posted by Kamala on Jan 29
Dearest Friends and Family,
A lot has been happening. Wherever Amma is, is always an incredible whirlwind, and that very tremendous whirlwind is on top of our own small cyclones. I must say that since October, it really feels to us that our lives have entered a very different phase of service, that will keep us writing, speaking and working towards the ideals that we cherish. It is as though a tsumani of work has come over our heads, and we are really just struggling to keep up…and along with it all is the emotional, psychological grokking effort.
Grok is a wonderful word, created by Robert A. Heinlein in Stranger in a Strange Land, a science fiction work of the 1960′s that Daddy introduced Uncle Jeff and I to. As I recall, to grok means to understand in a very total way, as part of one’s own awareness. Grok, grokked, grokking, grokkable. The book is remarkable. According to Wikipedia:
“The story focuses on a human raised on Mars and his adaptation to, and understanding of, humans and their culture, which is portayed as an amplified version of the consumerist and media -driven 20th century America.”
The novel was so popular and affecting, that a Church of All Worlds was even begun on some of its philosophical, ideological overtones…It has never gone out of print. I remember being very positively influenced by alot of its ideals as a youth. Later, as Link and Anni grew, I thought they would like the book. They didn’t like the sexual relationship portrayals in the book. I didn’t even remember that part.
This contrast in our views showed me, among other things, the negative powerful impacts from media that one gains, growing up in the West. The tremendous innundation upon the inner landscape by mental impressions of primitive-instinct self-identifications, that we receive, convinces us that most assuredly are our bodies. By the constant portrayal of our physical awareness as being ourselves, we think we become innured to these fast camera-click and implanted impressions. We think we have ‘objectivity’. In a very real way, they distract us from ethical life, from our ethical instincts. But, its a real mistake, real self-deceit to think that these impressions have not affected us. Every single thing we have seen, thought, heard, experienced, and probably eaten and drunk is still with us in some way even now…. We excuse them, as I did, even dismiss them from our minds, but like the food we eat, it becomes part of us, even if we relegate it to a sub-conscious position. And it surfaces later in innumerable ways: we act out of the impressions garnered deep within us from the sum total of the filtering and grokking of all of our life experiences….
We see the devastating overload of this now in the USA. Children raping and killing children, psychotic break-outs and break-downs, sexual perversions of all sorts, the creation of a society that has made people alienated from Nature, from our own selves, from the ability to cope with life without prescription support. But, its no longer the US and the West now, it has engulfed the entire planet thanks to media, science, technology and economics that have left common sense and have no ethical guidance.
I think this book was critical in hastening my intellect towards societal and human behavior analysis, which later, under Daddy’s influence found corroboration in Anthropology and Sociology…I wish, in a way that we all could take a few anthro and soc courses, from childhood itself…it helps to wean the mind from full identification with one’s socio-cultural environment to trying to understand the Truth behind it all, the common thread and patterns…the human being sans the overlays and conditionings….
Impressions in the mind caused by the conditioning of that which is so subtle in us, the doorways to our consciousness, can speed us along towards our own inner light, if ethically focused. Nowadays, India is importing and improvising her own multitude of impressions for Her masses, based upon a lot of primitive instincts.
When I came to India in 1972, radios were still hard to come by for most people. During the Emergency of 1975 under Indira Gandhi, and the later mass sterilization of men ( April 1976-1977) in an coercive and bizarre effort to lower India’s population growth, transistor radios were part of the booty that some received for ‘participating’ in the program ( batteries not included). Its always kind of interesting how the wealthy devise these plans to handle the poor. We never hear or heard at that time, of any rich person’s son going for sterilization in an effort to keep the population down…According to the Indian Express at the time:
After a police attack on the Muslim village of Uttawar, southwest of Delhi, 800 vasectomies were performed—giving Uttawar, as the Indian Express noted, “the dubious distinction of probably having every eligible male sterilized.” Across North India, villagers often slept in the fields to avoid the sterilization teams, or hid in their houses during the day.[ http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,947859-2,00.html]
It reminds me of a time when things were very tough for us in the US, we had no help from any side except the Grace of God, and I went to a state agency to inquire about food assistance, incase we were driven to that necessity. I was told that my car, an expensive model, was worth too much to receive aid. If it had been a cheap, old car, then I could receive food assistance.
I left marveling at the idiocy and stupidity of such programs and their authors and concepts of requirements. I couldn’t eat the car, nor could I do without it as a means of transportation from our home, far off public transport lines of any sort. I was not getting help because it was a ‘rich person’s car’. If I traded it in for a ‘poor persons’ car’, which would need constant, expensive repairs, or did without it, and became even more destitute, then, I would be given help….the program was not really there to help people keep the wolf from the door, so to speak. What it did was reduce people to a poverty level from which they would be hard pressed to get out of. Fortunately, with Grace, I was able to keep us together without it, and the time passed. Most ‘help the poor’ and ‘develop the poor’ programs are designed by the rich or well off, who have never experienced hunger, hardship or want in any real way. They have some sort of smug feeling that the prosperity they have, has some how qualified them to make decisions for those who do not have it, and on top of that that they actually know what is better for others whom, they ultimately see as beneath them.
Money brings a very big sense of power. I see its effect everywhere. Ultimately, it is an unreal power, but its so exhilarating when it is possessed, that people, even religious and spiritual leaders do not recognize or become blind to its hold upon them. I guess it is true that it corrupts. There again, when we say it corrupts, we mean that it corrupts our ethical fibers…..
I digress. So, back in 1972, TV in India, was a very rare thing, it was government controlled to a large extent, and mostly it had cultural programs, like music concerts, etc. So, it was fairly boring, and most people were unaffected by it.
Now, its 40 years later, the govt. ~ has little to do with the TV anymore, nor does any regulatory agency it seems, and there are very few places in India without a TV and satellite dish, which enables people to bring the world of media impressions into the humblest hut. TV is such a powerful educational tool that it should never be in the hands of unethically oriented people. Its power to corrupt is as great as its power to purify and to mend and unify….
So, we have people all over the world thirsting for Coke, consumer lifestyles, etc. What really scares me about this is that now grandmothers in India, are watching the soaps. And these soaps are portraying values which destroy the strong bond of sisterhood that has sustained Indian family life. They show women making ugly faces at each other behind each other’s backs. They show men touching women inappropriately, and the women being pleased by the touch. The grandmothers are the ones that imparted innumerable social and ethical values into society. The capture of the minds of the grandmothers, so that they are not really even mentally present to be able to address the behaviours in their homes, is a great loss to Indian society. It is the dumbing down of a great culture…2 more generations like this, and it will be gone.
All of this creates tremendous, powerful impressions. 1 year ago I said to Link as we saw the students coming over the bridge – ‘India is still safe, if they haven’t got the women to follow the western dress codes’. We were seeing more and more boys, packed into hot, thick denims, swaggering in tight clothes all day…6 months later, it is clear that Indian women are succumbing to the lures of consumer oriented society, to the teachings they receive on TV and through movies.
There are even international agencies from the US that come to India and tell the govt.~ to ‘loosen’ up its sexual mores and folkways, if India is to progress like the west, and to encourage spending rather than saving.
I didn’t think it was making any headway, but, the govt.~apparently listens to these sources. Some of our Indian family members who were visiting us recently told us how the ‘credit’ consciousness has enveloped ‘middle-class’ India, and everyone is buying all the commodities on credit, with payment plans – the same stuff that has brought about the global financial meltdown – and the Indian govt. Under the iron fist of the WTO and the IMF International Monetary Fund has changed all its banking regulations to comply with these interests….
To facilitate people’s understanding of this,we have posted a free download pdf on our website: Earthethics.org.in called, “A People’s Briefing on the Toppling Structures of Globalisation”, if you are interested to painlessly understand how these larger unelected governing structures are working. Generally, economic discussions are so laden with jargon, that they numb the mind, the Briefing avoids that.
On another happy note, Amma has been taking Thumbum, a loving beautiful dog given to her by some devotees in India to her room. As a result, we see alot of people trying to be nicer and more tolerant to the dogs and to Thumbum especially. He now gets cookies from the juice stall. Many people try to make friends with him now. Amma’s example is very powerful. People’s attached love for her, helps them to change quickly for the better. Thumbum exists, if it can be said, in a state of deep inner fullness and abidance. He is extremely happy. But his happiness is so full, that it does not come out in puppy exuberance, but in peace and deep inner satisfaction….when he is not having ‘room time’ he is largely lying in deep rest….until the night time cooler temperatures…Its getting unbearably hot, and its only January.
I can’t imagine what he is experiencing, although I like to try.
On another positive note, I read that Amma has said that there will always be ‘knowers of the self’ able to guide humanity. Then also, I found this wonderful Biblical reference in Paramahansa Yogananda’s Autobiography:
“Think You,” Jesus was saying, “To silence men of peace? As well may you hope to throttle the voice of God, whose very stones sing His glory and His omnipresence. Will you demand that men not celebrate together in honour of the peace in heaven? Will you counsel them to gather in multitudes and express their oneness only on occasions of war on earth? Then make your preparations, O Pharisees, to overtopple the foundations of the world, for gentle men as well as stones or earth, and water and fire and air shall rise up against you, to bear witness to the divine harmony in creation.”
I find this reassuring. In a way, I think we do see this happening…the climate crisis has come about by definite effort to topple the natural systems that sustain us by corporate greed.
Link and I listened to Obama’s State of the Union address this AM…a real mixed bag, which I think will become a lot more ethically focused when the natural systems are not able to sustain food production….as it is, freak frosts and ice in Florida has wiped out the citrus crops and many helpful amphibians and lizards…..
Well,this has been a chatty newsy time - our love to all of you, O, Link’s going to show me how to put up photos, so, I can show you our meetings with Vandana Shiva and Link singing to the Bolivian President, Evo Morales… there should be videos of this and other topics on the earthethics web site.
Kamala Aunty, Anni and Link