Saturday, December 20, 2008

E Spiritus Unum

"You should undoubtedly bow before all views. But there is a thing called unswerving devotion to one ideal. True, you should salute everyone. But you must love one ideal with your whole soul. That is unswerving devotion." ---Ramakrishna

"They call you Christ, Vishnu, Buddha, Jehovah,

Our Lord

You are Govindam, Bismillah, Creator of All."---George Harrison

Have you ever had the experience of reading an article concerning a subject that you had first hand knowledge of and being aghast at how skewed the facts had become between the happening and the reporting? Or if some media figure dips into a realm of your expertise and reports something as the gospel that you happen to know they got completely wrong? The experience inevitably causes you to wonder, 'Gee, if they got this all wrong, how much of the other stuff are they getting wrong that you just accept as truth?'

In an earlier post I talked about the difference between fact and Truth, and the impact that a confusion of these two principles have had on modern humanity's "buy in" on certain religions. When we read stories concerning events that occurred thousands of years ago, we know that they were written themselves mostly long after the fact, mostly by people not remotely attached to the subject matter, and mostly from what one may call a political agenda. There are different levels of objective at work at all times; edification, indoctrination, etc. And yet there is often the bones of what we may believe to be the source material there, enough to gather the essential wisdom of the many prophets and pilgrims of spirituality that came before us.

When I first heard the lyric that I quoted near the top of this page in the George Harrison song "Life Itself" back in 1982 it opened my eyes to the idea that many of the world's religions were only separated by vernacular mythology, that all were paths to homage for the same Creator. They were what Joseph Campbell called the "Masks of God". And the further down the road I go the more I see that this is so, and there are many bones of the source material to be found in the works of world religion.

One of the tough things to square with this viewpoint as a Christian is Yahweh's insistence on strict adherence to shunning all other gods except Him. If there was no other lesson to be learned in the Old Testament it was that one. I know you can rationalize your way out of or into anything, but I believe since Yahweh's plan was to set aside the Hebrews as his Chosen people so that he could eventually incarnate into a man and be among his own creatures for a time in order to bring us to the next stage of spiritual evolution , it was necessary to demand this from his people. If many of the gods are different aspects of one, then no other gods are being put before the other. So, I think this can be squared .

In future posts I will go into more detail about my thoughts on Christ. I have issues with some of the attributions concerning his birth and activities after death; but the bones of the source material, his teachings and so on, are to me the pinnacle of spiritual wisdom and a great boon to Mankind. It is in his teachings that I have placed what Ramakrishna referred to as "unswerving devotion", and though I find wisdom, joy, and enlightenment in many sources, it is to Yehushuah that I turn for ultimate spiritual guidance.

What is your source for "unswerving devotion"?


Brer said...

There is a lot in this posting to be ruminated on. I think that Jesus must be considered as a Goal as well as a Guide, and that who he was (incarnate God) and what he did (redemption) is far more important than what he taught ethically (most of which has been summed up in Natural Law and the highest traditions of other faiths and philosophies). I think that it is more accurate to speak of what happened to mankind not so much as a step in spiritual evolution as a redemption and enhanced made available to our spiritual state. But perhaps this is just an instance of terminology getting in the way of what is essentially the same idea.

Babel said...

I agree. Christ is a goal to be sure, His is an example of the best there can be. I also agree about redemption to a point; I think of it more in terms of fixing a broken spiritual element in Man, rather than a payment for Original Sin and all future sins by calling upon Him like a genie. He showed us that as fallible and imperfect as we are, there was a high point we could aspire to, and a completion of the disparate elements of our souls that we could achieve. But, again, is this just semantics?

Brer said...

The angels proclaimed at Jesus birth that "today" a Savior is born unto men; I think that, even if Herod had succeeded, that still somehow the redemption of Man would have been accomplished by Jesus' life, no matter how short. That is, again, a speculation.

Also, I believe this redemption is worked more by a simple relationship (dread word!) with God through Jesus than through following an amendement of life until you are "good enough"; the penitent thief on the cross beside him had little chance to mend his life but was promised Paradise for his moment of faith. If this sounds like a genie, hand me a lamp.