Where am I?
By Swami Dr Snehananda Jyoti on 24-07-2014
After leaving the hectic life of the cool Munnar ashram (spiritual center) in Kerala, India, on July 16, 2014, I reached the hot Siddhashram Center for Realization, St. Louis, USA, for the yearly visit. What occupies my mind strongly currently is the spiritual route I had taken when I left home at the age of 17 till now. On this route I spent years in studying philosophy, theology, psychology, spirituality, history of the world, and religions. My study more specifically focused on the Christian, Hindu, and Buddhist scriptures. While there are isolated glorious lives that greatly enriched and modeled humanity, the history of the world predominantly is one of strife and greed, conquest and enslavement. It overwhelmingly is a story of human’s inhumanity to humanity, oppression, and suffering. Philosophy and theology have been frequently fine speculations that often conveniently validated one prevalent view-point or other existing in society. In other words, theology did not lead the way. Delving deep into the conscious and unconscious psyche, psychology unearthed some gems of insight for sensible living. Yet persons such as Christ, Buddha, and Gandhi left deep marks on humanity not by their academic erudition but by the examples of their lives, by the insights they gleaned from experimenting with their lives. That tells me that while knowledge is important what truly matters is how I live my life in good times and bad times, and how I deal with my fellow human beings. Many economically advanced countries stand condemned before the eyes of humanity not only because their wealth was accumulated by the sweat and blood of their oppressed but also because they are not able to take a stand on the basis of moral and ethical principles. For them quality of life primarily means modern comforts and conveniences that money can buy. No politician is unlikely to make an unpopular decision that calls for sacrifices for fear of being not re-elected. Religions do not effectively address these vital issues that cripple humanity.
So where do I stand today? Taking the best from all religions I feel strongly that all religions, even as they keep their distinctive but healthy characteristics and practices, need to focus on spirituality, and cooperate in establishing the Kingdom of God on earth. Taking cues from history, politics, and religions, we need to ask ourselves what God as we understand wants of us in today’s world. Christ pointed out the evils of society that came in the way of establishing the Kingdom of God in his time. He told people what to do when they sought his advice. He taught persons to suffer pain rather than cause suffering to others. Gandhi’s willingness to accept non-violently suffering that came his way aroused the conscience of the world, that paved the way for needed change in the most stubborn hearts. Buddha’s teaching the middle way carried through eight-fold paths to deal with unavoidable suffering, and to achieve liberation is still valid today. All these great teachings point essentially to the path of love, compassion, and tolerance. Real love is possible because it is primarily an act of the will that anyone can make committing that person to a certain set of behaviors that are Godly. When the world is flooded by empathy and love, nothing can stop humanity from achieving its God-intended destiny: The Kingdom of God. When evil and darkness are all around us, we do not need to despair, because love will ultimately prevail and triumph.
About The Author
Dr. John K Thekkedam (Swami Snehananda Jyoti) spent most of his life as a clinical psychologist in USA. He began his public life as a Jesuit priest. Quite attracted in distinct philosophies, he left the society and founded 'East West Awakening'.