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Books and Documents

Spiritual Meditations

The participants sat in a chair, tucked neatly in a metal tollbooth, with only one task: to flex a finger on their right hand at whatever irregular intervals pleased them, over and over, up to 500 times a visit....

 

While it is not yet indisputably established why 9/11 terror attacks were carried out by al Qaeda, it definitely had the imprint of religious bigotry based on fundamentalism...

 

In these times of extreme religious intolerance, misunderstandings and parochialism, when i delve into the bowels of the metaphysical aspects of all religions despite being a non-believer, I wonder if today’s self-appointed ‘interpreters’ can ever fathom the profundity of spirituality...

For Sufism to replace political Islam, which has exhausted its purposes and failed, its discourse must be rationalised and its performance must be developed so that it rises to become a national and societal project and not just an individual’s project or a movement’s project....

Does following universal human rights mean adopting similar, unified socio-cultural values and practices? Clearly the answer is no. Yet we see tendencies to malign specific countries or societies based on their religious and cultural backgrounds. ...

A Sufi master might say to his followers, “If you desire to return to truth, remove the mask you are wearing. Be in search of the Face.”  Another might tell her friends, “The surest cure for corruption is laughter.”  At any moment, a Sufi may reveal the heart as a mirror with wings!...

 

None-the-less I felt compelled to respond to Corjescu’s latest piece, “On the Persistence of Religion”.  This piece begins with the erroneous assumption that there is some great disjuncture between the rational mind and the expression of emotions...

So whatsoever your background, consider singing your heart out and listening to the silence and music of the universe and you have participated in prayer and secured your berth in Heaven....

 

The emotional quality of some atheists’ responses to religion reminds me of the worst characteristics of religious fanatics: intolerance, hatred, invective, and a blind desire for collective uniformity....

This is the way India has always lived. This was not her weakness but feminine strength. This is the strength of the superior quality of love and compassion born out of meditation and spirituality. This is the reason we call our country Mother India. We call the whole earth Mother Earth. Vande Mataram...

“When one is considering the universe, unseen matter, our small backyard of the stuff, I think it is important, sensible even, to try and find some balance between laughter and uncontrollable weeping.”....

 
Our Vanishing World: Rainforests
Our Vanishing World: Rainforests
Robert J. Burrowes, New Age Islam

Rainforests are a crucial feature of Earth’s biosphere. Apart from being critical to Earth’s climate and vital carbon sinks, the major player in Earth’s hydrological (water) cycle, a massive producer of oxygen and home to most of the world’s species, rainforests are the home of a large indigenous human population.....

 

The wise person of the Gita, Sthitaprajna, is concerned with what is right action and how to exercise right judgement. In doing so, the sage becomes a jnana yogi...

 

Although education is escalating at much faster rate, but at the same time obscenity, pride, nakedness, corruption, anarchy, lobbyism, duality, pornography, atheism, and what not else, is spreading at an alarming rate....

 

She desires everyone in her town to die so that she and her lover (Mirza Yaar) could roam free in the deserted streets without any human or canine interference. The saint listens patiently and then comments on why she herself should not die instead. The story ends as the woman falls downs and dies, then and there....

Religion has been either displaced by secular modes of thinking or such forms of religiosity that are not averse to secular sensibility. Our children, generally speaking, go to secular schools where religion might find some space but in a manner that is, often, either irrelevant to overall curriculum or it is seen as alienating allografting exercise....

God is beyond Our Limited Understandings
Fr. Babu Thattil CMI, New Age Islam

Everyone needs something or the other to believe in—a deity, a power or maybe an ideology. Many of us believe in an All-Powerful Being called in English as ‘God’.

The fact, however, is that God, the Ultimate Power who created the universe and still continues to control and protect it, cannot be limited within the boundaries of any religion, ideology, sect or community. Being the Supreme Power, He is and must be beyond any such limits....

If we take the verses of the phrase ‘Kun Fayakoon’ at face value, it will give a wrong idea about the creation of the Universe and about the nature of God. God does what He wills but He does not do it out of His whims or for fun. If the phrase is taken at face value then it would mean that God’s creation is an illusion and does not have any principle or laws to govern it and there is not any fixed system for its governance….

 

Who wants constraints, including those urged by one’s own self, when it comes to exercise of one’s freedoms? Yet, if we search for the roots of the many problems in the world, we find them in our inability and unwillingness to live a life of ‘samyam’, a profound Sanskrit word for self-taught self-restraint...

 

The key issue is that for our strategy to mobilize people in this great struggle for survival to be effective, we must also be mobilizing parents, teachers, religious leaders and other adults to reconsider and profoundly revise their relationship with children. This is because every child who is not dysfunctionalised becomes a powerful agent for change....

 

The main area of Ram Mohan's interest was the Vedanta or the Upanishads. Through an in-depth study of the Vedanta, he realized that the central message of Vedanta or Upanishads was Monotheism or Unity of God: Ekamevadvitiyam (He is One without a second) which in Arabic can be translated as La ilaha illAllah. The Upanishads or the Vedas do not preach or promote idol worship. But he observed that the Hindu community had become idolatrous and instead of professing monotheism they professed polytheism. They had also invented many rites and customs which were not mentioned in the Vedas or Upanishads....

While all Muslims believe that they are on the pathway to God and hope to become close to God in Paradise after the “Final Judgment” – Sufis believe that it is possible to draw closer to God in this life itself. They aim to please God by working to restore within themselves the primordial state of Fitra...

 

The alternative to monotheism is polytheism. The Greek version of polytheism had no holy books, priesthood, and desires for crusades. I returned to Greek polytheism because of what the Christians did to my ancestors...

Baul music may be an unfamiliar genre for anyone who has never resided in West Bengal or Bangladesh, but this UNESCO World Heritage-listed musical style has influenced the culture of the area...

 

Parvathy has found the true meaning of her music and life as a Baul bard under her guru, Muslim fakir Qalandar Abdul Salam, in Kerala capital Thiruvananthapuram. “Abdul Salam has taught me the spiritual meaning of Baul music while my mentor in Bengal, Sanatan Das Baul of Bankura, showed me the way to sing early in life,” Parvathy told IANS after a performance in the capital....

 
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