Truth, Liberty and the Quest

May 15, 2009 Kamala Amma's Grace

Dearest Friends and Family,

As most of you know, we live here in Amma’s Ashram in Amritapuri.  Having met Amma, and sensing the reality of Love in operation within her, as Herself, we were thrilled to be able to live in the community she has created,  in the hope of being able to fully embrace the ideals that she stands for.

When we came,  we were one of the few American families.  We may be the only ones now, and we’ve become externally alot smaller….there are many more families here,  but not American….I know that our friends in the USA have had their doubts about the path that we have chosen to take.  Its understandable.  Intentional communities in the US are associated with cults and closed mind-sets.  Groups tend to do this everywhere, so people are wisely and naturally, leery of groups that cluster around ideals.  Unless the ideals are true, these group experiences can be almost, if not outrightly hazardous.  Even if they are True, as in Amma, She is the only one here living in full awareness of the ideal, so the cloudier view of the ideal creates it’s own group-think, which really has to be avoided, if one wants to stay focussed on the Truth of the Love that is Here.
Nonetheless, it is amazing to see here, what I call the miracle of Amritapuri, so many drawn here by the pull of deep love from within their hearts.  Because of this reality, lying just below the surface in people’s minds and hearts here, the ideal of Love and service to it,  Amritapuri is a relief and joy to be in.

There are so many little important things that we know, but do not acknowledge that we know. Most of us are afraid to exercise our only real human duty that we are born into – the duty of the personal investigation of Truth.   I am glad that when I was young, the Baha’i faith made me aware of this purpose and duty.  The only people that we truly admire are those that openly acknowledge their determination to be true to this duty.   Whenever a person stands up for Truth or exercises magnanimous Love in the face of stupidity, we feel grateful to them.  An example that Link gave me, was a fellow student who deliberately chose to work with another student who most people thought of as a failure, on his senior project.  He took a risk to his grades in order to enhance his humanity to another.  Link deeply appreciated seeing the sentiment. We all appreciate these experiences because, I think, that in these small acts is the public acknowledgment of the real duty of life, and everyone naturally feels it, as we all
have it.

Alot of people think that people who risk their conditioned mind-sets for the personal investigation of Truth are mad men and women.  Henry David Thoreau spent some joyous years in solitude in the woods in Massachusetts,USA exulting in, exalting and adoring Nature there, touching the reality of Truth behind the natural fibers of the Creation.  John Muir was similar, on the West coast of the USA, amidst the glorious Sierra Nevada Mountains.  If we look at that time-belt in human history, we see that there were people all across the planet, actively checking out of the norms of the social conditionings they had received, to pursue their own investigation of Truth. Thoreau 1817-1862, Muir, 1838-1914, Mark Twain, 1935-1910, M.K.Gandhi, 1869-1948, to name a few.  They weren’t the only ones, but, in the published sincerity of their investigation into Truth, they inspired many more to begin to think about this central and elemental question and duty to life.  In a unique way, America gives the opportunity to do
this more weight and respect than elsewhere, hence, the country is bursting with creativity as people feel freer to touch and express That which is within them.

In India, the right and duty of this investigation is theoretically given a high rank in the social fabric of culture.  There are innumerable rishinis and rishis who left all social norms for fulfill this quest.  The ancient varna system, which has now been bastardized into the caste system, and the ashrama system of life stages, structured the experience of human life accordingly, to fulfill this quest.  Now, the quest part of the whole thing has been forgotten.

Ultimately, this quest is the only real thing that we have in our lives.  Everything else, experiences, associates, possessions,  is passing by us like scernery, outside the car window….I feel it is important to revive and thereby uncloud our minds from the dross that stops us from knowing or seeking to want to know Truth and Love, to clear our minds of that which stops us from making our own personal investigation.

This right and human duty of personal investigation is what is behind political movements for human freedoms.  Liberty, that precious word, is the ideal of freedom to make the quest.  That we have forgotten the ideals behind all of the outer symbols, doesn’t mean they no longer exist.  I want to look at one important one,  gone rusty:

Education – the ideal of education was to provide a person with logical, reasoning, and expressive tools to enhance the quest into Truth, and express the results of that investigation back to society.   In the ideal of an educated person of the 1920’s, was one who could reason, debate, and otherwise demonstrate skills and acquisiton of knowledge that fed those researches – meaningful literature, science that revealed the Creator, etc. It had the ring of ethics in it.  Nowadays, education is merely high-skilled apprenticeships, and massive conditioning into corporate conformity. Education now is conditioning to replicate a corporate based society.  It has nothing to do with ethics.

Liberty – the ideal of liberty was to take the responsibility of personal freedom to express what the Truth in one’s self was doing or trying to say.  Now, Liberty has become disassociated from responsibility. liberty has come to mean the right to express and often impose one’s likes, dislikes, attractions and aversions upon the environment around one.  there is great confusion over what is freedom and liberty.

The main reason I am looking at these ideas, is to give myself courage.  Life on Earth takes incredibly bravery, if we are to face it in the light of our ideals.   If we know the Truth of something, we can stand up for it, for it is the only Real, everything else is malleable, passing, illusory.  I remember a few years ago, when some group-think in the ashram that I was unwittingly allowing into my mind was really getting me down,  I found a speech by Thabo Mbeki, about Gandhi’s first community in South Africa, Phoenix.  In it, he mentioned Article 19, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Article 18, is in similar vein…Here, I’ll get it:
They are both about the use of freedom and liberty to support the personal investigation of Truth:

Article 18.  Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion;  this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 19:  Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression, This right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Artile 26.2 is about education in relation to the independent investigation of Truth:

26.2  Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.  It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.

All of these rights and freedoms are based upon acknowledgment of the genuine equality of Truth, being present in all beings, as Article 29.2 demonstrates:

Article 29.2
In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others, and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.

I find great solace in reflecting on these ideals, especially as the daily experience of life so often belies them.  And that denial, in any form, I call rank Violence.   Groups, even family groups often commit unspeakable violence upon members without being consciously aware of it…when people feel intimidated, or feel a need to ‘fit in’ with the group, they are unconsciously reflecting the fact that they feel fearful of being excluded….otherwise, we could all be the rare jewels to each other that Nature intends us to be….(Of course, fear is another whole subject, one that comes really from within us, it cannot be imposed within us from without…we can combat internal fear with moral courage….) anyhow, the desire to fit-in, to the exclusion of placing our attention on the quest, is a form of self-violence…..
Anyhow, just a little chit-chat…. we wish you all great Courage, in dealing with the next moments of your lives, and increasing clarity as to why we are all here….and please do the same for us,
Loving you,
Kamala Aunty

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