Silence, Community, and Democracy

July 2, 2009 Link Amma's Grace

Dearest Friends and Family,

There comes a point when one wonders whether keeping silent in the face of bad behavior is no longer a virtue, when done in the hope that those perpetuating it will reflect on themselves.
Some think that many are silent because they have been intimidated.  Other times, people mistake silence as an unspoken agreement or tacit approval of their behavior.

I know that for myself and for the vast majority of people, good at heart, our silence comes from a deeper seeing – that _respects_ the potential for the ‘humane-ity’ to come out of the wrong doing person, leadership or community.  We are silently aghast at the stupidity of those being violent, cunning, and crude.  We hope that they will review their actions in their minds, and alter their considerations.

But this doesn’t happen.  And in this expectation, we the good, the vast silent majority, are fools.  We sit while Governments and Generals declare senseless wars and kill our children and other people’s children.  We shake our heads, while corporations swallow the earth’s natural riches, and pollute every molecule on the planet, and media demoralizes us and our kids.  We don’t raise our voices for our children to have a genuinely meaningful education.  We go along with one that teaches them to fit in nicely into a corrupt and sick social and economic, planetary order.

The planet is in an ethical crises of the worst magnitude, and we, the silent good, have become morally weak.  We close our eyes to the slave treatment of “workers” and the poor.  We rationalize our selfishness before starving beggars, citing incidents of lauded newspaper accounts, written by people who feel assured of eating three times a day for the rest of their lives – newspaper stories of the beggar found to be holding on to one or two lakhs of rupees somewhere.  We then disengage ourselves from our responsibility to the suffering with our new smug understanding of how really, they are quite well off.

I have even heard esteemed people repeat such lies, undoubtably told to then until they were brainwashed: ‘The poor in Delhi don’t want a two rupee cup of tea if they can pay five for it.’
It is we who are to blame for the wretched condition human civilization now faces.  We have been silent in the face of injustice, cruelty, barbarianism, and perversity of all types.  We are confused, dis-united.  We the good, just want to enjoy our goodness with our own like-minded.  If at all we raise our voices – it is for a few moments only, and then we sink back into our comfortable reveries, our loving relations.

Yet in my observations, evil, the bad-behaved, has it’s root in self-aggrandizement in innumerable forms, which seeks power, fame, gain, position, which feeds itself in anger expressed, and can also act out of shame (and that one can be the worst) – this Evil never takes a break, never takes a vacation.  It is relentless.  We the good are mistaken in ever thinking that it will stop on this earth.  It is a force.

This is not to say that an evil-doing person is without good qualities.  But I think many people use the ‘grey area’ argument to avoid responsibility.  It seems that it is imperative now for the silent vast majority to get off our couches and become activists for what is righteous.  If we can’t become as relentless as evil, we can at least try.  We can start with breaks, instead of whole vacations from our vigilance.  We have been given voices, and the power of speech to stand up for righteousness.  To not exercise this precious human right and duty is where we sink into sloth.

At least, this is how I have always counselled Link and Anni, and tried to show them through my own example.  It’s not easy.  We walk alone.  A great strength comes, however, from leaning on the truth within.

Living in a community calls for a lot of compromises, and a lot of tolerance and patience.  However, there is a delicate line between the exercise of these virtues, and genuine personal sloth before unrighteousness, bad behavior, and brutality.

The nature of community life, no matter what kind, tends to flow towards gossip, conservatism, and superstition, which brings in its wake, an undercurrent of covert violence demanding conformity, which can sometimes (depending on the rigidity of the community, eg. as with cults) express itself in sudden bursts of overt violence and brutality to members and individuals who do not conform to group norms, despite their being non-violent, truthful, hardworking, helpful people.  This can include ostracisms, actual beating up of people, property destruction, and even violence and murder of innocent animals.  All this we have witnessed and experienced.  That this occurs at all demonstrates the deep level of sickness in the Community Soul that such conservatism fosters.

This has nothing to do with the _ideals_ that foster community life – ahimsa, truthfulness, selflessness, tolerance and patience.  It is the result of evil entering the minds of people through the desire of self aggrandisement – this we see in the wretched work of China’s policy towards the Tibetan people, this we see in communities, ashrams, and even families.  This is because community life in it’s conservative-mode fosters heirarchy.

An ashram, in it’s ideal, is a theocracy.  A satguru is the unquestioned leader.  They attain that position by virtue of their inner merit.  NO ONE can make anybody a SAT-GURU.  To even suggest such a thought is delusion itself.

That people then organise themselves under a Satguru into heirarchical positions in relation to each other, although they are all equal children of the Satguru, comes again from the conservative-mode operating in community life.

That this type of heirarchy did not occur in the past in the ancient gurukuls, we understand from the story of Krishna and his poor friend that brought him the parched rice who had been an equal member of the Gurukul with him in their student days.  That equality was internally felt, and externally expressed, which is why, when they finally met each other after many years, even though Krishna was a great king, and his friend an impovershed villager needing his assistance, they still met externally in acknowledgement of their internal equality.  One doesn’t read of His friend bowing, fawning, and scraping the ground in front of Him, kissing his feet, rubbing his ankles.  No.  They met as social equals as they had been in the days of the Gurukul.  True, his friend was a little shy to give his gift of parched rice to one who was now a king, but that had to do with his post-gurukul conditioning.  Just as Amma loves Channa, Krishna loved parched rice.

But those were ancient days, and this is now.  However, these stories serve as models to inspire us as to how to manifest the ideal in action.

The very second that structures of high and low, important or unimportant, somebody or nobody (I have actually heard people refer to others as ‘nobodies’ many times in community life) are accepted by the group, that second does power and its handmaidens of fear, intimidation, and their consorts – brutality and violence – come into being.

This is why I believe that a new political and social conciousness in all types of community life needs to replace these worn out patterns that enculture confusion or moral sloth on the part of good people, and the rise of the brute in the evil minded.  This heirarchal type of thinking is from Kali yuga, or feudal mindsets, and does not belong in practice if we are to usher in a better day for humanity and Nature.  If genuine democratic change does not start in institutions meant to foster an ethical life, where will it start?  And how will it influence the people?  It seems to me futile (if not downright hypocritical) for institutions or communities, living in countries bound by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 to spout about the equality of man, while following non democratic conservative mode patterns of political social structure.  In order for the Universal Declaration of Human rights to become the Norm, we need new political and social structures in all types of communities and institutions.  The Universal Declaration of Human rights does not leave religious groups out of its purview.  We should rise to its noble call. It is the Shastra for our time.

An ashram should be a pure theocracy while the Satguru is in form. In that, there is only one ‘Theos’.  More than one person in that position harms the role of the Satguru.  In order for the community to fulfill the loving family wishes of the Satguru, directly under his or her theocracy,  it is necessary for communities with larger than family size populations to embrace participatory democracy, everyone on socially equal footing as in the Gurukul that Lord Krishna was in.  Anything else brings the rise of powerful kings and petty tyrants as well as sickens the mind of the community as a whole.  That mind, is the community Soul.  If we truly love our communities, we will seek to ethically serve its Soul, for in doing so, we serve all.
These are just my observations, born of our experiences.  I share them because I want to raise my voice.  I for one, am getting very fed up with the violence and brutality, the harming and killing of innocent animals brought about by the conservative-mode in community life.  I seek it’s cessation.  God help me to go further, if need be.

Seeking your prayers for our safety and well being,
Loving you,
Kamala, Anni, and Link

ashramshumanitylost posttruthvirute

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