has not been educated in this way, to awaken his desire for something and not give it to him, that is a form of corruption. The child will carry that out into the community. He will not be a good citizen, and his kukarma will reflect upon the family and several generations back and several generations in the future. The blame is upon the father and the mother, because children follow the example of the parents. Bribing and beating go hand in hand. When it becomes a way of life, children are bribed to behave, to get good grades, to go to bed on time.

There is still another, even more insidious, form of bribery that happens within the home. This is emotional bribery: “I shall be unhappy unless you please me,” “I shall be happy to include you in my will if you do what I want, but if you don’t, you’re out of my will.” That is bribery. It inhibits the freedom of the individual. “Marry this girl and you will please your family. After all we have done for you, you have to marry the way we want you to marry, and you have to give up the girl you really, really love.” Even if the boy has been having an affair with that girl, even if she is pregnant, his family will bribe him to marry someone else by threatening exclusion from the family, disrespect and the ruin of his name in the community. Oh, that is a favorite form of bribery: “I shall blacken your name in the community, make up stories about your character. I shall ruin your reputation. Your name will look like mud in the minds of an ever-increasing group of people unless you buckle down and do what we say.” That is a form of intimidation or blackmail that is used quite often in today’s world. Blackmail is a kind of reverse bribery. While a briber demands money to do something for you, a blackmailer demands money to not do something against you. The blackmailer says, “Give me what I want or I’ll expose the secrets I know about you.” This demand for hush money is an ominous form of reverse bribery, but bribery nonetheless. There is serious karma involved in all forms of bribery, which are part of the negative culture which tears down a nation, which tears down a community, which tears down a family, which the younger generation, hopefully, will not put up with.

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Of one heart and mind I make you, devoid of hate. Love one another as a cow loves the calf she has borne. Let the son be courteous to his father, of one mind with his mother. Let the wife speak words that are gentle and sweet to her husband. Never may brother hate brother or sister hurt sister. United in heart and in purpose, commune sweetly together.

Atharva Veda 3.30.1-3. VE, P. 85

Profanity

Many people, even those who consider themselves religious, go through life using profane language to express their frustrations at each difficulty they meet. Do they know the effect of these negative mantras? Apparently not. People who swear — even if it’s just under their breath — are cursing themselves. What does that mean? It means they are holding themselves back in life. They are demeaning themselves and making themselves unsuccessful. Their lack of success will create more frustrations within the home, and more swearing. Even thinking a swear word is a mantra.

Why do people repeat mantras? To generate a positive force for successful life. Why do people swear mentally, under their breath, or verbally, or at their children, or at their wives, or wives at their husbands? To vent their anger, spite or sarcasm, or just by mindless habit. But in the process they unleash a negative force that will ruin their lives and break up their homes. Every time you swear, that swearing goes into your subconscious and hooks up with all the other swear words you’ve said since you were a kid.

Many people habitually say, “I’ll be damned,” “Damn you,” or “Damn it” as emphatic figures of speech. But all speech has its effect. Such mantras block their future and bind them to what they wish on others or crassly blurt out. This is a good way to curse oneself, to be sure — to build up a big balloon of negative energy. Under that negative force, they will never be able to relax or enjoy a vacation. Many people live together as a family, but their home is broken, their lives are broken, because they broke their own heart and forfeited their own courage simply by swearing a repeated mantra. Using profane language is a curse upon the system we call life.

What is even worse is knowing you shouldn’t do something and then doing it anyway, even knowing why you shouldn’t do it and doing it anyway — knowing why you shouldn’t swear, why you shouldn’t be abusive to the children, why you shouldn’t be abusive to the spouse, and then doing it anyway! It has a triple impact of negative force on the subconscious mind of the individual if he knows what he is doing to himself and to the minds of others, if he knows the law and yet ignores the law, the divine karmic law that he accepted.

Now, having heard this, if you continue to break the law, you bring a triple curse upon yourself! That is the built-in prayashchitta, the automatic penance or penalty. Those of you who know how the subconscious mind and the sub of the subconscious mind work can see the negative impact very, very clearly. And if you continue knowingly doing what you know is harmful to you, you will earn a bad birth. Do you want that? Maybe you do. Or maybe you don’t believe in reincarnation. Well, it’s going to happen anyway.

I was on a United Airlines flight. A stewardess spilled something. She didn’t use the “d” word or the “s” word. She kept a smile on her face and cleaned up the mess! Why didn’t she swear? Because if you’re an employee on a United Airlines flight you don’t swear, or else you don’t take the next flight! That’s why. This shows there is an integrity built within everyone by which they can break a habit cycle if it means some benefits to them. In this case it was financial benefit, also avoiding the embarrassment of losing her job.

The motivation to change isn’t that clear when, for example, someone is working at a construction site where everyone else is also swearing. But the motivation to stop swearing should be clear, because it takes its toll even if you don’t realize it. It is simply taking longer to lose your job, because swearing will make you less productive, less efficient, less liked by others. You’ll be cheated, you’ll make wrong financial decisions, and your income will go down. Your inspiration will go down. You can count on it, because you are repeating mantras to destroy everything that you have. You won’t be able to appreciate that sunset. You will be so confused on the inside that all you’ll see is your own mind. Avoiding all that should be the motivation; but the effect of swearing is slow, insidious, and in most cases not appreciated

The Courage To Change

It’s up to the individual to stand on his own two feet, take his life in his own hands, his karmas in his own hands, to bear his karma cheerfully and work with it. Nobody else can do that for you. Gurus and swamis can point the way and give certain sadhanas, but they cannot do it for you. They won’t do it for you. If they did do it for you, it wouldn’t do you any good!

People who are cynical are expressing their anger and contempt with snide remarks. They may seem to be joking, but their sharp feelings come across anyway, which stimulates that lower chakra until one day their cynicism will turn into really good anger. Then they build up new karmas they never had before, which they will live with until they are faced with those karmas.

Some devotees take pride in saying, “I’ve been with Gurudeva for forty-five years.” “I’ve been with Gurudeva for thirty years.” But if you ask them, “Do you still get angry?” “Yes,” they say. “What have you realized?” “Well, that I shouldn’t get angry.” “Do you still get angry?” “Uh-huh, yes, sometimes.” Those people haven’t been with Gurudeva at all! They’ve just been hanging around. Because the results of everything we have been teaching have not taken hold. Results have to manifest in the lives of each of you. Otherwise, you’re just bodies, sitting there listening to me talk, living your own private life, living a double standard. Just bodies. So, there can be a lack of sincerity. I want my shishyas to do a job, do it right, and be on to the next one, not this insincerity of playing with me, playing with my mind. I don’t like that

You can’t work at correcting something. You either do it or you don’t do it. You don’t work at not falling off a cliff, a big precipice that drops off a hundred feet. You just don’t step forward; that’s what you don’t do! When you come to the point where you hear about the Self, and you get interested in the Self, you’re at a point where you can break the cycle of certain karmas through sadhana. You’re either going to do it or you’re going to think, “Oh, that’s kind of silly, you know. It’s really nice to listen to Gurudeva, but to actually take these teachings seriously and make changes in my life, well…ho hum. That kind of attitude, that kind of ho-hum, lazy attitude, also results in making new karmas, because others look at you as an example and take up your example. It’s living a double life that I am talking about. It depends on the strength of the person’s soul whether he actually makes some definite changes in his character or not.

Verbal Abuse Of Children

It’s one thing to hurt yourself through swearing, but it’s a double hurt of yourself if you hurt another person. We wrote quite extensively on the widespread problem of corporal punishment and child abuse last year in HINDUISM TODAY. We explained that those who abuse their children, their spouse — even husbands get abused and hit and scratched — are hurting themselves five to ten times worse than if they simply hit themselves once instead of hitting their child. We find that in some homes the advice to stop was taken very seriously. Scaring children by threatening them has also ceased, at least in the homes that I am aware of in the broad Hindu community. But verbal abuse of children has increased, calling children bad names in order to put them down, expressing anger by viciously badgering them: “You’re stupid!” “You’re worthless!” There’s a long list that apparently nearly every mother and every father has memorized. It goes on and on and on, this constant downgrading and demeaning, expressed in the name of discipline, starting at five or six years of age and continuing until youths are old enough to leave home on their own.

The verbally abused child’s self-image is terrible, but the pain and humiliation is locked away in his subconscious. He covers it up and forgets it, but it continues festering there, and one day bursts forth. If he is a kind-hearted child, he will protect his own children in the future from verbal abuse. If he is a mean-spirited child, he will release what his parents put upon him and into his mind, all of that hatred, upon his children. So, the verbal abuse continues generation after generation. Its pain and hurt long outlasts that of a slap or a beating.

In some parts of the Hindu community we hear a lot about curses. The more intellectual, Western-educated Hindu doesn’t believe in curses at all. But what is a curse? A curse is negative energy gathered together and pointed at someone you don’t like. Those priests who are able to conjure up a curse — and are often paid for it — take careful precautions to protect themselves from being cursed by their own curse! Sometimes that protection doesn’t work, and they become ill, occasionally even die, or become tremendously confused as long as the curse is working.

To freely hurl mental harassment and abuse at a child who can’t talk back — lest he be slapped down, dragged across the floor and slammed against the wall — is cursing the child as well as oneself. It is also cursing the home, as well as the entire family, because this tremendous force of negative, angry energy that has been suppressed leaches out and fills the room and the entire house. Call a child one bad name and you are calling yourself ten bad names. And that goes into your subconscious mind, because the perpetrator of the crime also hears what he has said.

Many people verbally abuse children in order to motivate them, to make them courageous, to make them stand up straight, to make them do better in school. Any psychiatrist or psychologist will tell you that to tell a child he’s stupid is no motivation to do better in school! To tell him that he’s a pig, he’s a dog — and then there are the four-letter words, the “f” word and the “b” word — is no motivation whatsoever. But the children have to take it, because they are dependent for housing, clothing and food. The verbal abuse goes into their subconscious mind. But it goes double, triple, quadruple into the subconscious mind of the mother — and the father also if he hears the mother cursing the kid — and on and on until finally the whole family has cursed itself, become filled with the hatred, the scorn and the filthy meanings of the words they have spoken to one another a thousand times.

Will that family be successful? Never. Will that family enjoy vacations? No way. Will they be totally frustrated on the inside? Yes. Will disease come to that family? Of course! They are creating disease by the disease they are putting into their own subconscious mind, and the harm to the astral body will eventually affect the physical body

Making Up For Abuse

Of course, parents who curse their children can’t hug them, can’t show the same love for them. That would be counterproductive! In fact, many families think it’s weakening to the child to hug a child and to show love or to congratulate the child. Thus we have whole societies and entire countries that hold themselves down, generation after generation and do not flourish, and therefore are held down by other communities who are doing the same thing, and that are held down by other communities.

What is the prayashchitta, what is the penance, for foul or abusive languagefor language that hurts? If you call a child stupid, or call him a little bastard, counteract it by telling him he is intelligent, wanted in the family, loved. Counteract the abuse by saying five good words for every bad word. Otherwise, the parents will have a bad birth. What is a bad birth? Being born diseased. A bad birth is being born without parents. A bad birth is being born in a land that has no room for children. There are lots of suffering kids these days who abused their children in a past life without mercy, taking out their frustrations on them. Which is worse, beating the child physically or berating him with words? The pain of the beating will go away, even the memory, somehow. But the words will ring deep in the mind of the child throughout his lifetime.

Now, if the child performs certain sadhanas and is able to forgive the family for the verbal beatings, what then happens? It breaks the curse. Then what happens? The whole force of that curse goes back on the mother and the father. The child walks away free, healed, and his parents take the impact of their impropriety. They take the impact of their bad words. To young people who are cursed by your families, I say take your life in your own hands and plan for your own future. After all, why would parents curse and call bad words and put down a child but to control him, use him as a meal ticket, social security, make him so afraid that he can’t talk to them!

In many homes parents are not beating their children anymore, but they still raise their hand in the threat to hit them! The child knows that if he persists, he’s going to get it right in the head. Physical threats and verbal abuse turn a child into a person who is weak, discouraged, without courage — without courage enough to have a con-versation with his mother, without courage enough to have a conversation with his father, without courage enough to have a conversation with himself, to develop any initiative, to stand on his own two feet, to be a leader. If your kids cannot or will not talk to you and have a conversation with you, you have probably hurt those kids and scared those kids so much that they don’t want to be hurt by you anymore. It’s as simple as that.

There are awful stories we hear about slavery, how slaves were brought to America, Europe and all over the world, beaten and whipped to bring them down to abject servitude so they wouldn’t cause any problems lest they be beaten without mercy for the slightest thing — beaten even if they did nothing wrong, just to keep them in their place. That’s what verbal beating does, too. It keeps kids “in their place” so they become useless slaves in the family, earning money to give to parents who still curse them, and then feigning love toward the parents lest they get more verbal abuse. We see this happening all the time. I hear and receive by e-mail desperate testimonies from children and young adults on how they have been abused, physically and with words, in their own home. From the many experiences I know about, I can assure you that words can hurt a child as much or more than a bamboo switch, a belt or a fist.

Advice for Abused Youth

We want to talk to the next generation that’s coming up. Fourteen-year-olds, eighteen-year-olds, twenty-year-olds, stand on your own two feet! Make your decisions according to dharma. What is the book of dharma? Weaver’s Wisdom, the famous Tirukural. It gives you all the tools you need to live a very good life. If your parents are verbally abusing you, don’t let their words affect you. Try to have compassion by appreciating what led them to the point where they could say these cruel things to you; but realize that they can offer you nothing but more abuse, because they are in the process of cursing themselves. The message is to “stand on your own two feet, take your life in your own hands, claim your independence,” once you realize that life at home is not going to get any better.

In certain shops in Asian cities, parents can buy bamboo switches, belts and other instruments of torture made just for punishing kids. Few realize that their mean words can cause just as much hurt, if not more. Parents have developed long lists of words used to demean and belittle. It has become an unspoken rulebook of how to bring their child down to feeling like he’s a big nothing, willing to do anything you say, because he inwardly begs: “Don’t hurt me anymore. Don’t hit me with your words. Don’t hurt me with your long silences and by turning your head away from me. Don’t hurt me that way anymore. I’ll do anything. I’ll get a dumb job and work at it fourteen hours a day to give you some money, to pay you for not hurting me anymore.” That’s what we have in the Hindu community around the world. And that’s what we don’t want to have in the Hindu community around the world.

What can a child of eight, ten or twelve do who is being verbally and physically beaten at home and in school? Nothing. It’s a sad situation. I’ve received lists of abuses from children of that age, just exactly what their mothers have said and what their fathers have said. It’s a tremendous pain in their mind. We’ve given young people the prayashchitta, the remedy, of putting a flower in front of their parents’ picture for thirty-one days. Most can’t do it. They just can’t do it. We ask them to say each day, “I forgive you for playing my karma back to me,” but they just can’t do it. The hate, the mistrust, the disappointment, the hurt, is so great, they’ve been put down so low, that they just cannot do it.

My counsel to Hindu families is: Stop the physical abuse. Stop the verbal abuse. Stop the war in the home. Use positive discipline. Praise your children. Discover the good things that they do and tell them how well they have done. Celebrate their Divinity. Enjoy them and enjoy good times with them. This is the family tradition and the ideal of Sanatana Dharma, the Hindu Dharma of the past, before the Church of England reigned over India for 150 years and changed education to their way of thinking, making beating a must in schools and homes in accordance with the many biblical verses that highly recommend “not to spare the rod,” and the theological rationale to “beat the devil out of them.” Hindus of today’s world have begun working together to stop the abuse, passing and enforcing laws to bring us back to the true meaning of discipline, which is to teach, train and patiently guide. We must remember that ahimsa, nonhurting, physically, mentally or emotionally, is the bedrock of Sanatana Dharma.

My advice to verbally abusive parents: stop tearing them down by telling them they’re stupid, that they’re too small, too fat, too lazy, too ugly or too naughty. If you constantly tell a child he is naughty, he will become naughtier. If you constantly tell a child he’s nice, he will be nicer. It just works like that. All the psychiatrists agree with this approach, to be sure, as do mothers and fathers who really love their children and take an interest in their children

Backbiting And Gossip

There are two very great religious laws, and you have heard me talk about them before, and if you follow them and obey them, you will have the spiritual protection of your own intuitive mind. Your intuitive mind will be available to you all of the time.

One of these great laws is the law of dashamamsha, tithing, and the other great law is shaucha kriya, doing good. Now, what is doing good? Doing good is controlling your mind, really, because when the mind is out of control or when you allow it to be out of control, you are really under the control of the instinctive mind of other people. You are more or less like a puppet in their hands. Therefore, we teach, “Think before you speak, and speak only that which is true, kind, helpful and necessary.” This is very, very difficult for most people to do. If you carry each thought on the tip of your tongue, quite often it won’t be your thought at all. It may be what is seething in the instinctive mind of people around you. That’s what makes for backbiting and gossip. Like those who swear, those who gossip do not think. They pick up the low, seething vibrations of the instinctive mind of everyone around and, like stovepipes, emanate the smoke of the fire that is burning or smoldering or fuming or raging underneath. Many undeveloped people believe and repeat the last thing they hear spoken by someone they consider higher than themselves. They gossip freely, hurt freely and are often the pawns of strong-minded, unscrupulous individuals who use their ignorance and weakness to further their own selfish ends.

Do you know what gossiping is like? It’s like scratching an itch. Something is antagonizing your mind, so you gossip, and you go on and on and on until somebody changes the subject for you, or until somebody does something else that you can gossip about. Shall we say that backbiting and hurtful gossip are the dissipation of the creative, spiritual force? That’s all they are, dissipation of your great, God-given inner power. Anyone will tell you that to dissipate your energy is bad for you, but you do that when you gossip. By doing that, you are only the chimney, the dirty smokestack, of the seething instinctive mind, the ugly state of mind, of other people. You are not in control of your own mind. Have I painted a picture that is bad enough, hideous enough, gruesome enough, for you all to stop gossiping and control your mind a little bit? Gossip invokes the asuric beings on the lower astral plane and makes new karmas for the gossiper, who will be gossiped about in the future when the karmas return

Let’s paint another picture. When you defile others, mentally and verbally, through backbiting gossip about the happenings in their lives, you are hurting them. You are actually making it difficult for them to succeed, to even persist where they are. They sense, they feel, the ugliness that you are projecting toward them. Many women gossip about their husbands over the telephone to other women while their husbands are at work. How can the husband be successful with the wife’s mind, in which he presumably trusts, working and plotting against him in such a chaotic condition? Gossip and backbiting, like verbal abuse, hurt another. You know what happens according to spiritual law when you hurt another. You are only hurting yourself in the future. Of course, you don’t meet the hurt right away, but in a few months you will find that it will come to you. You are hurting yourself in the future if you hurt another in the present.

It takes great sincerity in life to control the mind. And the power to be sincere is based on honesty. Honesty, arjava, gives a great boon to you. It gives you stability. It makes you strong. It makes every atom in your being vibrate with an inner power. It gives you perspective; it gives you the eye to justice. But you must first be honest with yourself. Then the next time you see something happening in the life of another person that you would just love to sit down and gossip about, stop the menacing wheel of your mind and think about the experience and feelings the other person is going through.

Thoughts Have Power

Each thought and each word has a form, an etheric form. That is why when a room is happy and you walk into it, you feel joyous. When a house is sad and you walk into it, you can sense that misery, for every thought you think and every word you speak takes form and shape in the ether.

Prana is mental energy. When you use mental energy, you make mental creations. When you use physical energy, you can create physically. With your hands, you can build a house, you can cook a dinner; you can do many things with your physical energy and your physical body. With your mind, through the use of prana, you can also create for yourself. How many understand the meaning of the words prana and mental energy? You would be surprised at the power that you have in your mind as an individual.

Every positive thought that you have manifests in a subtle world and remains there for the length of time that it took you to generate it. Everything that you make with your physical energy on the physical plane will remain on the physical plane in physical form according to the time and effort that you took to generate it. If you have done a very fine job, it may remain over a hundred years. If you didn’t put much effort into it, it will not remain long on the physical plane.

Let’s think about the mental world for a moment. Suppose you are generating a thought for something good to happen, a positive circumstance you want to come your way. You concentrate upon it, and you generate it and you make the picture just the way you want to see it. Then you are happy and joyous. You feel as if it has already happened. Now suppose you drop into a lower state of consciousness. You begin to gossip. You use foul language and backbite. You lose control of your mind. You don’t put your intuitive mind first. You put the instinctive mind first and begin to think: “Oh, that can’t possibly happen because of this…” or “I can’t possibly do this because of that….” You are building a negative pattern of fear, worry and doubt that covers up the beautiful picture and snuffs it out. Then, when it does not manifest, you say: “My prayers were not answered. God was too busy helping somebody else. He couldn’t help me.” But you were the creator. You preserved it on the mental plane for as long as you could, and without knowing it you destroyed it before it manifested physically. That is one way you can go on through life, as so many, many Hindus do — blaming others for their own self-created failures.

Do you know what all of that is? Confusion of the mind! So, we have two alternatives: confusion or control. And we have all the spiritual laws to follow that help you control your mind. When the external mind is controlled, then the spirit or inner being, the Reality of you, can shine forth. Shall we say that a confused mind is like a cloud the sun cannot shine through? A controlled mind is like clear ether which the radiance of the sun can shine through

Eyewitness

Posted: 26/11/2013 in In my words - zenith

Eyewitness testimony is a legal term.  It refers to an account given by people of an event they have witnessed. Eyewitness misidentification is the single greatest cause of wrongful convictions nationwide, playing a role in nearly 75% of convictions overturned through DNA testing. Eyewitness identification typically involves selecting the alleged perpetrator from a police lineup, but it can also be based on police sketches and other methods. Soon after selecting a suspect, eyewitnesses are asked to make a formal statement confirming the ID and to try to recall any other details about events surrounding the crime. At the trial, which may be years later, eyewitnesses usually testify in court.

Although eyewitness reports are sometimes accurate, jurors should not accept them uncritically because of the many factors that can bias such reports.For example, jurors tend to give more weight to the testimony of eyewitnesses who report that they are very sure about their identifications even though most studies indicate that highly confident eyewitnesses are generally only slightly more accurate—and sometimes no more so—than those who are less confident. In addition to educating jurors about the uncertainties surrounding eyewitness testimony, adhering to specific rules for the process of identifying suspects can make that testimony more accurate.

One of the best heartening  example i could give would be the case of Ronald Cotton. You may view the case in full at the below link.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/eyewitness-how-accurate-is-visual-memory/

In 1984, Jennifer Thompson was raped. During the attack, she studied the attacker’s face, determined to identify him if she survived the attack. When presented with a photo lineup, she identified Cotton as her attacker. Twice, she testified against him, even after seeing Bobby Poole, the man who boasted to fellow inmates that he had committed the crimes for which Cotton was convicted.After Cotton’s serving 10.5 years of his sentence, DNA testing conclusively proved that Poole was indeed the rapist

Another famous case of mistaken identity in the United Kingdom is the case of Adolf Beck, who served several years in prison as a swindler, was released upon completion of his sentence, and then arrested again on the same charges before the actual swindler of similar appearance was apprehended.

Lastly the case of Timothy Cole who was convicted in 1986 of a rape he didn’t commit. Though the real perpetrator confessed to the crime in 1995 and maintained his confession for years after, Cole’s name wasn’t officially cleared. Unfortunately, Cole died in prison in 1999. His family says he couldn’t get proper treatment for his asthma while incarcerated

http://edition.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/02/06/texas.exoneration/index.html

Eyewitness testimony is an important area of research in cognitive psychology and human memory.Jurys tend to pay close attention to eyewitness testimony and generally find it a reliable source of information.  However, research into this area has found that eyewitness testimony can be affected by many psychological factors:Anxiety / Stress, Reconstructive Memory, Weapon Focus, Leading Questions.

You may view this part of interesting video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=wPvGadHulSE

Anxiety / Stress

Yerkes Dodson CurveAnxiety or stress is almost always associated with real life crimes of violence.  Deffenbacher (1983) reviewed 21 studies and found that the stress-performance relationship followed an inverted-U function proposed by the Yerkes Dodson Curve (1908).  This means that for tasks of moderate complexity (such as EWT), performances increases with stress up to an optimal point where it starts to decline.

Clifford and Scott (1978) found that people who saw a film of a violent attack remembered fewer of the 40 items of information about the event than a control group who saw a less stressful version.  As witnessing a real crime is probably more stressful than taking part in an experiment, memory accuracy may well be even more affected in real life.

However, a study by Yuille and Cutshall (1986) contradicts the importance of stress in influencing eyewitness memory.

They showed that witnesses of a real life incident (a gun shooting outside a gun shop in Canada) had remarkable accurate memories of a stressful event involving weapons.A thief stole guns and money, but was shot six times and died.

The police interviewed witnesses, and thirteen of them were re-interviewed five months later.  Recall was found to be accurate, even after a long time, and two misleading questions inserted by the research team had no effect on recall accuracy. One weakness of this study was that the witnesses who experienced the highest levels of stress where actually closer to the event, and this may have helped with the accuracy of their memory recall.

The Yuille and Cutshall study illustrates two important points:

1. There are cases of real-life recall where memory for an anxious / stressful event is accurate, even some months later.

2. Misleading questions need not have the same effect as has been found in laboratory studies (e.g. Loftus & Palmer).

Reconstructive Memory

Bartlett ’s theory of reconstructive memory is crucial to an understanding of the reliability of eyewitness testimony as he suggested that recall is subject to personal interpretation dependent on our learnt or cultural norms and values, and the way we make sense of our world.

Many people believe that memory works something like a videotape.  Storing information is like recording and remembering is like playing back what was recorded.  With information being retrieved in much the same form as it was encoded.  However, memory does not work in this way.  It is a feature of human memory that we do not store information exactly as it is presented to us.  Rather, people extract from information the gist, or underlying meaning.

In other words, people store information in the way that makes the most sense to them.  We make sense of information by trying to fit it into schemas, which are a way of organizing information.

Schemas are mental ‘units’ of knowledge that correspond to frequently encountered people, objects or situations.  They allow us to make sense of what we encounter in order that we can predict what is going to happen and what we should do in any given situation.  These schemas may, in part, be determined by social values and therefore prejudice.

Schemas are therefore capable of distorting unfamiliar or unconsciously ‘unacceptable’ information in order to ‘fit in’ with our existing knowledge or schemas.  This can, therefore, result in unreliable eyewitness testimony.

Bartlett tested this theory using a variety of stories to illustrate that memory is an active process and subject to individual interpretation or construction.

In his famous study ‘War of the Ghosts‘, Bartlett (1932) showed that memory is not just a factual recording of what has occurred, but that we make “effort after meaning”.  By this, Bartlett meant that we try to fit what we remember with what we really know and understand about the world.  As a result, we quite often change our memories so they become more sensible to us.

His participants heard a story and had to tell the story to another person and so on, like a game of “Chinese Whispers”.

The story was a North American folk tale called “The War of the Ghosts”.  When asked to recount the detail of the story, each person seemed to recall it in their own individual way.

With repeating telling, the passages became shorter, puzzling ideas were rationalized or omitted altogether and details changed to become more familiar or conventional.

For example, the information about the ghosts was omitted as it was difficult to explain, whilst participants frequently recalled the idea of “not going because he hadn’t told his parents where he was going” because that situation was more familiar to them. For this research Bartlett concluded that memory is not exact and is distorted by existing schema, or what we already know about the world.

It seems, therefore, that each of us ‘reconstructs’ our memories to conform to our personal beliefs about the world.

This clearly indicates that our memories are anything but reliable, ‘photographic’ records of events.  They are individual recollections which have been shaped & constructed according to our stereotypes, beliefs, expectations etc.

ewt

The implications of this can be seen even more clearly in a study by Allport & Postman (1947).

When asked to recall details of the picture opposite, participants tended to report that it was the black man who was holding the razor.

Clearly this is not correct and shows that memory is an active process and can be changed to ‘fit in’ with what we expect to happen based on your knowledge and understanding of society (e.g. our schemas).

Weapon Focus

This refers to an eyewitness’s concentration on a weapon to the exclusion of other details of a crime.  In a crime where a weapon is involved, it is not unusual for a witness to be able to describe the weapon in much more detail than the person holding it.

Loftus et al. (1987) showed participants a series of slides of a customer in a restaurant.  In one version the customer was holding a gun, in the other the same customer held a checkbook. Participants who saw the gun version tended to focus on the gun.  As a result they were less likely to identify the customer in an identity parade those who had seen the checkbook version

However, a study by Yuille and Cutshall (1986) contradicts the importance of weapon focus in influencing eyewitness memory.

In deciding the trustworthiness of eyewitness testimony, the judiciary employs as one of five criteria the witness’ level of confidence demonstrated at the confrontation. A very recent laboratory study has shown that juror perceptions of witness confidence account for 50% of the variance in juror judgments as to witness accuracy. This strong faith in the adequacy of certainty as a predictor of accuracy is not at all supported by the present review of 43 separate assessments of the accuracy/confidence relation in eye- and ear witnesses. Statistical support is provided for the notion that the predictability of accuracy from overtly expressed confidence varies directly with the degree of optimality of information-processing conditions during encoding of the witnessed event, memory storage, and testing of the witness’ memory. Low optimal conditions, those mitigating against the likelihood of highly reliable testimony, typically result in a zero correlation of confidence and accuracy. Using the arbitrary criterion of 70% or greater accuracy to define high optimal conditions, seven forensically relevant laboratory studies are identified, with six of them exhibiting significant positive correlations of confidence and accuracy. It is concluded, however, that no really clear criteria currently exist for distinguishing post hoc high from low optimal witnessing conditions in any particular real-life situation. Hence the judiciary should cease their reliance on witness confidence as an index of witness accuracy

 

 

The Life of a Women

Posted: 19/07/2013 in Routine

It is wrong to think that misfortunes come from the east or from the west; they originate within one’s own mind. Therefore, it is foolish to guard against misfortune from the external world and leave the inner mind uncontrolled.

There are four types of women.

  1. Of the first type are those who become angry for slight causes, who have changeable minds, who are greedy and jealous of other’s happiness, and who have no sympathy for the needs of others.
  2. Of the second type there are those who grow angry over trifling affairs, who are fickle and greedy, but who do not feel envious of others happiness and who are sympathetic for the needs of others.
  3. Of the third type there are those who are more  broad-minded and do not become angry very often, who know how to control a greedy mind but are not able to avoid the feeling of jealousy, and whom are not sympathetic for the needs of others.
  4. Of the fourth type there are broad-minded, who can restrain the feel of greed and retain calmness of mind,who do not feel envious of others happiness, and who are sympathetic for the needs of others.

When a young woman marries, she should make the following resolutions:

  1. I must honor and serve the parents of my husband.They have given us all the advantages we have and are our wise protectors,so i must serve with appreciation and be ready to help them whenever i can.
  2. I must be respectful to my husbands teacher, because he has given my husband a sacred teaching and we could not live as human beings without the guidance of these sacred teaching.
  3. I must cultivate my mind so that i will be able to understand my husband and be able to help him in his work. I must never be indifferent to his interest thinking their his affairs but not mind.
  4. I must study the nature,ability and taste of each of the servants of our family and look after them kindly. I will conserve the income of my husband and will not waste it for any selfish purpose.

~ To be continued ~

What is sovereign?

  • Greatest in power, authority, or rank;
  •   Paramount or dominant.
  •   Greatest in importance, degree, significance, character, or achievement.
  •   Ultimate; final

Hence here we can conclude that God is supreme ie he has the final say for everything laid down beneath HIM

Does God create evil?

Isaiah 46:9-10Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I …

Aligned to the above some says: God is certainly sovereign over evil. There’s a sense in which it is proper even to say that evil is part of His eternal decree. He planned for it. It did not take Him by surprise. It is not an interruption of His eternal plan. He declared the end from the beginning, and He is still working all things for His good pleasure

But one must realize that God’s role with regard to evil is never as its author. He simply permits evil agents to work, then overrules evil for His own wise and holy ends. Ultimately He is able to make all things-including all the fruits of all the evil of all time-work together for a greater good. One may take a closer look at the words in Roman 8:28And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose

Bible affirms the essential goodness of everything that exists. God created everything that exists and everything God created is created good. Since only God and his creation exist, everything is good (Rev 4:11).

However, from Genesis 3 to Revelation 22 the Bible also affirms the existence of evil. ‘The whole world is under the control of the evil one’; ‘this is the present evil age’; ‘every inclination of [man’s] heart was only evil all of the time.’ Therefore evil has no independent existence but is a perversion and corruption of what is good; sin is the greatest evil and is the root of all evil. This fact makes evil all the worse than it would have been if it had an independent existence.

Still a clear line is not able to be drawn.

Some quoted Isaiah 45:7I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things and claim it proves God made evil as a part of His creation: “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things”

A rebuttal to the above from the New American Standard Bible gives the sense of Isaiah 45:6-7 more clearly: “There is no one besides ME. I am the Lord, and there is no other, the one forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the Lord who does all these.” In other words, God devises calamity as a judgment for the wicked. But in no sense is He the author of evil.

Does sin and evil are born in conjunction of God’s creation?

John MacArthur quoted in his blog that Evil originates not from God but from the fallen creature. He states that sin is not itself a thing created. Sin is neither substance, being, spirit, nor matter. So it is technically not proper to think of sin as something that was created. Sin is simply a lack of moral perfection in a fallen creature. Fallen creatures themselves bear full responsibility for their sin. And all evil in the universe emanates from the sins of fallen creatures.

A supportive passage from Genesis 1:31 – the Lord had declared that “everything that he had made . . . was exceedingly good” Whence, then comes this wickedness to man, that he should fall away from his God. Here man had corrupted the pure nature he had received from the Lord. God had clearly stated what had he created and what was solely from his mind. All those evil effects of sin continue to work in the world and will be with us as long as sin is ie Roman 5:12Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned

 If God is all-powerful, why will he allow sin and suffering to eternally exist in hell?

God basically put us through test like how in Genesis 22:1 as ‘God did tempt Abraham.’ Chronicles 32:31 says about Hezekiah ,God left him to test him and to know, ‘everything that was in his heart.’ In Timothy 1:20 Paul hands Hymenaeus and Alexander ‘over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.’ (i.e for their good). Similarly, in Corinthians 5:5 Paul commands regarding a sinful brother, ‘hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed.’ This seems to be somewhat of an extreme measure used by God; hence Jesus instructs us to pray, ‘lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one’’

According to the Pentecostalism (some Christian movements group) He does not control evil. He does not cause disaster. He does not decree wickedness. And suffering occurs outside his ‘intended’ will. In fact, since God is perfectly good he cannot be all-knowing, nor all-powerful. He did not plan the world to be as it is today. No, God created people free to choose their destiny. He does not (or cannot) now override their freedom. But our sin and the awful consequences of our choices are never his intention. He does not control us and therefore nor does he control the future. Hell is simply inevitable and heaven his last miracle.

Is evil a punishment or divine permission over men?

According to Joe Towns at Talking Pentecostalism | Pentecostal Belief, the Holy Spirit & Evangelicalism Evil acts are encompassed by God’s active providence, yet humans are accountable for them.

God’s ultimate purpose for evil is the magnification of his own glory. Proverbs 16:4 says, ‘The LORD works out everything for his own ends-even the wicked for a day of disaster.’ The everlasting nature of hell is a testimony to God’s commitment to his purpose of making his glory known through punishment as well as through everlasting grace. These are one form of judgment God giving sinners over to their own evil (Rom 1:21). Judgment is an expression of God’s goodness and his faithfulness to himself.

Evil does not proceed from God but does depend on his decrees. Human actions do not take place independently of God even when those actions are wicked. This fact is clear early on in Biblical history (e.g. the story of Joseph, Genesis 50:20 ‘You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good;’ the accounts of the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart, Exodus 9:12, ‘the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he would not listen to Moses’).

According to Theologians, when humans do what is evil, God is not at work in them to will and to act according to what is good. For example, God ‘left’ Hezekiah to test him. However, when humans do what is good, ‘it is God who works in them to will and to act according to his good purpose.’ This highlights the asymmetry of God’s relationship to evil and good. God stands behind good causing it directly; God stands behind evil indirectly by decreeing secondary agents to cause evil. God decrees the future. He knows what will happen because he controls what happens and directs history to its destination. Proverbs 16:9 puts it clearly: ‘In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.’ This verse suggests that at the level of intention humans bear responsibility for their actions, but whether or not intention comes to fruition is the decision of the Lord.

According to Joe Towns

The argument does not answer or ‘solve’ the ‘problem’ of God, evil and sovereignty. But what we can do is to rethink our theology, to hold together God as both absolutely good and completely sovereign.

Cleopatra

Posted: 17/07/2013 in Famous people

Whether Helen of Troy, whose beauty launched a thousand ships ” and burned the topless towers of Ilium ” really existed, is still a matter of some conjecture, but her rival in beauty, fame and influence, was a very real figure in the world’s history.

Cleopatra fascinated the great Julius Ceaser and after his death, Mark Anthony, who held in turn the world in their hands. But she conquered the conquerors, and it was she who led Anthony to ruin, a ruin that left Octavian in a position to become the first emporer of Rome. Yet the oft-quoted remark about the length of Cleopatra’s nose does her an injustice, for although she attracted man by her beauty and presence,she held them by her charm,her wit, and her learning.

When Alexander the Great had died, his empire has been dismembered and Egypt had fallen into Ptolemy Lagos, who founded the Ptolemy dynasty, and thus Greeks ruled over Egypt for nearly 300 years, their capital was Alexandria,

In the palace of Pharaohs, at Alexandria, sat Julius Ceasar, surrounded by his generals. The problem facing him was how best to serve the interest of Rome in the crisis that had then arisen: a bitter quarrel had broken out between the 21 year old Cleopatra and her brother Ptolemy XIV, a child of 13, who shared between them the throne of Egypt.

Cleopatra gathered army in Syria, and was marching on the Egyptian frontier to reconquer her kingdom.At this time Julius Ceasar returning from his victorious war on Pompey the Great,arrived in Alexandria, and Ptolemy’s faction asked him for the Roman army’s support in the civil war.The council of Roman generals was about to break up.The decision in favour of Ptolemy’s cause was all but taken,went into Julius Ceasar presence was ushered a Greek merchant with a present of rugs. A silence of astonishment filled the great hall as the bundle was unrolled, there emerged a small laughing, dishevelled young woman Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, Daughter of the Sun, sister of the moon. She was the woman whose charms and beauty, almost 2000 after her death,are still fresh in the minds of men.

Julius Ceasar fell at once under the spell of this beautiful woman,who had cared in such fashion to enter her hostile capital and plead her cause in person; and that night the most beautiful voice that had ever charmed men’s ears set so well before Julius Ceasar the cause of Cleopatra that at dawn Ptolemy had lost his prospective ally.From that night dates the great partnership and romantic attachment between the queen of one of the wealthiest and most cultural countries of those times, and the leading citizen of invisible Rome.Cleopatra was courageous, intelligent; a woman who,when he had secured her throne for her, would have all the resources of the east at her command. We are told that she spoke 10 languages, including Latin, Hebrew and Syriac.

To Cleopatra, Julius Ceasar was not only the means by which she would ultimately substantiate their shared ambitions; she instinctively gave him a heart-whole affection.This woman, whom legends has taught us to think of as an immoral voluptuary, seemed according to the known facts, to have regarded Julius Ceasar as her husband, and she appears to have acted in all ways as an exemplary wife.Yound Ptolemy was defeated and Cleopatra became the absolute sovereign of Egypt by the help of Julius Ceasar.During these months of civil war, Cleopatra and Julius Ceasar found time for feasting and love-making.In the joy of happiness the son of Cleopatra and  Julius Ceasar was born.They named him Ceasarion Ptolemy, as became the heir of two great houses.A few hours after his child’s birth,Julius Ceasar sailed away from Alexandria.

For a year Cleopatra waited, while Julius Ceasar made victorious warfare in Asia and North Africa.Then, in answer to his summons, she sat sail for Rome.They went as guest of honour to participate with Julius Ceasar in applause of the people. According to the Roman custom, Cleopatra’s rebel sister Arsinoe,came in chains to be exibited to the Roman mob.

Cleopatra lived openly as mistress of Julius Ceasar but taking no part in political life.She remained in Rome for several years,in the period where honours were showering upon Ceasar. But Julius Ceasar, if had many friends he also had many enemies and one day, in 44 B.C came a tragic news of his assassination.Cleopatra knew she was unpopular in Rome, and lost no time returning to her native land. her brother was dead, poisoned at her behest, and she proclaimed her son, Cesarion as joint ruler with herself of  Egypt.

For three years Cleopatra watched from afar the civil war in Rome.Then one day there came a summons for her to meet Mark Anthony,the leading Triumvir of Rome, at Tarsus, and explain why as an ally, she had on certain occasions withheld her help. Cleopatra had been waiting before giving her support,to find her likeliest Roman to embrace her cause. The long-awaited moment had come, and with her smile on her lips and hope reborn from her heart, prepared to answer the summons of the most powerful Roman. She had heard much of Anthony’s character, and she brought her limitless personal resources to the task of charming this giant with the heart of a child, this soldier from whom men died without asking question.

Anthony sat on the dais in the deserted market-place awaiting Cleopatra.The multitude which half and hour ago had surrounded him had headed towards the shore where her ship was anchored, and from the quay great cries of adulation reached his ears. On a ship with a golden prow, with sails of purple and oars of silver, lay Cleopatra, apparelled as Venus. The feast prepared for Anthony was the most magnificent he had ever known. Costly gifts were presented to all the guest. And Cleopatra’s magnificence always outshone Anthony’s.

It is told that one night, to win a wager, Cleopatra dropped a pearl worth 150000 pounds into vinegar; the pearl dissolved and she drained the goblet. This incidence is quoted to prove her extravagance, but it is more likely that, needing Anthony’s alliance, she hoped by such action to impress upon his mind the immensity of the wealth he would have at his disposal should he throw in his lot with hers.

Day by day Anthony fell more and more under the spell of Cleopatra. Her powers of conversation, wit and charm, together with the childish gaiety which was so much a part of her, enthralled Anthony.It was at this period that Cleopatra enlisted Anthony’s help in the deed that has so blackened their story. Her sister Arsinoe was again in Egypt, plotting against Cleopatra. With Anthony’s help, Cleopatra planned the assassination of these menaces to her throne, and the fratricidal policy was duly carried out.Anthony had followed Cleopatra to Alexandria after the meeting at Tarsus,and they spent the winter there together.Anthony gave himself whole-heartedly until at last the affairs of Rome would wait no longer.Anthony met his fellow triumvir, Octavian, at Brundisium, and once again they made a compact and divided the world between them.Octavian remained at Rome and ruled the west and Anthony’s task was to subdue the east. To seal the bargain, Anthony married Octavian sister Octavia.

Then in 37 B.C, he returned to Syria and to the arms of Cleopatra.Love and luxury was again the order of the day and night. And Anthony set out campaigns against the Parthians.They both hoped to find a new empire but disappointment was in store for the queen.A fourth child had been born to her but a few weeks, when news came that disaster had overtaken the expedition. Cleopatra, the steadfast ally, set off at once with help for Anthony. Meanwhile Anthony by his attitude to his wife Octavia, had long insulted Octavian, her brother, and relations between the triumvir’s were strained.War between the Anthonian and Octavian factions was inevitable; Thus stood when Octavian’s fleet and those of Anthony and Cleopatra’s met, and the great battle of Actium was fought in 31 B.C.

This battle has remain a mystery to historians.The fighting had raged six hours, neither side having gained the advantage, when Anthony saw the ship carrying Cleopatra, hoist sail and leave the fight, followed by her sixty ships, he followed in quick pursuit, flying from the yet undecided battle, leaving Octavian a vanquisher without a victory. It has been suggested that Cleopatra thought the battle lost and dreaded falling alive into Octavian’s hands, or that a sudden attack of cowardice in this bravest of woman compelled her to retreat. However it was, owing to this never explained conduct, the Egypto-Roman empire was lost, and Octavian became Augustus Ceaser, first Emporer of Rome.

Cleopatra had fled to Alexandria, where she made preparations for a defence. Anthony went to Libya to find troops support.Both know that they had been doomed. Near the temple of Isis, Cleopatra built her mausoleum, a splendid palace for the dead, in the true fashions of Pharaohs. To this buildings all her treasure and jewels were  carried. Then from the prison those condemn to die were brought to the palace and poisoned by snake bites. Cleopatra was searching for the easiest way out of a world too strong even for her indomitable spirit.

Octavian was at the gate of Alexandria and Anthony attacked him with success. Octavian’s horsemen fled. Encouraged by this return of fortune, Anthony determined to find death or victory in one last battle, but his allies deserted him at the last moment, and he found himself alone, save for a handful of faithful men. He returned to the palace. Here the news came to him that Cleopatra had killed herself. With Cleopatra dead, the world and all that it meant was lost to him and “in the high Roman fashion” Anthony fell upon his sword, “a Roman vanquished by a  Roman“. The wound did not kill him, and though he implored those around him to finish his work, none dared. A second messenger arrived contradicting the news of the first; Cleopatra was alive, and waited for him in the mausoleum.

Anthony dying of his wound, bade his weeping soldiers carry him to the great tomb where Cleopatra and her two faithful women, Charmian and Iras had barred themselves in. Anthony died, clasped in Cleopatra’s arms, all their hatred forgotten, and only the love of their early days in their hearts.Anthony died, their kingdom lost, herself doomed, if she lived to follow the triumphant chariot wheels in chains,Cleopatra made one last effort to charm yet another Roman, the cold Octavian and he fearing that she might take her life, and so rob his triumph the spectacle of the humiliation of Rome’s great enemy, made overtures and lying promises to her, offering her kingdom and safety for herself and children.

But news of Octavian’s real intentions reaches Cleopatra, so she and her two faithful women escaped to pour the last libations on Anthony’s tomb.With the slow tears that come when only grief remains and hope is dead, Cleopatra placed crowns of flowers on her lover’s coffin, whispering tender words. Then having bathed in costly perfumes, she was adorned in her regal splendour, and feasted for the last time – alone

At the end, a slave carrying a figs approached her and smiling, she took it from him saying : ” So it has to come ” Her devoted slave had not forsaken her; for she knew that at her request, they had hidden an asp beneath the fig leaves. There would be no jeering Roman crowds, no ignominious death; Cleopatra would die as the goddess she was, in her own way, at her own hour, And that hour had come. She pressed the lithe,small reptile to her breast almost lovingly, And the last Ptolemy slowly fell asleep.

After death, this great woman’s ambition was ironically fulfilled for Rome adopted Alexandrian civilization and culture, and formed in truth and Egypto-Roman empire. But Octavian, and not Cesarion, sat on the throne.Cesarion had died by the assassin’s knife; there was no room in the empire for two Cesars.

~The End~

You may view the video of Cleopatra Mini Biography for further reference.

Teenage

Posted: 16/07/2013 in Routine part 2

Be one to whom the mother is a God. Be one to whom the father is a God. Be one to whom the teacher is a God. Be one to whom the guest is a God

Keep Teaching, Keep Loving

The more things change, the more they stay the same, it seems. Children are perfect devas until puberty, when so many changes come, when prarabdha karmas — the results of past actions they bring with them to live through in this birth — begin to manifest and the growing-up process intensifies. Is there a set way, a rule book, for raising Hindu children in our contemporary society? I think not. But the basic principles of Hinduism have not failed. No, not at all. Teach the young adults to look ahead mentally into the future before making a decision, and to base their decisions for life on the value judgments of Sanatana Dharma as well explained in Dancing with Siva, Hinduism’s Contemporary Catechism, here in Living with Siva, Hinduism’s Contemporary Culture and in Merging with Siva, Hinduism’s Contemporary Metaphysics. This Master Course trilogy is all that’s needed for a fine future for young adults. What are these values? Peace; harmony within the home; tolerance for others; appreciation of the wisdom of those who have gone before us and of those who are older; purity of thought, word and deed; chastity until marriage; and, above all, cooperation and patience in choosing the right partner in life, for marriage is actually the joining of two families.

Marriage is not merely an individual decision between two people who are sexually attracted to each other. No,not at all. A marriage, to be successful, needs the support both of the young man’s family and the young lady’s. The days are going away very fast when, through the dowry system, the girl buys herself a husband or the boy commands a price to take her into his home as a servant girl for his mother. All this should be explained time and time again to children who are growing up with mixed values. After all, they spend more time with their peers than they do with their parents in today’s world! This means that the parents have to actively teach them as well, and talk and talk and talk on well-rehearsed subjects to keep their children in the home, out of harm’s way and guided into a substantial, happy marriage in which the bride and the groom’s parents get along famously. It is a circle of love when two families marry along with their children.

These matters must be discussed when children are young, before puberty. Give many examples from your life and the successful lives of others they and you know. Later, when they reach the stage of puberty, watch out, for they may reject everything they have heard. But the knowledge is in there, deeply buried in their subconscious mind, just waiting to burst out when the right moment comes. So, even when they are not inclined to listen or discuss, you can know they are hearing. And you can be sure they are listening when you gossip about someone who is experiencing a similar problem they are facing — a high school senior you read of in the paper who is in dire circumstances, or a story with a moral that you have creatively thought up to put across the point that you are trying to make. Yes, they are listening, because who is it on planet Earth that does not just really, really love to hear a good story. Your well-placed parable will lift up the vasanas you implanted early on.

Tapas of the The Teen Years

When your adolescents make the decision that you want them to make, never, ever say, “I told you so.” Just bow your head and say, “Darling, you are making a wise decision.” Believe it or not, when they are not listening and you are talking, they are hearing, and what you are saying is going deep into their subconscious state of mind, which never sleeps. So, be tactful in what you say, and say it always with a smile and plenty of healthy ayurvedic sweets (not made with white sugar, but with jaggery or honey, or raw sugar if these are not available). We don’t want tooth decay and diabetic conditions from highly processed white sugar. It is too expensive and time-consuming to treat these home-created ailments. Don’t you agree? Good health — mental and physical — begins or ends in the home.

Teenagers are suffering the pangs of sex, desire and distrust, independence and all sorts of other things. They are as if sick during this time. In Moscow one cold 1990 winter, astrophysicist Carl Sagan once told me they are poisoned by their own hormones. This is nothing new. Over two thousand years ago, the Greek philosopher Plato lamented, “What is happening to our young people? They disrespect their elders. They disobey their parents. They riot in the street, inflamed with wild notions. Their morals are decaying. What is to become of them?” Not much has changed, has it? So, be the mother, father, nurse, and doctor. Talk together and work out a strategy for the seven years from age thirteen to nineteen. It will be over in only seven years. Does this seem like a long haul? Does getting through it seem like an impossible dream? It surely does, but teenage trials are a natural part of the extended family, the joint family, the nuclear family and even of the no-family-at-all. Most of all, realize that you will surely win out if you persist in love and understanding. Before long, they will be raising their children in the very same way and loving you for how you had the patience, willpower, forbearance and love — mainly love — to see them through. Proceed with confidence. Get a strategy, a battle plan, if it’s all that bad. Stand up straight, be willing to take insult, disobedience and be shamed in the very home in which you have raised them. Similarly, a nurse does not pay all that much attention to the ranting and raving of a patient who is delirious. Reason does not rank that high as a quality for the teenager. But to tell them that would be to alienate them, for in their view they are so, so much more intelligent than you are in the ways of the world. And that may well be true, as they, we must never forget, spend more time with their peers than at home. You, the parents, bear the handicap of this and must in all fairness compensate.

When you have successfully performed your seven-year tapas of bearing up under the pain of the teenage trials, truly you will enjoy great satisfaction and be able to sit back and smile. Remember and be assured that it won’t last forever. It truly won’t. Have compassion and give some leniency, for during this time they are all mixed up inside; they are, they surely are. They are facing an uncertain future in an unsure world, becoming adults, keeping in with their peers, keeping in with their parents, facing marriage, job, career and community expectations. No wonder so many ki ll themselves because their parents just did not understand and were not there for them at a time when they truly, truly needed them. Such a death of a child is on the heads of the parents. Don’t let this happen in your family. Please don’t. Be a mom. Be a dad. Be a nurse. Be a doctor. And, most of all, be a friend — their friend, their closest friend — during this tumultuous, turbulent, troublesome time called teenage.

A Story of Heartbreak

Here is a letter a discouraged Malaysian Hindu girl wrote to her parents just before she attempted to end her life at age eighteen. One of the main reasons she cited for this attempt was too much pressure coming from her parents. It was published in the Malaysia edition of HINDUISM TODAY.

“Dear Mom and Dad: You’ll never understand why I did this. Never. In your opinion, you always did what was best for me. You always knew what was best for me. You always believed I was your naive, irresponsible little girl who always needed your hand to hold on to. You thought it was necessary to use the sharp edge of your tongue to keep me on the right track.

“But that was the biggest problem — you were the ones who chose that track for me. I never had any say in my own life. Did you realize that that right track became a psychological prison for me? That your leading hand became a set of chains for me? That the sharp side of your tongue got to be a barbed wire that was continuously lashing out at me? No, you never did.

“You have said many things to me when you were angry, and you always excused yourself by saying that you weren’t in your senses when you said them. But did you realize how much those things could have hurt me? No. You never even thought about it. How about if I called you a b . . . . when I was angry? Would you excuse that with the same reasoning? I think not.

“Didn’t you ever stop to think that maybe I should have some say in what I wanted to do with my life? You decided which college would be the right one for me to attend and what academic field I should go into. The college, of course, had to be the most prestigious and elite one, so you could brag to your friends about it. You never thought that maybe I wanted something more than school and books, but that was never important to you. You only wanted me to achieve academically so your friends would be duly impressed. That was the same reason that you wanted me to become a doctor. I didn’t want anything to do with it.

“You never realized that maybe I had wanted a social life, to make real friends for once in my life. When I told you that, you scoffed at me and told me that we Indians were so much superior that we didn’t need to deal with them. There was never anything in my life that you let me have any control over. When I finally met someone who meant something to me, you two couldn’t handle the fact that maybe someday I would learn to control my own life and rid myself of your manipulations. So, then you decided who it was that I was going to see and who it was that I didn’t. You forced me to break the first real relationship that I ever had in my life. I was constantly harassed by you about him. You told me that I was disgracing the family name. ‘…what would everyone say?’ You destroyed everything for me. This ‘relationship’ between us is nothing but a farce. And there is no reason to continue it. I have searched for some way to escape you, but I have come up empty handed. And now, unable to do anything else, I want you to understand the meaning of ’empty handed.’ Always remember that you can only control someone for so long. Now you must live with this guilt. I hope you will never be able to forgive yourself.”

“You never realized that maybe I had wanted a social life, to make real friends for once in my life. When I told you that, you scoffed at me and told me that we Indians were so much superior that we didn’t need to deal with them. There was never anything in my life that you let me have any control over. When I finally met someone who meant something to me, you two couldn’t handle the fact that maybe someday I would learn to control my own life and rid myself of your manipulations. So, then you decided who it was that I was going to see and who it was that I didn’t. You forced me to break the first real relationship that I ever had in my life. I was constantly harassed by you about him. You told me that I was disgracing the family name. ‘…what would everyone say?’ You destroyed everything for me. This ‘relationship’ between us is nothing but a farce. And there is no reason to continue it. I have searched for some way to escape you, but I have come up empty handed. And now, unable to do anything else, I want you to understand the meaning of ’empty handed.’ Always remember that you can only control someone for so long. Now you must live with this guilt. I hope you will never be able to forgive yourself.”

 

Keep the Doors Open

Many parents hesitate teaching Hinduism to their children as they do not want to make them different than their school chums. But it is only a “storybook Hinduism” that would do that. We do not need stories these days that were created for a society that no longer exists. We do need the philosophical, metaphysical and psychological Truths which are as eternal as space, time and gravity. These should be well implanted into their minds. One is never too young or too old to learn the Eternal Truths that never fail. World thinking is built on only a few Truths and more than a few false concepts. Never give up on your young adults, whatever the problems that arise. They will be just fine with you, their parents, by their side all along the way.

Yes, your children need both of you as friends, someone to come home to when the going gets rough, someone who accepts and loves and, in heartfelt tolerance, tries to understand. It is possible, you know, to close the door on them in your hearts and minds, especially when they are not obeying. Remember that there are others out there who will take them in and may lead them even further astray. Be a friend. Don’t force them out of your hearts and minds. Always keep the doors of a compassionate heart, loving arms and an understanding mind open. Listen to their problems and come forward for their needs, even when you may not agree with them or approve of what they are going through. Remember, three hugs a day keeps trouble away. This is modern Hindu Dharma. This is ancient Hindu Dharma. This is living Siva’s contemporary culture.

Young people have to prove for themselves the basic principles of Sanatana Dharma. Some go at it in a straightforward way and others go about it in a roundabout way, trying to disprove everything, and therefore proving it. What is the straightforward way? Accepting it as it is and trying to prove it also by relating it to your own life experience. We should not be discouraged with young people if we find they reach a certain age and pull away a little bit. They can come to understand the law of karma by going through a few experiences and finding out how they themselves created those experiences. They have to have those basic realizations in this life if they didn’t have them in a previous life. If they had these basic realizations in a previous life very, very strongly, their confidence in the teachings would be very strong. Those things carry over from life to life, and in the end the soul builds on them.

The new breed of swamis that have come up in the past three decades relate well to the young adults who were born as Hindus but raised as modern youth with little knowledge of their hereditary religion. These swamis know the problems, the pitfalls and some of the solutions. They, too, were raised “modern” and by their own conviction learned Eternal Truths and now preach them with a vigor and practical clarity that is unsurpassed. Introduce your young adult to them, and he or she will find an understanding friend and religious mentor.

When we are young, the old ways can seem stiff, old-fashioned or just plain silly. Help your young adult see into the reasons and discover the meaning in our culture, philosophy and religion. Then the Sanatana Dharma will belong to them, too, never to be lost, but to be preserved and passed along to their children when the time comes and the cycle begins again.

 

Education and Career

Many youth are pushed into professions by their family, even if they are not suited to that profession. They graduate and ask themselves, “What do I do next? Do I get a job near my family home? Do I go to a far-off country and seek employment?” Family pressure is on, and comments, sometimes hurtful, are made to motivate the youth. But in today’s world youth have to think on their feet, take their life into their own hands and make their own goals for their future, especially if they have been abused by senseless beatings from angry parents whose cruel hearts drive them from their home.

The long-term goals of education and career should be planned out ahead of graduation. Ideally the planning takes place with the family, but only if it is a cooperative, reasonable family that has enough love to foresee their youth fulfilling happy lives with productive futures. As we saw earlier, too harsh an upbringing can lead to their taking their life with their own hands.

In the United States before the First and Second World Wars, people were committed — committed to their family, to their community, to their country, to the growth of the nation and to their business. Everyone knew what they were going to do with the rest of their life by the time they were eighteen or nineteen years of age. They went forward and lived out their life as planned. When I was seventeen, I knew what I would be doing right now. That is commitment, clarity of mind, the ability to see a direct path into the future and then to have the character and the willpower to live to make that path manifest. Society was stable, society was strong, and there were simpler problems.

After the First World War and Second World War, the family unit began to break up, and people were no longer committed. The word of the times was not commitment, but one that also started with a “c.” It was choices. “I’ll make a choice and see where it leads me. Then I will make another choice and see where that leads.” People didn’t stick with one occupation and perfect it. They dabbled half-heartedly at ten occupations which they didn’t perfect, and the quality of work suffered as a result. The opportunities of choice were so grand. Parents would encourage their children “Make your own choice of what you are going to do with your life. We just want you to be happy.” The same child was not allowed to make his own choice about what clothes to wear or what foods to eat. But he was allowed to make the really important choices, including: “What are you going to do with your entire life?” and “Whom are you going to marry?” Of course, to buy a car he was taught by his parents to read Consumer Reports and pick just the right one. But he could take up any career and marry anyone he wanted to, just on a whim and fancy.

So Many Choices

Society drastically changed after the two world wars, and the country’s crime rate went up. Mental institutions became overpopulated, hospitals overcrowded. People who have no commitment to family, friends, community and religion end up making the wrong choices in life. And today we have a new group called the New Age which, ironically, is totally committed to being uncommitted.

Many people are not committed to anything. They take a vow, they take a pledge, but it doesn’t mean anything. Even a marriage vow or pledge doesn’t mean anything anymore. But that is not religion. That may be secular humanism. That may be existentialism. That may be just a big nothingism; but it is not religion. Religion is the acceptance of spiritual laws that guide our life. We have to make decisions and make commitments, and live up to those commitments so that we can look in the mirror every morning and say, “You did a good job with yesterday. Now what about today?” This is the ethic we need to instill in teenagers. Then the strength of the soul comes forward. When the strength of the soul comes forward, it permeates the intellectual mind. Creativity comes forth. New, inspiring, insightful thoughts that you didn’t even know you were able to think come into your mind from your superconscious, and many wonderful things begin to manifest in your life.

Nowadays the mind seems to be confused for young people and older people alike. There is too much television, too much surfing, too much input, and not enough planning, not enough talking, not enough camaraderie to sit down and plan out what you are going to do this year, next year, the year after and the year after that. But that’s how you keep your karma under control: short-term goals and long-term goals planned out according to Saiva Dharma.

Families have been asking me about careers for their maturing youth. What courses should they pursue in college? Higher education should prepare a youth for what he is going to do in life. This applies to women as well. That is why we are educated, to prepare ourselves for our future. There is no other point of being educated but for that. If a young lady is going to be a homemaker, it would be wise to be educated to be a homemaker. Many women these days are married and can’t cook, don’t know how to put on a band-aid, don’t know how to take care of the children when they come, because they’ve never been educated to be a wife. Women who foresee another kind of life for themselves should choose an education that will prepare them for that. It is also wise these days for a woman who is a homemaker to have an education in a profession, such as nursing, that she can fall back on in case misfortune befalls the family, a death or a divorce, so she can get a job to support the children and herself. Education is for the future career, whether it be a homemaking career or another kind of career. That is the purpose of it. There is much education now available that is just general education. It goes on and on and on. You go in wanting to know, and you come out confused at the end of it. We see this happening all the time. This type of education should definitely be avoided.

Families have been asking me about careers for their maturing youth. What courses should they pursue in college? Higher education should prepare a youth for what he is going to do in life. This applies to women as well. That is why we are educated, to prepare ourselves for our future. There is no other point of being educated but for that. If a young lady is going to be a homemaker, it would be wise to be educated to be a homemaker. Many women these days are married and can’t cook, don’t know how to put on a band-aid, don’t know how to take care of the children when they come, because they’ve never been educated to be a wife. Women who foresee another kind of life for themselves should choose an education that will prepare them for that. It is also wise these days for a woman who is a homemaker to have an education in a profession, such as nursing, that she can fall back on in case misfortune befalls the family, a death or a divorce, so she can get a job to support the children and herself. Education is for the future career, whether it be a homemaking career or another kind of career. That is the purpose of it. There is much education now available that is just general education. It goes on and on and on. You go in wanting to know, and you come out confused at the end of it. We see this happening all the time. This type of education should definitely be avoided.

The Family Profession

Nowadays many people believe that somehow it was an accident that one was born in a family of a certain profession and that the youth deserves a so-called better profession than that of the parents. But the traditional wisdom is that a person is born into a family to fulfill the profession of that family, and ideally to stay within that family business. Being raised in the family business, the person learns from a young age, even prenatally. Going into another profession, he leaves the family dharma and goes into worldly adharma. It then takes two or three generations to establish a new family dharma in that profession.

Now, of course, if the father and mother do not have a formal profession or business when their offspring are babies, from prenatal to six, whatever they are doing is absorbed and becomes the children’s habit pattern of how they should live their lives on Earth. In such conditions, the chances for the son or daughter to follow the father’s or mother’s footsteps in a formal profession at a later age, such as at puberty, lessens because the children have already been programmed, from ages one to six, to live from day to day without a goal, without strong material security, without a profession, as their mother and father did, as casual, temporary employees or students, often unemployed or seeking employment Now, of course, if the father and mother do not have a formal profession or business when their offspring are babies, from prenatal to six, whatever they are doing is absorbed and becomes the children’s habit pattern of how they should live their lives on Earth. In such conditions, the chances for the son or daughter to follow the father’s or mother’s footsteps in a formal profession at a later age, such as at puberty, lessens because the children have already been programmed, from ages one to six, to live from day to day without a goal, without strong material security, without a profession, as their mother and father did, as casual, temporary employees or students, often unemployed or seeking employment.

Then there are others who will shy away from the family profession, whatever the rationale. There are many reasons that youth reject the family profession, but the point is that it is the duty of the family to make that profession available to them, knowing this can stabilize them throughout life. Therefore, we should encourage the traditional family ideal in any case, at any age. There is great mental, emotional and physical security for the son or the daughter to follow the family vocation. Such children have observed their parents, learned from them, slowly become partners with them in life. It is not always wise to allow your children to make the decision of what they want to do, allowing them to leave the home and make a stranger wealthy in another profession because of their service to him. Lovingly encourage them to do what you do and to become an extension of yourself. The ideas of “do your own thing,” “satisfy your own desires,” “wander into a career,” “move from one career to another midway in life” are modern adharmic concepts. It may work out, but there is a fifty percent chance of failure and crippling debt. Then, too, the family has lost a great asset. The children have lost half their family connection, as they no longer have a shared interest in what mom and dad are doing, and vice versa. And the stranger, way out there, benefits. A family should not end at the puberty of its children, who then go off into other spheres of interest. It should continue and mature into father-and-son corporations, father-and-daughter

corporations, with mother and father, sons and daughters all sharing the same interests, all working to increase the family assets.

The dharma of the householder is to build up wealth and knowledge, and to pass these on to the children, generation after generation. If they are in the jewelry profession, the wealth should go to the jewelers of the next generation, not to the musicians or computer programmers. Family wealth equals community wealth. Community wealth equals national wealth. National wealth equals global abundance. Hindu elders say that by following the occupation of the father and mother one will never go hungry, even if the occupation is a meager one. This is what I learned in Jaffna, Sri Lanka, at an early age. One might not become rich, but security is virtually assured.

So, don’t be afraid to bring your sons and daughters into the family business deliberately. Get them interested. Get them working with you. Your business or occupation is what feeds them. Naturally they should be interested in it. The simple answer for modern Hindu families following the traditional grihastha dharma is to form a family corporation and bring sons and daughters at an early age into what mom and dad are doing. Educate them in the family occupation from age six to thirteen and then engage them as partners all through life. What better partners could one have? Who would be more honest and loyal than your own children? Need we say more? You have caught the idea.