A user’s guide to living – part 7
DAAJI continues his series on everyday living, introducing the sixth universal principle of the User’s Guide, which is to know everyone as our brethren and treat them as such. As a starting point, this sixth principle helps us to overcome prejudice, and develop mutual love and respect with all beings. As we take it further, it unfolds into a state of unity and oneness that is a reflection of the original Source.
Know all people as thy brethren
and treat them as such.
The principle of universal brotherhood is fundamental to all religions and spiritual traditions of the world. In practice, however, what do we see? Sectarianism, prejudice and even outright hatred, a world torn apart by violence, and a deep mistrust between nations and various factions within nations. We are faced with a human race fractured by deep divisions, based on religion and race, even in the so-called civilized countries. You only have to read the news about what is currently happening with the “Black Lives Matter” and “Me Too” movements, or what happens in the name of the caste system in India, to know that we are far from universal brotherhood after thousands of years of religious teachings.
From time to time, great teachers and leaders have appeared in different parts of the world in order to bring the message of peace and love. More often than not, their pleas for universal peace and brotherhood have fallen on deaf ears. Many of them have been rejected, persecuted, and even crucified. How many deaths have there been due to COVID-19, which has shut down the globe? As of 12 June 2020, there have been 423,000 deaths around the world. Now, ask yourself, how many Jews were killed by the Nazis? How many people were killed by Stalin, Idi Amin, Mussolini, and during the border migration on the eve of 15 August 1947 between India and Pakistan? Then there are the ethnic wars in Rwanda, the Congo etc. When you add up the deaths resulting from calamities due to hatred, the statistics surpass the meager deaths due to an invisible virus. This pandemic is drawing so much of our attention, but the hatred-based calamities? Perhaps we all have some level of this deeply-buried hatred for something or the other which prevents an all-out removal of hatred.
It is against this backdrop that we need a fresh perspective on universal brotherhood, and in Heartfulness it emanates from the authority of a deeply experiential understanding of Reality.
The principle is actually very simple. Babuji writes, “All things descending from the origin should be treated as coming from the same source.” To bring home this point, he uses the analogy of a mother and her children: “Just as children born of the same mother are related to each other in one and the same way, so also are all bound together by the same common ties of brotherliness and are related to each other in the same way.” So simple!
“Just as children born of the same mother
are related to each other in one and the same way,
so also are all bound together by the same common ties of brotherliness
and are related to each other in the same way.”
When you try to hurt someone who has the same Godly soul in him – your soul and his are actually the same – now ask yourself, who is hurting whom? The same souls only look different because they have different personas arising out of karma. This awareness dawns upon us when we remain imbued in the deeper pools of the atma chakra, the second point within the Heart Region. Unfortunately, many of those who pass through this chakra miss out on the awareness of universal brotherhood due to a lack of acquiring the condition, enlivening it, imbibing it, becoming one with it, and uniting with it (AEIOU).
When we do experience and adopt this universal principle of unity, we get to first base. We cannot be devotees of God without embracing it, because it is fundamental to existence – in fact it is pure science.
We are all connected
The Heartfulness vision of universal brotherhood comes from this science – from the repeatable experience that at the center of our being we are all connected with the same Reality. This is the common Source from which everything was set in motion at the time of creation. At this level, there is no separation, and that center exists in every cell and every atom in the universe.
This is also recognized by modern western science. Scientists claim that some 13.7 billion years ago, just before the Big Bang occurred, there existed an infinitesimal point called a singularity. It was so small that it had no dimensions. The universe as we know it today came into being from that Big Bang.
Eventually, the first atoms were formed. The atom is the building block of everything animate and inanimate.
It takes one hundred trillion atoms to form a single cell in our body, and there are some 37 trillion cells in the human body, all originating from the same Source.
Further, genome studies have concluded that there is hardly any difference between one person and the other in terms of their DNA. In fact, the entire human ancestry can genetically be traced back to a common origin in Africa.
If this is true, then why is it that we feel so hopelessly separate?
Babuji explains it: “It is our thoughts and actions that created the separation. It is our feelings of selfishness that alienate us from other human beings. The separative feeling is the root cause of our alienation.”
Separation is an illusion
Most psychologists agree that when a baby is born she does not know she is separate from the mother. Gradually, over the first few months of her life, she develops a separate sense of self, and starts identifying with beings and objects in her surroundings. This phenomenon of separation and identification is a part of the process of ego formation.As the child grows into an adult, sibling rivalry occurs, creating separation laced with competition, and even an element of enmity. Remoteness is another factor that increases separation, and most of us experience it in our own lives. As we become adults, we leave our families and sometimes settle down far away. This remoteness further increases separation – initially we feel a strong connection, but it wears away over time.The feeling of separation seems to be part of our conditioning. It is a veil of Maya that impacts every facet of our being. Once this veil is peeled away, we recognize the reality that we are all from the same Source. We must accept and embody this if we are to become human.
From me to we
How can we peel away this veil of illusion? It is only through heart-based meditative practices. We need to experience the oneness – knowing about it is not enough. While our ego’s sense of individual identity is all about “I,” the heart is all about “we.” The heart is where we are all connected, where we naturally feel oneness, especially when our field of consciousness has been purified. When heart-based meditation is supported by yogic Transmission, we are naturally infused with love. As our capacity for love expands, so does our feeling of brotherhood.
As we grow in our practice, we are able to identify and break up the individual network formed by our thoughts and actions, which leads to an expansion of consciousness. When this expanded state of consciousness percolates into our lives, in our day-to-day dealings with others, we eventually rest in that connection constantly. Connection is nurtured through constant practice, and can be applied in our lives with awareness. It comes from within, not from any external authority. It transforms all our relationships, with our family and with all humanity. We feel love for everyone, as a first step – a true paradigm shift that enriches our lives. Later on, we go beyond the level of feeling, as love radiates from us, naturally. We no longer need to love, we become love itself.
And in Babuji’s words, “It will naturally lead to mutual association and greater attachment, and our dealing with one another will be molded accordingly, ensuring greater peace and contentment to everyone. How nice it would be to have it thus.”
Our success here leads to our success there
Yet it doesn’t end there. There is a great truth about worldly life that many of us don’t grasp. We mistakenly believe that our life in this world is transient and hence not important. But that could not be further from the truth. Whatever we do here also determines our destiny and success, instantly, though the results of our actions may not always be seen now, but in some distant future.
What is meant by that? In Babuji’s words, “This world is in fact a reflection of the other world. When this one is molded properly, its effect extends on to the other world whose reflection it is and that too will begin to be purified.”
This world is a projection of the astral or cosmic world, the Brahmand Mandal, where everything happens in astral form before it manifests here. There are several such higher regions, each more subtle than the other. When we refine our worldly existence on Earth, the effect is carried to each of the higher regions, all the way to the highest. We are multidimensional beings, and what we do in this layer affects all other layers. This life is a precious opportunity for us to change all levels of our being. When we act in alignment with these universal principles, it transforms all the dimensions of our being. This is yogic science.
Universal brotherhood in action
Now, imagine that a single act of compassion welling up from the bottom of our hearts has the power to transform all levels of our being. Principle 6 states, “Know all people as thy brethren and treat them as such,” so we can look at this principle as having two aspects – knowing and doing.
The first aspect is knowing: “Know all people as thy brethren …”. Knowing is a realization that comes from a state of being, and creates a perceptual shift that helps us make the choice between separation and unity. Knowing removes ignorance and resistance, and brings enlightenment, clarity, and purity. It acts as a bridge between being and doing.
The second aspect is doing: “… and treat them as such.” Once you know from the depths of your being that we are all brethren, then how will you treat others?
Knowing is the embodiment of being. Doing is the embodiment of knowing.
The third aspect, being, is something we often miss out on. The tastes of spiritual conditions are not to be taken as a buffet dinner, like children storming at a counter to be fed. “Taste and forget” should not become our tragic culture. That is why the practice of AEIOU is so important. It allows us to savor the experience, and let it be imbibed and enlivened within us, so that we become one with it.
And what about the fourth aspect, non-being? Let us not venture into this philosophically but prepare ourselves for the true encounter and merger in that state.
Embodying universal brotherhood
What does it mean to embody universal brotherhood in our lives? Before I address that question, I would like to clarify the confusion and common misunderstandings associated with this principle.
Embodying universal brotherhood does not mean that we go about hugging everybody in the street. It does not mean that we agree with everything that others say, and avoid confrontation at any cost. It does not mean we are always trying to please others and appease them. It does not mean that we believe everything we hear. It does not mean that we force ourselves to stay in an abusive relationship. It does not mean that we allow ourselves to be intimidated, taken advantage of, and manipulated.
We cannot have true compassion for others unless we have compassion for ourselves, nor can we love others unless we love ourselves. We are here to learn from one another. We are here to help and be helped. We grow only when we are fully engaged with others in healthy relationships, with a mutuality of love and respect.
We cannot have true compassion for others
unless we have compassion for ourselves,
nor can we love others unless we love ourselves.
We are here to learn from one another.
We are here to help and be helped.
We grow only when we are fully engaged
with others in healthy relationships,
with a mutuality of love and respect.
As we grow in our practice, our awareness expands. We uncover a deeper understanding of the belief systems that color our perception of reality, which include the feeling of separation. Over time, this feeling of separation gives way to a feeling of oneness. When this knowing leads us to change our behavior in a natural way, we start treating others as our brethren. When this becomes our natural habit, we can say that we have embodied the principle of universal brotherhood.
When we embody this principle, our lives transform in a fundamental way. We build meaningful and fulfilling relationships with our family members, friends, and colleagues, as well as members of our community, humanity as a whole, and then all lifeforms. We develop genuine love and compassion for others, even when the feelings are not reciprocated, because we are all connected to the same reality. We are all one.
Article by KAMLESH PATEL (DAAJI)
Illustrations by JASMEE RATHOD
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