Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Tusnami 2004-05

In the Kali Yuga, all the kingdoms of creation from stone to metals, fish to birds, animals and human are put under great stress from the burden of unnatural impressions. The forces that balance nature too, are under great stress and so we begin to witness great natural disasters like the recent Tsunamis.
In the aftermath of recent events I have noticed conversations that have begun to develop regarding the “karma” of such events. From leaders and spokespersons of various religion and philosophies I am hearing opinions regarding the reasons why the Tsunamis occurred. Questions like “Are the Tsunamis an indication of the fact that God is displeased with us? Is God sending us a message that we have been bad and better change our ways?”
This conversation, I believe, is a topic that is perfectly suited for this blog. Please feel free to post any comments you may have and enter into a dialog on the subject.

B. W. wrote:

“Dear Michael,

Thank you for your blog. I'm so glad to be on this mailing list. I had a thought this morning and didn't know who to send it to. I was listening to people from various religious backgrounds being interviewed on the meaning of the Tsunami. Some of them made reference to karma and some said that even the small children might have had karmic debt to pay. I know (Meher) Baba said children under 7 don't pay karmic debt (at least I heard that)

Anyway, what I was thinking was that If people had to suffer because of karma maybe not even their own (?), at a time when people are so angry at each other and are engaging in or verging on war (people hurting other people and thereby accruing even more Karmic debt) this kind of massive suffering, as opposed to a war, is nobody's fault but Gods and doesn't cause the accrual of further Karmic debt. Also it brings out our compassion, reminds us that we value human life and no one really wants this suffering. Maybe it would make people think twice about hatred/war and maybe help us even recognize each other's humanity when we might otherwise have not….”

Dear B. W.
One of the books I am in the process of writing in called Silent Whispers/Timeless Talk. It is an attempt to take material from the Discourses of Upasni Maharaj and create it in a form that is more accessible to the average western reader. It is dedicated to and inspired by Meher Baba. A particular statement seems responsive to your comments:

22. Two Kinds of Suffering

“There is a kind of suffering that is self-generated and artificial. It is the result of the striving for worldly pleasures and leads one into a cycle of faulty and wicked actions. In the end, these actions do lead to some pleasures, but they are, of course, temporary, and in the final tally, the suffering always outweighs the pleasures gained.
The second kind of suffering comes uninvited and without performing any faulty or sinful action. When it comes, if one bears it patiently, then, over time, one acquires the capacity to bear more and more. With the growth of this peculiar power within oneself, a peculiar sort of happiness is achieved. This is the real happiness i.e. the Infinite Bliss.
But, it is not always apparent to the individual what kind of suffering they are experiencing. The simple solution is this. Bear all suffering quietly. Do not react with hatred, envy, or self-pity. Do not attempt to avoid the suffering at all. Be determined to bear all that comes to you. If you do this, then even the first kind of suffering will lead you ultimately to that Infinite Bliss. This is my experience.”

I might add, that I find this statement particularly helpful in witnessing the suffering of others. We really don't know what kind of suffering we are seeing, and therefore if compassion motivates us to action, we should act without needing to know the why or the wherefore, but from the heart with Meher Baba's name on our silent lips, without attachment to the success or failure, importance or insignificance of our efforts.