Monday, 12 December 2016

Friday, December 9th, 2016

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Ocean of Mercy

“To my dear godbrother and friend, Bhaktimarga Swami.”  Bhakti Caru Swami autographed this on the inside cover of his book Ocean of Mercy.  The book was a kind gift, one that I started reading on the plane to Saskatoon.

Here is a provocative excerpt from the book, of an incident which occurred before he became a monk.

“One Sunday during the summer, when the whole group was sitting together in a restaurant near the harbor, Chuck asked me in a rather condescending tone how many people died of starvation in India each year.  His disrespect was insulting, but I tried to control my anger.  Many people in the West had that misconception, but no one had ever put it so bluntly.

“Although I was born and brought up in India,” I said, “I have never seen anyone die of starvation.”

“Oh, come on,” he persisted.  “Everyone knows that.  You don’t have to defend your country’s honor.  After all, a fact is a fact…”

“India is not poor,” I protested.  “She may not be so advanced or affluent materially, but she is not poor.  If she were, why would Columbus have ventured so far to find her?  Why was she considered the crown jewel of the British Empire?”

“You may claim whatever you want,” he argued, “but everybody knows India’s poverty-stricken condition.”

“India is not interested in material prosperity,” I countered, “but in developing her spiritual riches.”

“What are your so-called spiritual riches?”

“That the real goal of life is to achieve emancipation—elevation to a higher consciousness.”

“By smoking pot?”

“No, by performing austerities—negating the demons of the body.”

“That’s just the excuse of useless bums.”

When the others saw that the argument was spiraling out of control, they suggested we stop … That argument led me to probe deeper into my country’s spiritual culture.”  

May the Source be with you!

5 km

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