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Topic

wellbeing

source: gallup.com

The Five Essential Elements of Wellbeing

For more than 50 years, Gallup scientists have been exploring the demands of a life well-lived. More recently, in partnership with leading economists, psychologists, and other acclaimed scientists, Gallup has uncovered the common elements of wellbeing that transcend countries and cultures. This research revealed the universal elements of wellbeing that differentiate a thriving life from one spent suffering. They represent five broad categories that are essential to most people:

Topic

Death

Death is the only certainty in life, and the one thing nobody prepares for until it overtakes them nor think about until it claims a loved one.

Leaf by Niggle by Tolkien is an allegorical tale describing life, purgatory and the afterlife. The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran also has a chapter on death. There is also his Dying Man.

A must read is the Tibetan Book of the Dead by WY Evans-Wentz and also the The Tibetan Book of the Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche.

It is said that when the soul dies, it is at first unaware of its death / removal from the physical world. It still perceives the actions of loved ones and feels their pain. It lingers behind trying to communicate with them and reassure them that there is nothing to cry about. We the bereaved need to let them go on their way into the afterlife / purgatory / next life as is our belief.

Recitation

In Vedic thought, we have the Mrintyunjaya (Victory over death) Manthra from the Rig Veda which in Sanskrit is written as
ॐ त्र्यम्बकं यजामहे सुगन्धिंम् पुष्टिवर्धनम् ।
उर्वारुकमिव बन्धनान् मृत्योर्मुक्षीय मामृतात्

Transliteration
Om tryambakam yajāmahe sugandhim puṣti-vardhanam ǀ
urvārukam-iva bandhanā mṛtyormukṣīya māmṛitāat

Translation
OM. We worship the Three-eyed Lord Who is fragrant and Who nourishes and nurtures all beings. As the ripened cucumber (with the intervention of the gardener) is freed from its bondage (to the creeper), may He liberate us from death for the sake of immortality.

Topic

Peace

Peace is an occurrence of harmony characterized by the lack of violence, conflict behaviors and the freedom from fear of violence. Commonly understood as the absence of hostility and retribution, peace also suggests sincere attempts at reconciliation, the existence of healthy or newly healed interpersonal or international relationships, prosperity in matters of social or economic welfare, the establishment of equality, and a working political order that serves the true interests of all.

In India, when we finish a prayer, we say Om Shanthi Shanthi Shanthi. Shanthi means peace. Why say it three times? One for self, one for the surroundings and one for the entire Universe(s).

To quote our about page, these are the concentric circles in which conflict arises: Me, Family (and Friends), Community, Country, Work, Work Ecosystems and finally the Whole World. Problems arise because of conflicts within members of these circles, or at the individual level, between myriad thoughts and beliefs.

When you find peace within yourself, you find it in the world. The world can change upon the acts and faith of a single Individual, there are so many Bright Ones who have done it.

There is no point in reading the news and being upset by every conflict / fight. If you can’t do anything about it, don’t let it enter your psyche and wreak havoc. Think love, not hate. Stand up for Truth and Righteousness(Dharma). Don’t lose spirit.

Quotes

But life at its best is a creative synthesis of opposites in fruitful harmony – Martin Luther King

The rest of the quotes are taken from wikiquote:
* Peace comes from being able to contribute the best that we have, and all that we are, toward creating a world that supports everyone. But it is also securing the space for others to contribute the best that they have and all that they are. – Suu Kyi
* Where there is no justice there can be no secure peace.
* That just laws which uphold human rights are the necessary foundation of peace and security would be denied only by closed minds which interpret peace as the silence of all opposition and security as the assurance of their own power. – Suu Kyi
* If we are serious about peace, then we must work for it as ardently, seriously, continuously, carefully, and bravely as we have ever prepared for war.
* he first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes from within the souls of men when they realize their relationship, their oneness, with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells Wakan-Tanka, and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us. This is the real peace, and the others are but reflections of this. The second peace is that which is made between two individuals, and the third is that which is made between two nations. But above all you should understand that there can never be peace between nations until there is first known that true peace which is within the souls of men. – Black Elk, One of the Sioux
* The world has achieved brilliance without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than we know about living. If we continue to develop our technology without wisdom or prudence, our servant may prove to be our executioner. – Omar Bradley, Armistice Day speech
* Islam is peace, these terrorists don’t represent peace. They represent evil and war.
(at C, I tire of adding more quotes, but any of you are welcome to edit this article)

Topic

Devotion

Bhakti, Worship, God and Deva redirects here. So do all the Deities / Objects venerated and worshiped.

Bhakti (Sanskrit: भक्ति) literally means “attachment, participation, devotion to, fondness for, homage, faith or love, worship, piety to (as a religious principle or means of salvation)”. Bhakti, in Hinduism, refers to devotion and the love of a personal god or a representational god by a devotee.

Most simply, bhakti refers to the common religious devotion that is held in the heart of a devoted person of any spiritual faith.

Both Islam and Christianity say “thou shalt not have strange gods before me”, but Hinduism always believes in only 1 God*.

* The apparent multiplication of gods is bewildering at the first glance, but you soon discover that they are the same GOD. There is always one uttermost God who defies personification. This makes Hinduism the most tolerant religion in the world, because its one transcendent God includes all possible gods. In fact Hinduism is so elastic and so subtle that the most profound Methodist, and crudest idolater, are equally at home with it. – GB Shaw.

Religion, in its most general view, is such a Sense of God in the soul, and such a conviction of our obligations to Him, and of our dependence upon Him, as shall engage us to make it our great care to conduct ourselves in a manner which we have reason to believe will be pleasing to Him.

Sacrifice is the first element of religion, and resolves itself in theological language into the love of God.

A religiously developed person makes a practice of referring everything to God, of permeating and saturating every finite relation with the thought of God, and thereby consecrating and ennobling it.

I said before, the most beautiful and most profound religious emotion that we can experience is the sensation of the mystical. And this mysticality is the power of all true science. If there is any such concept as a God, it is a subtle spirit, not an image of a man that so many have fixed in their minds. In essence, my religion consists of a humble admiration for this illimitable superior spirit that reveals itself in the slight details that we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble minds. – Albert Einstein

Read more …

Topic

Cosmos

We are not alone in the universe!

Carl Sagan — ‘The universe is a pretty big place. If it’s just us, seems like an awful waste of space.’

Even Islam today accepts Angels taking 50000 years to descend from heaven and says there are many worlds whose inhabitants each believe its the only one in all of creation.

Hinduism believes in Devas and Asuras from Devalok. And then, there are astral planets.

The blue planet project (if I’m remembering this correctly) states that there are 160 types of aliens.

in5d outlines the possible places in the cosmos you may have originated from. Mentioned is Lyra and Pleiades.

Topic

Pledge

source: chinmayadc.org
youtube: Pledge Talks, Swami Mitrananda

We stand as one family
Bound to each other with love and respect.

We serve as an army
Courageous and disciplined
Ever ready to fight against all low tendencies
And false values, within and without us.

We live honestly
The noble life of sacrifice and service
Producing more than what we consume
And giving more than what we take.

We seek the Lord’s grace
To keep us on the path of virtue, courage and wisdom.
May Thy grace and blessings flow through us
To the world around us.

We believe that the service of our country
Is the service of the Lord of lords
And devotion to the people
Is devotion to the Supreme Self.

We know our responsibilities
Give us the ability and courage to fulfill them.

Om Tat Sat

Indian National Pledge, but can be extended to any country / add other pledges here later.

India is my country.
All Indians are my brothers and sisters.
I love my country and, I am proud of it’s rich and varied heritage.
I shall always strive to be worthy of it.
I shall give respect to my parents, teachers and all elders and treat everyone with courtesy .
To my country and my people, I pledge my devotion.
In their well being and prosperity alone, lies my happiness.

Topic

Obstacles

source: chinmayamission.com

“Some act till they meet obstacles, others act in spite of obstacles, and conquer them; but some act not, fearing the possibility of some obstacles that might arise en route.”
– Swami Chinmayananda

The very word OBSTACLE indicates to us the attitude required to overcome obstacles. Invoking these attitudes is to invoke the Ganesha within us –

O – Objective Knowledge – “Knowledge is Power.” Gain functional knowledge and skills in your chosen field. Lack of knowhow poses many obstacles.

B – Broadmindedness – “life, when properly tuned, can round the sharp edges in our character.” In a broader vision of Life in its entirety, obstacles are stepping stones to cultivate an inner perfection and an outer excellence.

S – Sensitivity – “Be like a flower. Give happiness and fragrance to all.” A flower produces fragrance from mud, dirty water, manure, etc.

T – Toughness – “The Suffering depends not on the factual happening but on the texture of one’s mind.” Cultivate a ‘tough’ mind through study of the scriptures, faith in a Higher Reality, value – based life, etc.

A – Alertness – “Alert and vigilant living is a sadhana by itself.” Alertness helps one to foresee the ‘obstacle’ and nip it in the bud.

C – Concentration – “Never complain, about the number of hours you have put in to do a job. How much of you was put into each hour of your daily work ?” The sun’s rays (mind) when unified through a convex lens (concentration), burns away a piece of paper(problems & negativities) below it.

L – Love of God – “Don’t tell God how big your problem is. Tell your problem how big God is.”

E – Enthusiasm – “Real men of achievement are people who have the heroism to fuel more and more enthusiasm in their work when they face more and more difficulties. Be Aggressively good.”

Topic

Bright Ones

The term was first noted in The Hour of God by Sri Aurobindo and is used by Shasa in Dear Brother. It may refer to:

Artists and Scientists
Authors
Lightworkers (a term I first heard used by Patricia Cori)
Mystics, Prophets and Seers
Yogis and Swamis

Some Examples:
Albert Einstein
Benjamin Franklin
Galileo
Gandhi
George Carlin
Jesus of Nazareth
JRR Tolkien
Mahavatar Babaji
Paulo Coelho
Ramana Maharshi
Robert M Pirsig
Richard Bach
Sri Aurobindo
Sri Yukteswar

and countless, countless other people who have strove so hard for the continuous establishment of the Kingdom of Heaven, a tether to cling on to during the dark ages.

Topic

Religion

Wikipedia: A religion is an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to an order of existence. Many religions have narratives, symbols, and sacred histories that aim to explain the meaning of life, the origin of life, or the Universe.

“Indian religion has always felt that since the minds, the temperaments and the intellectual affinities of men are unlimited in their variety, a perfect liberty of thought and of worship must be allowed to the individual in his approach to the Infinite.” – Sri Aurobindo.

ENTHEOS – Enthuse about God (Theos), is a platform for interfaith dialogue which accepts different articles from our contributors and viewers on the topic on our fundamental oneness and rediscovery of the spirituality within.

Have I spoken this day of aught else? Is not religion all deeds and all reflection? – Kahlil Gibran. Thou shalt keep thy religion to thyself – George Carlin.

youtube: What is Sanatana Dharma, Sri Aurobindo, 1909
link: God Without, God Within – Vrekham, Satprem, Dalal et al, SAMA Integral Yoga Playlist
youtube: Set Man Free – J Krishnamurthi Playlist
youtube: Why So Many Gods, Who Am I – Hinduism Playlist

Christianity taught us love, Buddhism spiritual discipline, Hinduism spiritual democracy and Islam social order. – Religion, Shasa, 2017

Grant him the understanding that each man is free to choose his religion, that none is superior to the other, that each man understands the will of God according to his own nature and the truth of his being.Harmony Movement Prayer – Shasa, Nov 2015

Dear Theist, I hope someday you’ll understand my love for God. It’s no different than my love for Life, and all that is in it. My religion is no different from yours – it’s just that I can understand yours, but you can’t mine. And because you can’t understand it, you don’t think its the same as yours. And since your so sure your’s is correct, you think mine is wrong. Sweetheart, its all the same – religion just means love of life! – Shasa, 2005

We can either approach this new world understanding by clearing away the encrustations of religion, or ignoring it altogether and coming up with new paradigms – Spirituality instead of Religion, and a Cosmic Divine instead of a God. Whatever we call it, man has discovered Liberty, Equality and Freedom and no-one has forgotten the universal message of Love, borne by Krishna, Buddha, Christ and Mohammed. We all have a value system that is becoming more and more accepting and tolerant of one another. – Reconciling Quality, Shasa, Aug 2015

What with the fast-pacedness and our inability to have wholistic, meaningful lives, we’ve allowed ourselves to be influenced by forces we should have heeded not. Let’s unblock ourselves, focus on connecting with the primal forces, the healing energies, the cosmic love. Let’s all agree to leave the bodies of our Churches, Temples and Mosques, when necessary, but to cling more tightly to the spirit of that universal message. – Islam Not Atheism, Shasa, Oct 2013

And this guy has had enough. and he yells at us to stop. But they’ve got him lock stock and barrel. For now he becomes the devil, come to play tricks on us and cheat us of our place in Heaven. at least so they make us believe. – Religious Appeal, Shasa, Feb 2005

At the core of our website is a belief in the universality that exists in all religions. As they passed through the dark ages, these all became encrusted with untruths and have been diluted by unscrupulous people with ulterior motives. As we become one world and continue living in a new Age of Illumination, it falls upon us to remove the crud and learn to live in peace and harmony. Or, to put it in the words of Aurobindo:

THE WORLD abounds with scriptures sacred and profane, with revelations and half-revelations, with religions and philosophies, sects and schools and systems. To these the many minds of a half-ripe knowledge or no knowledge at all attach themselves with exclusiveness and passion and will have it that this or the other book is alone the eternal Word of God and all others are either impostures or at best imperfectly inspired, that this or that philosophy is the last word of the reasoning intellect and other systems are either errors or saved only by such partial truth in them as links them to the one true philosophical cult.

The major surviving religions are (in order of appearance): Hinduism (Vedic Belief or Sanatana Dharma, read as knowledge), Paganism ?, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity (read as love) and Islam (read as peace).

There are also smaller religions like Sikhism and Jainism which are thought of more as offshoots of Hinduism. Please read this article which throws some light on the caste system in Hinduism.

Our writing is aimed at expounding the core beliefs and helping others understand it from an integration perspective, as Swami Vivekananda puts it: upon the banner of every religion will soon be written in spite of resistance: “Help and not fight,” “Assimilation and not Destruction,” “Harmony and Peace and not Dissension.”

We leave you with some quotes (all prefixed by * are from wikiquote).

* Religion is a great force — the only real motive force in the world; but what you fellows don’t understand is that you must get at a man through his own religion and not through yours. – George Bernard Shaw
* All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man’s life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. – Albert Einstein
* have you considered any of the other major religions? They’re all pretty much the same.
* Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.
* So many gods, so many creeds — So many paths that wind and wind While just the art of being kind Is all the sad world needs.
* Such religion as there can be in modern life, every individual will have to salvage from the churches for himself.
* Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned.
* Religion, in its purity, is not so much a pursuit as a temper; or rather it is a temper, leading to the pursuit of all that is high and holy. Its foundation is faith; its action, works; its temper, holiness; its aim, obedience to God in improvement of self, and benevolence to men.
* All noblest things are religious,— not temples and martyrdoms only, but the best books, pictures, poetry, statues, and music.
* Human things must be known to be loved; but Divine things must be loved to be known. – Blaise Pascal

Read more …

Topic

The Individual

link: Man the Microcosm
youtube: Inherit the Wind 1960
link: Inherit the Wind Quotes

We are all made in God’s image. The individual human, in all his glory…

As is believed, as in the macrocosm, so in the microcosm (see auromere link at top):

“It is necessary to remember the fundamental principle of the Tantra Sastra that man is a microcosm (kshudra-brahmanda). Whatever exists in the outer universe exists in him. All the Tattvas and the worlds are within him and so are the supreme Shiva-Shakti. The body may be divided into two main parts, namely the head and trunk on one hand, and the legs on the other. In man, the centre of the body is between these two, at the base of the spine where the legs begin. Supporting the trunk and throughout the whole body there is the spinal cord. This is the axis of the body, just as Mount Meru is the axis of the Earth. Hence man’& spine is called Meru-danda, the Meru or axis-staff. Read more …

—-
I will let Spencer Tracy say his piece (see youtube link):

An idea is a greater monument than a cathedral. And the advance of man’s knowledge is a greater miracle than all the sticks turned to snakes or the parting of the waters.

Then why did God plague us with the capacity to think? Mr. Brady, why do you deny the one faculty of man that raises him above the other creatures of the earth? The power of his brain to reason.

Can’t you understand? That if you take a law like evolution and you make it a crime to teach it in the public schools, tomorrow you can make it a crime to teach it in the private schools? And tomorrow you may make it a crime to read about it. And soon you may ban books and newspapers…
AR – Brady on the Stand

If the Lord wishes a sponge to think, it thinks! Therefore, let us all accept the divine in others and leave them to their own nature and ways. If we can offer another point of view without intentionally hurting, but in a spirit of love, then do it, else Silence is Golden.

—-
George Carlin:

No matter how you care to define it, I do not identify with the local group. Planet, species, race, nation, state, religion, party, union, club, association, neighborhood improvement committee; I have no interest in any of it. I love and treasure individuals as I meet them, I loathe and despise the groups they identify with and belong to.

Illustrative of the disparity between static and dynamic. The system can die only when all the individuals are independently good.

Topic

Vegetarianism

link: http://hinduism.stackexchange.com/a/112
link: http://www.thealternativedaily.com/why-i-gave-up-being-vegetarian/

2017:

But most importantly, when I do eat meat, I choose meat that has nothing to do with the awful practices of the factory farming industry. – Katherine Marko, thealternativedaily.com

2015: Being vegetarian is a personal choice. It should be decided not because killing is wrong. Killing plants too is wrong. Its a matter of what your priorities are. Avoiding rajasic and tamasic food is only important for people who are trying to increase their sattwa.

But since you must kill to eat, and rob the young of its mother’s milk to quench your thirst, let it then be an act of worship,
And let your board stand an altar on which the pure and the innocent of forest and plain are sacrificed for that which is purer and still more innocent in many.
When you kill a beast say to him in your heart,
“By the same power that slays you, I too am slain; and I too shall be consumed. For the law that delivered you into my hand shall deliver me into a mightier hand.
Kahlil Gibran on Eating and Drinking in The Prophet

Which is the same thing being said on stackexchange (see link above) – you must offer it up as a sacrifice to your God. So if you do the same with animals, then its OK.

So again, coming back to priorities:

But the disciples of the saints have as their chief aim and effort in life to rise above the animal plane and to unfold their spiritual powers. Hence they must not eat that which will pull them down to the animal level.
karma and the vegetable diet

That being said, by rearing animals, we are creating opportunities for their souls to take birth and evolve. So in a way, we are speeding up the evolutionary process. So, its a dicey question and the truth is, look at the pros and cons, and let your heart decide.

Topic

Ages

wiki: Golden Age
youtube: The yugas of Sri Yukteswar
link: The Holy Science
youtube: Tide of Time

In Greek history, we have the Ages (see wiki link). In the Vedic culture, we have the Yugas. The Kali yuga (Iron Age), Dwapara yuga (Bronze Age), Treta yuga (Silver Age) and Satya yuga (Golden Age) correspond to the four Greek ages.

It is commonly (and erroneously) believed that the current is the Iron age / Kali yuga / age of decline.

The The yugas of Sri Yukteswar (see link) as described in his book The Holy Science (see link) states that the Dwapara Yuga (Silver Age) began in 1700AD.

This idea is reinforced by Jaggi Vasudev’s Tide of Time (see link)

[user]Imran[/user]: Belief in an Age is important – do you accept a more enlightened and glorious past? Do you think this is an age of decline? If you accept this as D315 (year 315 of the Dwapara Yuga), then your outlook on life and where the world is heading has to be optimistic!