Radical Change through Compassion

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We need radical change and it is needed NOW.

I have spoken to many people, introspected and dived deep into my own thoughts and the processes behind it and the whole machinery outright rejects the verdict that the nation has given in giving the Conservatives an overall majority vote.

Every morning, I wake up with a sense of deep sadness that millions are in or about to face suffering. I feel as if I am young Siddharta, who later became the Buddha, in the sense of feeling the deepest core of your being watching the suffering, feeling that suffering and then taken to plight to discover compassion.

I have some very close friends and we were discussing the difference between empathy and compassion. In a very quick analysis, one would assume they are about the same, however the deeper you enter compassion, the bigger the difference is, even if it is a subtle one. Empathy is when you can understand the pain the other person feels. You do not experience it but you have the intention to help. The main aspects of empathy are understanding and intention. Compassion is when you feel the pain the other person feels. You experience it deeply and your intention turns into action to find the remedy. The main aspects of compassion are deep feeling and action. Now, I may never understand what it is like to go to a food bank, however I feel the pain if someone had to go. To look at themselves in the mirror or at their loved ones without any sense of hope but a deep acceptance to carry on, I understand the pain, I feel the pain, I can actually experience the pain and damn, I need to do something about this.

When I say doing something about it, it isn’t in the pseudo sense of ‘I am going to achieve success, get a job, get a wife, buy a house, have kids’ type of delusional fantasy. I will be protesting against the system that has created these walls, these parameters that mean success. Why should success be individual? Why does it have to always depend on me or the idea of ‘me’? What about working as a collective, so the collective aspire together and achieve success they can share.

It is hilarious when I think of the cycle of life and I wonder if I will be the same. When we are given values from our parents, we are told to share and do things together because together we are happy as our own happiness radiates to everyone. Later on, as we get older, the story changes and it is all about my grades, my university has to be better than my siblings and competition breeds the individual and sharing becomes a distant dream. Being in the community will be a waste of time. Even concentrating on the true sense of the individual like meditation will be seen as time that could be used for studying or profit-making. Then we have kids and we instil the same values as our parents did to us. Finally, we come face to face with the hypocrisy.

Damn, the flashbacks begin. What happened to us? When did we become so distant from others and our own values? When do we turn back on the idealistic world we have created around wealth and come back to a reality of sharing with others, having that sense of community and living moment to moment? When do we transform into that child again? People tell me that if we all became children again there would be chaos. My reply is looking at the poverty in the world, the all-encompassing suffering, the attack on the vulnerable and those who need our love the most, can you tell me this isn’t chaos? The only reason it exists is because we think we are ‘mature adults’. The fact is we remained adolescents, growing with the enticing nature of competition and individuality, only that when we grow older, we have a few lines and wrinkles to state we are adults.

Today, the politics that I believe we should aim for is a holistic one. Not one just based on economics but one based on happiness. Without happiness, even wealth becomes a poison. We have to understand that we have to close the gap between the rich and poor, we have to get rid of food banks and source our food locally, we have to stop the privatisation of our health service and make it accessible and free to all, we have to embrace the elements we have to create renewable energy. The time to make the change is now. Life will always be awesome, whatever the situation but that doesn’t mean we can’t evolve the awesomeness to new heights. We can do this, if we are all together.

Join me on the 20th June, outside the Bank of England and let’s begin the revolution of happiness!

His love and blessings,
Rahul

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Post 93 – My letter to Hindus

Dearest my lovely readers!

Hope you are all fine and are having a great week.

Today I would like to talk to my Hindu friends. Coming from a Hindu background, I have grown up around Hindus and Sikhs. Frankly, Hinduism is so vast and that can be seen in a positive light or a negative light. It can be seen that it is very open to new practices hence the vastness. Or it can mean that the Truth has lost itself with rituals and false commentaries being placed above it. On top of that, some Gurus do not even understand the scriptures themselves and then start their rants.

I have read a lot of the Hindu scriptures. I have read the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Ashtavakra Gita, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and the Rig Veda.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the Upanishads and the Ashtavakra Gita and the reason is that this is the direct truth as it is. It is between the masters and the disciples. It points to the truth and does not shy away from saying that Hinduism is meant to be full of sages. This is something I really respect about Hinduism but with the new wave of Gurus and with them all claiming a right over the Truth, it is sad to see the growth has stopped and blind worshipping has taken over.

The latter (Ashtavakra Gita) possibly the best thing I have ever read is a book that shows how a Guru transforms his disciple into a master of his own right.

The Bhagavad Gita is great but due to its openness, it is always open to interpretation and many people can resonate with it because Krishna accepts everything. However, this is not the right way to look at the Bhagavad Gita. One must understand the context in which Krishna speaks and it does not necessarily mean that we can adapt what He says to fulfill our egoic ambitions. One can see the way it has been misinterpreted by the head of the cult ISKON. I have read the Bhagavad Gita As It Is and it’s very poor when it comes to the commentary and the author does not explore all avenues to what Krishna could have meant. Sadly, the translation falls short and I personally would never recommend this to read first. Then I have read the commentary of the Bhagavad Gita by one of my favourite Guru’s – Osho. If you click on the word Osho, a pdf of the book will open in a new window or tab. This is the best commentary of Krishna’s words and Osho brings a modern flavour to it without limiting Krishna. If you really love Krishna, it will show in how you take Osho’s words. On top of that, I would say the translation by Eknath Easwaran is top notch!

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are interesting and can be a bit difficult to understand for a new person. However, I will say it is amazing to read. I would suggest you find someone who has read it to explain it to you if you feel you cannot understand it.

The last one is the Rig Veda and I find this to be the weakest of all scriptures. It is funny how majority of the priests follow this scripture but it is very ordinary. There is hardly anything great or outstanding in it. You can tell that it is written by some greedy people, who were more interested in maintaining their power in society. The Vedas is a collection of ordinary words and expectation for something spiritual diminishes very early on. It is more a political book than a spiritual one.

I remember once speaking to a Pandit from London and I must say that I respect him alot and if I see him, I will give him a huge hug. I asked him ‘What is the best translation for the Vedas?’ He looked at me and saw my thirst for the Truth and whispered ‘Don’t read the Vedas yet, read the Upanishads first. It is more interesting and spiritual.’ I was a little confused so I asked him ‘Don’t you use the Vedas for your practices?’ And his loving response was ‘Very rarely do I tell someone to read the Upanishads, seeing you has made me very happy and I know you are not a hindu. As far as the Vedas is concerned, I have to earn my bread and butter.’ There was sadness in his voice but hope too. The fact is, I knew he never met anyone who has asked to read the scriptures. But if you understand what the Pandit was saying, it is of immense value.

I have come across people in my life, who claim to be Hindus and have never read their own scriptures. They will do the pilgrimages, they will go to the mandirs, they will listen to the kirtans and do jagaratas (all night prayer), they will do their rites and rituals in front of their idols but not one of them have consulted the scriptures. Hence, it is easy for Gurus to manipulate the scriptures to meet their needs. I see it on the television, all these gurus quoting the scriptures and because nobody has read them, people are misled. If the Guru on the stage says that ‘Do not drink water between 5pm and 6pm on a Tuesday otherwise it will bring you problems. I can guarantee this because it is written in the Vedas. If you want to get rid of this – there is the donation box and you will be saved.’ And the majority of people have not read the scriptures (and even most priests cannot remember alot of the scripture) and they will fall into the trap. They cannot remember if they have had a sip of water during that time and it is possible that they have, so they will put something in the donation box. This is blind faith. As far as I am concerned and the Upanishads are concerned, they tell you to know the Truth directly, instead of going around gurus who will not teach you the scripture but is looking to fill his pocket with YOUR money!

A True Guru will tell you the tool for self-realisation or god-realisation and then will tell you to read the scriptures and see if you can see the Truth now. You will be surprised at what you find out! In fact, the Upanishads tell you that go and find a Master, who can give you the Divine Revelation, who can give you Enlightenment! There are a few Gurus out there that are doing this. I will not say that it is my Guru only. Existence has been kind and blessed us with a couple of enlightened gurus.

If people used a little intelligence and spared a little time to read their scriptures, they would understand their religion. Hinduism is not a religion that is misunderstood by non-hindus but in fact, is the most misunderstood within its own followers. I have read the scriptures and say this with authority. If they consulted their scriptures, they would know that the way they are worshipping is not going to give them liberation nor is it going to improve their next lives. So I find it a sad state of affairs to see Hinduism losing itself in the insignificance of useless practices. Just read the Upanishads or the other scriptures. I would love to have a chat with you and discuss it in depth. If you are really religious and it’s not something you do for leisure or ‘time-pass’ then you will take my offer. I find the knowledge to be far too valuable to be lost in the miniscule nature of the practices that are ordained by the ignorant priests.

What Hindus here need to recognise is that I am not even a Hindu and I know your religion more than you. I find that sad. Prove me wrong and read the scriptures. Please!

I have a vision that one day, these scriptures will be talked about and practiced. The scriptures will be a guide instead of being a mere tool for reciting. It is all about reading, listening to it in your mind, then contemplating on it and let the experience flow. I feel this can be done today and this is what real learning or education is. This is what a real place of worship does. It places experience over words. The experience becomes the Truth. All the scriptures are meant to do is create a desire within you to experience the Truth, the real Freedom, to be one with godliness!

Thank you for reading this and I hope you understand me.

With love,

Rahul