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Harmony Forum

Peace from Harmony
1. Historical Preconditions for the ABC of Harmony

2.2. Prerequisites

 

Laj Utreja

 

Social Harmony in the Vedic India

 

According to Webster, social refers to human society, the interaction of the individual and the group, or the welfare of human beings as members of society. It also refers interdependent relationship. Harmony is derived from the Latin harmonia and the Greek harmos meaning "the just adaptation of parts with each other." It refers to a situation where all elements fit perfectly with each other as to complement each other fully well. This also applies to people when they live together peacefully with love and respect in our conduct.

Social harmony is the mark of a successful and peaceful society. When we are harmony with others, there is no place for doubt or fear for the other. This free environment fosters creativity and imagination for everyone to reach their potential creating opportunities for others. If we are in harmony, we can actively participate in the affairs of the society and contribute our skills and talents for the development of society. We cease to become self-centered with limited outlook and share our ideas with unlimited potential for the benefit for all. It is through harmony in our feelings and thoughts that we are able to experience satisfaction and contentment. Social harmony was the culture of Vedic India. Vedic India is the period of time in the early history of India during which Vedic civilization flourished.

The timeline of Vedic civilization is generally 4500 BC-1800 BC. It flourished o­n the Banks of the river "Sindhu," whom the Persian invaders mispronounced as "Hindu." The British later named their culture and belief systems "Hinduism." For the practitioners of Sanatana Dharma (eternal precept) this fact stays as an anomaly in their course of history. With the point of view that changing the name doesn't alter the contents of the 'material in the package' the inhabitants began to associate with the new name just as easy as they assimilated and absorbed the invading peoples and cultures. Harmony was ingrained in their vary psyche.

The Vedic philosophy of living in harmony with the environment is clear from the statements such as, "Vasudeva Kutumbakam" The whole world is o­ne family; "Loka samasta sukhino bhavantu" May all worlds live in peace; and "Sarve bhavantu sukhina, sarve santhu niramayaha, sarve bhadrani pashyantu, ma kashchid dukha bhag bhaveta" May all living being be happy, free from pain and suffering, and may all see good in others and find peace. Vedic culture maintains a great regard for women, the environment and nature. The vedic verse says, "Matri devo bhavah" Respect your mother as god. The Earth is symbolized as mother as well; mountains, rivers and trees are considered sacred. Every Vedic deity is associated with a particular animal as its vehicle. In fact, each element of the universe is manifested to exist in harmony with its intrinsic nature and its environment.

Once manifested, the universe is sustained o­n dharma (the sustaining principle). The concept of dharma lies in rita, the law and order of the world and its progression that follows a course of events. Rita stems from Sanatana Dharma (eternal precept) and is therefore eternal. Sanatana Dharma introduces rita as the ultimate order for maintenance and preservation of the manifested universe. The application of Rita in vyavahara (established rules and practices) of human beings (also an outcome of manifestation), in their various stages of life (Brahmacharya student life, Grihastha family life, Vanaprastha retirement, and Sannyasa preparation for spiritual pursuit) and stations in a society (Brahmins the intellectuals and the learned o­nes in the scriptures, Kshatriyas rulers, administrators and warriors, Vaishyas business folks in science, technology, medicine and agriculture and traders, and Shudras laborers), is dharma.

Correspondingly, dharma represents practical approaches for adopting Sanaatana Dharma in different family traditions, business transactions and trade practices, under all social and political conditions. All aachaara (behavior) and vyavahaara during the human endeavors for artha (security) and kaama (pleasure), in the conduct of governance and rule, law and order, education, business, trade, science, philosophy, law, agriculture, performing arts, and other orders of society, performed according to dharma in space-time continuum provide the natural course of living in harmony and with the least impact o­n the environment.

Dharma is the law of being, the orderly fulfillment of an intrinsic nature and its course in time while it exists. Dharma sustains the universe when it is followed at all levels: universal, human, social and individual. For example, a teacher's dharma is to impart knowledge in the specific field of interest. He must possess theoretical and practical knowledge about his field of expertise and interest. He must teach in the spirit of service and must cultivate the spirit of humility and compassion for his students. The teacher, being a human being must follow other laws pertaining to him being a human being. The teacher has a nature, so he must follow individual law. As he lives he goes through various stages of life, for example learning skills to make a living, so he must follow human law. His profession places him in a particular station in life, so he must follow social law. He belongs to this universe in being an element of this universe, so he must follow universal or spiritual law [58].

Individual Law (svadharma) is personal law of a human being. We come with certain nature of likes and dislikes (human, godly and demonic qualities). Experiencing the fruits of our nature as our being follows the trajectory of incidents (situations and circumstances) in the history of our existence is individual law. The situations and circumstances bring before our being the pairs of opposites, such as joy and suffering, happiness and sorrow, success and failure, hot and cold. Individual law is consistent with and is the collective effect of the all other laws o­n us. According to the Vedas, our reaction to incidents and actions determines whether we are relieved of our natures or become further bound to our natures.

Human Law (ashrama dharma) is our natural expression (or reaction of our body, mind and emotions) and growth as we pursue the four goals (purusharthas) of life: the pursuit of dharma (righteousness, mindful of the laws of city, state and country of o­ne's domicile), the pursuit of artha (security, interacting with resources to accumulate wealth, house and other amenities of life), the pursuit of kama (pleasure of the senses, such as enjoyment of delicious food and fragrant flowers, etc.) and the pursuit of moksha (seeking liberation from the pair of opposites as we find no satisfaction from the pursuits of mundane disciplines). We follow human law as we move through four progressive stages of life (described above) of student, family, retirement and spiritual pursuit. For example, in a family, children may be in the brahmacharya ashrama, going to school to acquire education and learn skills, parents may be in the grihastha ashrama, raising children and serving the society, and grandparents may be either in the vanaprastha ashrama, slowly retiring from public life or in sannyasa ashrama, seeking spiritual happiness. According to the Vedas, proper performance of the duties of o­ne's stage of life is the human law.

Social Law (varnashrama dharma) is proper rendition of our duties and responsibilities while being member of a family, community and a nation and as a member, and profession or occupation consistent with our station in life (described above) of the teachers, kings and rulers, businessmen and traders, and laborers. Being in a specific country, we may belong to a faith. Correspondingly, we must follow religious and moral law consistent with our religion and faith and pay taxes consistent with the tax code of the nation. Every society comprises of a variety of classes, professions and groups. Generally, they can be classified as: the learned o­nes, scholars and spiritual leaders are brahmins, kings and rulers, administrators and military personnel are kshatriyas, business persons in science, technology, medicine and agriculture, bankers, traders and merchants are vaishyas, and laborers, workers and artisans who provide service to the rest are shudras. The society progresses when we follow social law properly. According to the Vedas, a man is born, with a debt to the gods, the sages, the ancestors and to human being and the environment.

Universal Law (rita) is the cosmic order, the intelligence in nature, the sustaining principle and organizing force. Rita is the universal law regulating nature, from the initial expanding gas into the ordered motion of galaxies, black holes, stars, planets and subplanets to the atoms and subatomic particles. It is destiny and the road to destiny. Whereas nature is amzingly complex and incomprehensible, yet it is orderly following universal law. We follow universal law when we realize that we are an integral part of nature. We follow universal law when we bring our life into harmony with nature, the sustaining force, and we are in tune with our maker. Our physical, astral and causal bodies came from nature and return to nature. Correspondingly, we have responsibilities to nature, which when fulfilled balance its responsibilities to them. The apple seed always yields an apple tree, and a rose a rose, not another species. The purest expression of these four timeless laws, is called Sanatana Dharma. The Vedas proclaim, "There is nothing higher than dharma. Verily, that which is dharma is Truth" [59].

Human beings are protected by the law, so long as they follow the law. There is a statement in Manusmriti, "Dharmo rakshti rakshitah (If you protect dharma, it protects you)." Dharma is that which supports existence of an object. For o­ne human being, it is individual law; for human beings, it is human law, for a society, it is the social law, bye-laws or charter; for a nation, it is the constitution; and for the world, it is Sanaatana Dharma, the basis of dharma. Just as a thread that goes through different beads and holds them together as o­ne rosary, so does dharma hold together people of different faiths, races and cultures together as humankind. Just as the beads come apart and they cease to be a rosary when the physical thread holding them together breaks, so do human beings come apart and they cease to be humankind if the invisible thread of dharma holding them together breaks. The o­nly way to maintain the integrity of a necklace is if the thread of dharma is kept strong. Correspondingly, it is by following dharma alone that can assure proper maintenance of human race. It behooves o­n all of us as responsible members of human race to recognize this and maintain the integrity of this necklace of human beings.

An action along the lines of dharma can o­nly be good for all. Therefore, justice, righteousness, morality, virtue are the various forms of dharma expressed as Manudharma (dharma for the human race). Practical dharma or acharadharma (human behavior and conduct) relates to the physical needs and problems of human beings at the temporal level. o­ne may ask what must be the way of life! It has to be living in dharma. It is to live ethically, harmoniously, and with stability. People normally refer to various duties, rights and obligations, but this is not living in satya, the highest dharma. Duties, rights and obligations are o­nly means, interpretations and regulations of an individual. But, the family and the societies make them complicated. Ultimately satya resolves svadharma into the achara and vyavaharaa of two forces of creation: male principle and female principle. The purusha dharma (dharma for the male) and stri dharma (dharma for the female) take away the ambiguities and interpretations away from the duties, rights and obligations. When husband and wife conduct properly with each other and are in harmony together, they as individuals, part of humanity, society and the universe follow rita, the truth [60].

The principles of social harmony in the Vedic India are important for understanding and developing the principles of a harmonious civilization in the 21st century. The contents of the article can be represented in the following model-39:

 

Dr. Laj Utreja has worked in various capacities, as hands-on engineer, as technical leader in people management, and as CEO of a small business. He has been an ardent student of Sanatana Dharma for most of his adult life. His reverence for Bhagavad Geeta has in part motivated him to write his two books, "Who are we?" and "What is our origin?" He is founder of the Institute of Spiritual Healing (ISH). President, GHA-USA. Address: 122 Foxhound Drive, Madison, AL 35758, USA

Web: www.instituteofspiritualhealing.com,

www.peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=353 E-mail: ish0001_at_aol.com

 

Harmony Alphabet: 20 Fundamental Elements/Spheres

 

The earliest books of knowledge, Vedas conceived in the minds of the early seers mention rita, the law and order of the universe and its progression that follows a course of events. o­nce manifested, the universe is sustained o­n dharma (the sustaining principle). Rita stems from Sanatana Dharma (eternal precept) and is therefore eternal. Dharma governs all elements, their interactions and processes that make the universe for their support and sustainability.

The universe and all of its elements follow intrinsic order of their makeup. Social harmony or the sustaining principle of a society related to the interactions of its elements of the universe is a consequence of how well the social elements follow dharma. Harmony in a society, therefore, is a function of defining an order and then following it. To sustain a harmonious society would require both an order and the choice of the elements following that order. All time and space conditions with order lend themselves for a scientific study.

Repeated observations of natural phenomena take the conjectures to hypotheses, theories and laws depending upon their domain of applicability. Human beings are very distant elements in the formation of the universe and undergo their individual space and time evolution. For them to be in social harmony, they possess intrinsic knowledge of and must follow all the laws in their formation. Vedic texts throw light o­n both 'knowledge' about the universe and 'actions' that lead to harmony among human beings. Such a treatise was presented by Laj Utreja in Social Harmony in Vedic India. The laws for social harmony included: Individual Law, Human Law, Social Law and Universal Law. Consistent with Prof. Leo Semashko's Tetrasociology context, the Vedic writings were revisited by Laj Utreja in the Science of the Vedic Culture of Harmony-a TetraUniverse Module for Academy of Harmonious Leadership, a GHA initiative. This background is provided to review the ABC of Harmony.

Prof. Leo Semashko is a proponent of Harmonious Civilization based o­n his earlier work o­n Tetrasociology. He has undertaken the complex task of providing a scientific basis to social harmony knowing clearly that development of such an approach is a complicated intellectual exercise. He has ventured into this complex undertaking to put forth a holistic principle, common to peoples of different cultures in his Harmony Alphabet: 20 Fundamental Elements/Spheres.

The Harmony Alphabet of 20 Fundamental Elements/Spheres is the nucleus of the ABC of Harmony. It is the first attempt of Prof. Leo Semashko together with the GHA coauthors to understand and develop the deep foundations of social and individual harmony in systematic form of the collective textbook. Starting with o­ne underlying axiom and 5 clusters of harmony to which the axiom applies, they expound upon the tetra structure of the clusters from the ideas of the early thinkers, such as Pythagoras, Empedocles, Plato, Carl Jung, Talcott Parsons and many others.

These 20 fundamental elements are the necessary, sufficient and coherent preconditions of social harmony consistent with the current scientific knowledge. o­ne of the important facets of the ABC of Harmony exposition is providing a mathematical basis to 4 spheres of reproduction to express integral harmony of a society at all levels. Very important is delineating the tetra elements: Spheres of Production, PIOT Resources, PDEC Processes, Spheral Classes, and Spheres of human as ABC of Harmony Stages providing a conscious holistic principle, common to all peoples of different cultures. The ABC provides a fertile ground for further research and a new direction in the development of social sciences.

 

A Review by Laj Utreja, Ph.D., Founder, Institute of Spiritual Healing, USA

 

Apostolos Paschos, Leo Semashko

 

Greek Philosophy: Harmony Ideas for the ABC of Harmony

 

The entire Greek culture and education through ages have been associated with harmony, perceptions of which were formed and developed in ancient times. This short article is the outline of the ABC of harmony basic premises in ancient philosophy. Although the ABC of Harmony (hereinafter  ABC) requires o­nly harmonious civilization, but its premises and foundations, in view of the universality of harmony, intuitively began to form in the antique epoch into the most ancient civilizations of India, China, Greece and others. Here we touch the origins of the ABC o­nly in terms of ancient Greek philosophy, in which we find its three basic fundamental premises: philosophical, dialectic and moral.

The first source and the premise is the idea of universal harmony, which pervades not o­nly cosmos but also society and human. Macrocosm of harmony is like the microcosm of human and vice versa. These fundamental ideas form philosophical, o­ntological and epistemological basis of the ABC. Here are some of the evidences of these ideas.

Pythagoras (582 500 BCE) from island of Samos of Greek Aegean Sea is the first who marks the Universe as the spherical harmony and harmonic movement. He names harmony the echo of sky planets and symphony. He proves that the sphere among all shapes of solids is the superior o­ne, the most beautiful, harmonious at any level. This idea of Pythagoras, accepted by Plato and other Greek philosophers, is reflected in the ABC, in which the basic elements of social harmony are recognized as spheres of five clusters, i.e. five different quality groups. In the corpus of Pythagoras' principles, in the "Golden Verses of Pythagoras" we read: "quaternion is an inexhaustible source of life" (lines 5253). This o­ntological structural principle is the basis for the tetrad structures of social and individual harmony in our ABC.

Philolaus (470385 BCE) from the city of Croton of the Great Greece advocates "that everything is governed by the need and the harmony, which exists in our world in all the infinite components".

Democritus of Abdira, in Thrace of Greece (460 357 BCE) refers to the music that speaks about rhythm and harmony.

The second source and premise is the idea of harmony in the dialectic of the whole and parts in nature, in society and human. This idea is the ABC's dialectical foundation. Here are some of the evidences of this idea.

Heraclites from the Greek city of Ephesus (544 484 BCE) said "Harmony of world is like the bow and the lyre".

Hippodamus of Thourio of the Great Greece (444 BCE) in his work "About bliss", says: "Harmony is harmony and agreement of a number and a multitude, because o­ne element alone cannot generate the whole. The soul virtue exists even in a molecule and in the number of elements of the whole, as a decoration of nature and this is harmony. And in the circumstances of absence of harmony and divine control o­f the universe, nothing could exist , because virtue of body is harmony, virtue of the city is a good law Each element serves the whole and everyone."

The third source and premise is the idea of harmony as the highest good for society and individuals. This good crystallizes other supreme values inside itself: beauty, justice, measure and other human virtues. This idea is the moral and value base of the ABC. Here are some of the evidences of this idea.

Pythagoras uses number "four" as a measure for everything in life, and divides the population into children, adolescents, adults, seniors. that corresponds to the harmony of the four seasons of the year. He considers the pursuit of simple life, natural food and the soul health to ensure harmony.

Pythagoras is inspired by harmony in all things; he seeks for it in the relationship between youth and seniors. He also admits that "each creature is reproduced by every other creature with the harmonic proportions of all elements of life And the virtue is harmony, like health and all good, like the God. Thus, all institutions constitute the divine harmony." He sees friendship as harmonious equality.

Zeno of Kition of Cyprus (333 261 BCE) indicates that good people are real citizens and friends are congenial and truly free. The philosophy of Zeno is a natural, moral, and logic mixture of harmony. He considers the Greek language to be a perfect harmony grammatically with virtues and clarity. In his work "About the human nature", he says that the human nature is identical to virtue, which is the final target of conscious life of adequate harmony.

Plato from city of Athens of Greece (428 347 BCE) in his work 441C says that a human through harmony of the soul elements: mind (reasonableness), spiritual feeling and desires, forms the harmony of the city, through three classes of people. And he adds that harmony of the internal world of human means concord of the soul parts, which can be compared with tones of music harmony. Next (430433) he develops the idea of identity of reasonableness and justice with harmony. Reasonableness is the order, the power over pleasures and desires. It tunes in its own way all the strings both of the state as a whole and of every human. Justice is the quality of a perfect and harmonious state in which everyone is occupied with their own business. As a result, he concludes (87), that kindness, beauty, balance, and measure (harmony) are identical: "All good, no doubt, is beautiful, and beauty cannot be alienated from the measure proportion and balance."

The higher synthesis of Greek philosophy belongs to Plato. He created the intellectual image of the world harmony as integral being and the highest value in the form of a perfect sphere of the eternal cosmic universe. From this sphere, as the utmost value of harmony, the harmony of planetary and stellar spheres is being born, the harmony of society and human. From harmony as the highest value all the other private values are born: kindness, mind, beauty, love, justice, freedom, measure, and other, which are identical to it and are o­nly its partial manifestations. This general conclusion served as the ABC basis, in which all the values: peace, kindness, love, justice, and others are derived FROM harmony as the ultimate cause and the deepest foundation.

Another higher synthesis of Greek philosophy is the notion of "kalokagathos" in which harmony was equated with the indissoluble unity of the good and beauty. The literal translation of it is "moral beauty" or "beautiful good". This is both ethical and aesthetic concept, their centaur, two parts of which are joined by harmony and are identical in it. Or, in other words, it is "beautiful and kind" human as the harmony of the external (physical) and internal (moral, spiritual) virtues, who was the ideal of a perfect person in ancient culture. Its moral sense was emphasized especially by Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, who considered kalokagathos as an ideal of harmonious person, a beautiful soul and body. Aristotle in his "Eudemian Ethics" defines kalokagathos as "complete virtue" (1249a16) in his formula for happiness: "the fullness of life in the fullness of virtue" (1219a3839). The fullness of life as well as the fullness of virtue is integrity of harmony and harmony of integrity in human and society. Therefore, kalokagathos in ancient Greece was not o­nly ethical and aesthetic, but also educational and socio-political, i.e. holistic harmonious ideal.

This holistic and harmonious social and ethical ideal is worth being consciously revived in harmonious civilization. It was purposefully integrated into our ABC of harmony (see Cluster "Human"), enriched by the ideas which were developed in the following ages. Its development in the works of Shaftesbury and Dostoyevsky is represented in the special articles of the ABC. The idea of organic unity of the philosophical (ontological) harmony, aesthetic beauty and moral good is taken as the basic o­ne in the ABC withought any extra proofs, which can be found in history. 

The article main content is expressed by the following model-40 of tetranet thinking:

 

Dr Apostolos John Paschos, Poet and Philosopher, Greece

Web: www.peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=455

 

Dr Leo Semashko, Philosopher and Sociologist, Russia

Web: www.peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=253

 

François Houtart

 

Christianity: Bible and Harmony

 

The Old Testament

 

The Old Testament is composed of 46 books, covering some 1000 years of history of a specific people in the Middle East. They are not historical relations in the modern sense, but they cannot be understood either without their context. At the beginning it was a society of tribes, based o­n kinship's relationships. Later o­n kingdoms were created and tributary relationships established. A theocratic conception of the exercise of power prevailed. Like any other peoples in the world, the Hebrews were full of contradictions, internal and external. At the same time the desire of harmony was always present and this was recalled by religious actors like the prophets.

The first harmony was with God. The Old Testament being essentially a religious reading of reality, it is logic that its fundamental basis would be of the same character. This God was the o­ne of Israel. When the kingdoms were created and when monotheism became predominant, he was identified with the protection of his chosen people, against all enemies. But the constant infidelities of his people were provoking his anger and vengeance: "You are not listening to me and you are not following my law, as I taught you" (Jer. 26.4). This was the cause of disharmony. The prophets were the o­nes announcing the punishment of God and the necessity of penance.

Harmony with nature was also central. God, after having created man at his image (Gen. 1.26) asked man to give their names to all animals (Gen. 2.20). This meant a kind of paternal relationship with them and he entrusted the whole creation to their care. The prophet Isaïas expressed very well the rupture of harmony by the non respect of nature: "The earth is mourning and degrades itself. The entire world is o­n the decline. With the earth, mountains are vanishing. The earth has been profaned by its inhabitants, because they have transgressed the laws, they did not observe the precepts. They have broken the perpetual alliance. This is why curse is devouring the earth and its inhabitants are carrying its pain. This is why the Inhabitants of the earth are being consumed" (Is. 24, 46).

The need for personal harmony is particularly clear in the Psalms: "Be confident in the Lord and do good, dwell in your region and eat quietly. Put your joy in the Lord and he will give you what your heart desires. Recommend to the Lord your endeavours and be confident in him who will do it well. He will make your merits shine like the light and your rights like the sun of midday" (Ps. 37, 36). "Judge me Lord, and see that I have followed the path of the perfects. I relied o­n the Lord and therefore I did not deviate from the right way I have your love in front of my eyes and I have taken into account your fidelity. I did not sit with the deceivers neither with the hypocrites. I detest the group of evildoers and I do not mix with them. I am washing my hands which are clean and I am walking around your altar Lord, because I am trying to be perfect, save me and have pity o­n me" (Ps. 26, 111).

Many references can be found among the prophets o­n social harmony. Their languages are really quite strong o­n that issue. "Yahve was hoping rightness and evil is growing: he was expecting justice and we o­nly hear the scream of the oppressed. Unfortunate are you who are buying all the houses and are joining property o­n properties. No place will remain free and you will be the o­nly o­nes in this country. The words of the Lord have resounded in my ears: many great and nice houses will remain in ruins and nobody will dwell in them" (Is. 5, 79). Oseas do not hesitate to denounce the actors of social injustice "Hear this, you the priests, be attentive you the chiefs of Israel, give your attention you members of the Royal court, because this has been a God's sentence for you: I will punish you all, because you have sinked untill the neck into corruption Your faults are preventing you to go back to your God. .. You have betrayed Yahve and your sons are illegitimate: let the destroyer devour you together with your properties" (Hosea, 5, 17). Amos takes similar positions: "I (Yahve) hates and detest your feasts and I do not like your celebrations Go away with the sounds of yours songs. I do not want to hear the music of your harps. I want justice to run like water and honesty to grow like an inexhaustible torrent" (Amos, 5, 2123). In such situations, God choose his camp: "The Lord is a bastion for the oppressed, a refuge for the times of anguish" (Ps. 9, 10). "He will do justice to the weak and he will defend the rights of the poor of the country" (Is. 11.4). But he is also announcing the hope for the future: "I will create a new heaven and a new earth and the past will not be remembered I will be happy with my people. In the future we will not hear anymore cries of anguish" (Is. 65, 1719). To build peace o­n justice (harmony), according to the prophets, requires the condemnation of injustice and the construction of a new society. We don't have to wonder that many of them have been
murdered for being the followers of God's will.

 

The New Testament

 

The first harmony that Jesus of Nazareth envisages is with God. He is no more "the Lord of the armies", but he is the "celestial Father", the o­ne who says: "I prefer mercy more than offers" (Mat. 9, 13). It is particularly the Gospel of John which expresses the relations between Jesus and the Father (Jn. 4, 24, 5, 45, 8, 19, 10, 25) and especially Jn. 14, 11: "I am in the Father and the Father is in me".

There is little allusion to harmony with nature in the New Testament, but the many allusions at the beauty of creation imply respect and admiration. o­n the contrary the personal harmony is very developed, but especially in relation with the others. The first idea is: "to be as perfect as the Father who is in heaven" (Mt. 6, 48) and to be coherent: "If you are no more perfect than the Pharisees and the Masters of the Law, you will not enter the Kingdom of God" (Mt. 5, 20). "Say yes when it is yes and no when it is no" (Mt. 5, 37). The main content of perfection (harmony) is the similitude between the two first mandates: the love of God and the love of the neighbor (Mt. 21, 3739).

This has very concrete applications: "If you are presenting your offer o­n the altar and your brother has something against you, leave there your offer and make peace with him. After that go to present your offer" (Mt. 5, 2324). "If you forgive others for their offenses, the celestial Father will also forgive you" (Mt. 6, 14). "Do not judge and you will not be judged" (Mt. 7, 1). "When you help a needy, your left hand should not know what your right o­ne is doing" (Mt. 6, 34). It goes even further: to love the enemies: "Love your enemies and pray for your persecutors, so that they would be sons of your Father who is in heaven" (Mt. 5, 44). "If someone stamps you o­n the left cheek, offer him also the right o­ne. If someone is wants your shirt, give him also your coat. If someone obliges you to carry a burden, carry the double and even further" (Mt. 5, 3941).

The summit of personal behavior is to follow Jesus in his work and mission to announce the Kingdom of justice. To the rich young man asking what is perfection, Jesus says: "You know the mandates: you will not kill, you will not commit adultery, you will not steal and not tell falsities against your brother, you will not be unjust, you will honour your father and mother {if you have observed this}, o­ne thing is lacking: go and sell all what you possesses, give the money to the poor and come and follow me" (Mt. 19, 1821).

The resume of what the personal harmony is according to Christian teaching is contained in the passage o­n the last judgment (Mt. 25, 3440): "Come the blessed of my Father because I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me to drink, I was a foreigner and you received me in your house. I did not have clothes and you dressed me. I was sick and you visited me. I was in jail and you came to see me Trough enough, I am telling you, when you did this to some of the smallest o­nes of my brothers, you did it to me".

To understand the kind of social harmony that Jesus of Nazareth was advocating, it is necessary to know the society of Palestine of his time, what was he condemning and what was he was proposing? He was quite severe with the Sadduceans, the group of landlords, great merchants and the families of the high priests. They were dominating the economy and at the origin of the main inequalities: "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich to enter the Kingdom of God" (Mat. 10, 1924). "Nobody can serve two masters: you cannot serve at the same time God and money" (Mat. 6, 24). The Pharisees were artisans, mostly urban, some kind of an intermediary class between the Sadduceans and the subaltern groups. They had a majority in the Sanhedrin and where the "guardians of the Law", especially trough the scribes. Their religious center was the synagogue. Jesus was a Pharisee and therefore he had the right of speaking in the synagogues.

The temple, place of the Sadduceans, was at the same time, the main economic center of the country (trough the taxes), the political center, since the appointment by the Roman colonial power, of the high priest as the higher authority, and a religious center, giving legitimacy to the whole social system. When Jesus was criticizing the higher social groups, identifying himself with the excluded, the oppressed and the poor, and when he was attacking the temple as a center of oppressive power, it was not o­nly a religious position. This is why he was strongly fought against and afterwards a coalition of the otherwise opposed groups and powers (Palestinian and colonial) decided to execute him. They continued their persecution afterwards against the disciples and in particular Paul of Tarsius, himself a Pharisee (Act. 4, 122). Injustice was contradictory to the Kingdom of God: "Happy are those who are hungry and thirsty of justice, because they will be satiated" (Mat. 5, 6). The o­nly choice for rich people to enter the Kingdom of justice is trough conversion, which, in reality, is almost impossible, as expressed in the parable of Lazarus (Luc. 16,31). It is not totally excluded: the case of Zaqueus, who gave up half of his fortune to the poor and repaired all committed injustice (Luc. 19; 110).

But Jesus was not a prophet of doom. He indicated also the path of salvation and gave hope in a possible harmonious future: "Creation, writes St Paul, is waiting with impatience the revelation of the sons of God She keeps hope, because she will also be delivered of the slavery of corruption, in order to take part to the liberty and the glory of the children of God" (Romans, 8, 1824). The Apocalypse (Book of Revelation), which is a strong allegorical critique of both Babylonian and Roman empires, says, recalling Isaias: "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, because the first heaven and the first earth have disappeared and the see is no more And I heard, coming from the throne, a strong voice saying: here is the dwelling of God with men. He will remain with them. They will be its peoples and he will be the God who stays with them. He will wipe all tears of their eyes. Death will be no more. There will be no mourning, neither cries, neither suffering, because the ancient world has disappeared" (Revelation 21, 14). This is a splendid poetic expression of harmony.

Christianity includes the first message of social harmony Golden Rule, based o­n the equal dignity of all human beings: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." However it fully will take effect o­nly in a harmonious civilization.

The basic postulates of this article are presented in the model-41 of tetranet thinking, proposed and developed in this ABC of Harmony:

 

François Houtart, born in Brussels in 1925, Dr in sociology and Catholic priest, author of various books and articles o­n Sociology of religion and Sociology of Globalization, professor emeritus of the Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium) with intensive research work in Europe, USA, Latin America, Asia and Africa, active in the alterglobalization movement.

Address: Avenue Sainte Gertrude 5, B-1348, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium

E-mail: houtart_at_hotmail.com

 

Rudolf Siebert

 

The Golden Rule of Religions: The First Law of Social Harmony

The critical theory view

 

The Golden Rule appears in the different world religions in slightly different forms:

The Golden Rule says in its Hindu Form:

This is the sum of duty: do nothing to others, which would cause you pain, if done to you (Mahabharata XIII 114. 8).

The Golden Rule teaches in its Buddhist form:

A state that is not pleasant or delightful to me must be so for him also; and a state which is not pleasant or delightful for me, how could I inflict that o­n another? (Samyutta Nikaia V).

The Golden Rule states in its Chinese form:

Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you (Confucius, Analects 15, 23).

The Golden Rule of Jainism says:

A person should treat all creatures as he himself would be treated (Sutrakritanga 1. 11, 33 anga).

The Golden Rule says in its Jewish form:

Do not do to others what you would not want them to do to you (Rabbi Hillel, Shabbat 31a).

The Golden Rule teaches in its Christian form:

In everything do to others as you would have them do to you (Mathew 7:12; Luke 6:31).

The Golden Rule states in its Islamic form:

No o­ne of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself (40 Hadith Sayings of Muhammad of an-Nawawi 13).

The Golden Rule says in its Wicca form:

If you harm none, do what you will: what you give forth, will come back three fold.

Informed by Jean Piaget, Lawrence Kohlberg and Karl-Otto Apel, Jürgen Habermas has objected, that the Golden Rule in all its forms was not the Kantian categorical imperative, and rightly so. The Golden Rule is, of course, pre-modern, religious and material in all its forms, whereas the Kantian categorical imperative is modern, secular and formal. However, in the perspective of the dialectical religilogy, the religious Golden Rule can also be inverted, translated, sublated, rationalized, formalized, and secularized in modern, post-modern, and post-metaphysical philosophical and social-scientific discourses into the principle of what Kant had called the categorical imperative:

Act in such a way, that the maxim of your will can at any time also be valid as principle of a universal legislation. Or:

Act in such a way, that you use the humanity in your own person as well as in the person of every other human being always also as purpose, never merely as means.

In their communicative or discourse ethics, Charles Pierce, Apel, and Habermas have translated, sublated, rationalized, formalized, and secularized further the religious Golden Rule and the secular Kantian categorical imperative into the principle of the apriori of the unlimited communication community:

Your action is ethically valid, when it honors the five validity claims truthfulness, honesty, rightfulness, tastefulness and understandability and when it finds the consensus of the universal communication community, particularly of the possible victims.

Habermas has admitted that modern secular ethics has a problem with motivation. Even after Apel's and Habermas' communicative or discourse ethics has verified the validity of an ethical norm, e.g. that it is better to love than to hate, or that o­ne should not kill if o­ne finds that convenient for o­neself or for o­ne's country, there still remains the question why a person should follow it? The secular categorical imperative or the likewise secular communicative ethics has no adequate answer to this question of motivation. The theologian Küng had to admit, that certainly the world religions, as they motivate people, have always been and still are in temptation to command and give orders to human beings in a most authoritarian manner, and to demand from them blind obedience and to do violence to their consciences.

According to the critical theorists of society, Kant's categorical imperative commanded, that man should treat man never o­nly as means, but always at the same time as purpose.

According to the critical theorist, what Kant's transcendental philosophy formulated as law of social morality, e.g. the categorical imperative in its different forms, was nothing else than the inversion, translation, and secularization of religion, particularly Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, i.e. the three Abrahamic religions. The critical theorists were convinced, that contrary to Kant practical or theoretical reason could, with the exception of Buddhist or Christian reason, command just as much the very opposite of the Golden Rule or the categorical imperative, e.g. in the form of the instrumental rationality rooted in the human potential and evolutionary universal of work and tool.

According to the critical theorists, Kant's assertion of the identity of Christianity and practical reason was wrong. The moral believe, that love was better than hate, and that kindness was better than cruelty, and, to be sure, not in the positivistic or naturalistic sense of the more skillful tactics and strategies, but better in itself, was justified through nothing else than the cultural tradition in the West. The merely tactical or strategical rationality of business leads to Post-Modern alternative Future I the totally functionalized, reified, burocratized, o­ne-dimensional, technocratic society, in which every particular purpose turns right away into a means again, and in which there is no purpose or meaning as such, and to Post-Modern alternative Future II the extremely aggressive, necrophilous war society, characterized by an ideology of death, and not to Post-Modern alternative Future III the reconciled democratic society, which is open toward the entirely Other.

According to the critical theorists, in so far as the criminal law of the nation state was not opposed to it, infamies could be as rational as honesty. With the last trace of theology, as it seems to appear in Tillich's work, the thought that the neighbor was to be recognized and respected and even to be loved, not to speak of the love of the stranger or even of the enemy, lost its logical foundation. What, according to the dialectical religiology, not a few people besides the critical theorists experienced as the regression of the Western civilization, was deeply connected with the disappearance of the seriousness of life, which derived itself from religion, which Tillich and other theologians, e.g. Küng and Metz, and Peukert and Arens, have tried to stop through their theological-philosophical writings, and not at last and not at least also the critical theorists through their dialectical theory of society up to the present 2011 (Matthew 5: 2048).

The critical theorist did not dare to predict the future effects of all these attempts to rescue religion and its ethics and morality in the post-secular society. The dialectical religiologist remembers all the great world religions, which went under for good: e.g. the Persian Religion of Light and Darkness, Good and Evil, the Syrian Religion of Pain and Suffering, the Egyptian Religion of Riddle, the Greek Religion of Beauty and Fate, the Roman Religion of Utility, many native African religions, the native American religions, etc.

The golden rule of religions and the categorical imperative, expressing the eternal ethical standards of social harmony, which will be embodied entirely in the Future III as a harmonious civilization, a more detailed discussion in my fundamental book: Manifesto of the Critical Theory of Society and Religion (3 vols.), 2011 [137].

The articles main ideas are expressed in tetranet model-42 of harmonious thought, accepted and developed in the ABC of Harmony:

 

Rudolf Siebert, (b. 1927), Professor of Religion and Society in the Department of Comparative Religion at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA. He develops the Critical Theory of Society and Religion presented in about 300 scientific publications in 12 languages, including 28 books and 35 chapters. He is the leading researcher of the world religions Golden Rule as the first conscious principle of social harmony. Director of the two international courses: 1. "Future of Religion" in Dubrovnik, Croatia since 1975, and 2. "Religion in Civil Society" in Yalta, Crimea, Ukraine since 1999. He is the "Peace from Harmony" and GHA founders in 2005 and has the GHA highest Honorary Title: World Harmony Creator.

Web: www.rudolfjsiebert.orgwww.peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=51

E-mail: RSieb3_at_aol.com

 

Rene Wadlow

 

Harmony and Synthesis in Sung China of 1013 Centuries

 

In our current world society in which there are profound social and cultural upheavals, it is useful to look at other periods when there was a conscious effort to create a harmonious society and to build a synthesis of different currents of thought. While we can not copy what was done earlier in more limited geographic settings, it is useful to see what was accomplished, how it was done, and why such efforts did not have a lasting impact.

One such period was the Sung Dynasty in a part of what is now China. The Sung Dynasty is usually divided by historians into two the longer "North Sung" 9601127 and the shorter "South Sung" 11271279. However, the South Sung was a retreat in front of powerful foreign forces and an effort to recreate the society in a smaller space, before the whole dynasty and its culture was swept away by the Mongol conquests. However, the values during the two periods were basically the same. The Venetian merchant Marco Polo arrived in China in 1275 during the last years of the Sung Dynasty, and so the descriptions which he brought back to Western Europe are largely those of the Sung. The Sung period began as an effort to overcome a situation of disorder and division during which military leaders, calling themselves "emperors", had divided the empire into 12 kingdoms. Five in particular were strong and so this period just before the Sung is called Wu Tai the Five Dynasties.

Later historians call the Sung Dynasty thinkers "Neo-Confucians" and later philosophers took the term "Neo-Confucian" and always made reference to the Sung thinkers. However, the reality is more complex, and for our use today, we have to see how three currents of thought came together to make a conscious synthesis that would serve as a guiding framework for the reconstruction of society. It is convenient in discussions of Chinese thought to note two contrasting yet complementary modes: o­ne predominantly activist, concerned with harmonious human relationships and orderly government: the other predominantly quietist, concerned with a harmonious compliance with the principles of the universe and of human nature. The first is often associated with Confucianism and the second with Taoism, but in reality there was much interaction between the two.

The first current, which gave Sung thinking its fundamental structure was Taoist (now sometimes written as Daoist, Tao becoming Dao). The Taoist had developed the image of the Yang/Yin male/female, day/night as a dynamic between opposites, a mutually enriching dialectic and not as a static separation. This is an organic view of the structure of the world the idea that all phenomena are knit together in a web of interacting forces, both visible and invisible. Central to this idea of ceaseless flux is the concept that at the apogee of any of these two forces engenders a reversion toward its opposite the reversal of the Tao until a new harmonious state is reached.

A second current was Buddhist. At the time of the Sung, Chinese Buddhism developed its Ch'an (Japanese Zen) form. Contact between Chinese Buddhists and Indian Buddhists was cut off with the Islamic conquests of much of India. There were no longer Chinese Buddhist pilgrims or students going to India: no Indian teachers and translators coming to China. Thus a Buddhism not based o­n a study of the Buddhist scriptures the Tripitka developed in China. The emphasis was placed o­n inner discovery and immediate awareness what was often called "the vision of the Tao." Thus Chinese Buddhism lost many of its Indian characteristics and was integrated into a Chinese synthesis.

The third current in the synthesis was Confucian. Printing was developed during the Sung dynasty, and so the Analects of Confucius and supporting commentaries were widely distributed. Education and reflection was associated with the development of printing. The State created a system of public education, and private schools led by Taoist, Buddhist or Confucian scholars flourished.

Confucian thought, in reaction to the earlier Five Dynasties period of disorder, stressed the importance of a moral law, of stability and harmony arising as each person and each institution fulfilled its specific function within society. For the Neo-Confucians, life was a project of self-construction, a morality of reasoned conscience.

Neo-Confucian thought was basically conservative and the "reversal of the Tao" might have begun to produce a framework that accepted change and creativity. However, the Mongol conquest brought a sharp end to the Sung period.

War always destroys and crystallizes thought at the same time. Much later in the Republican period of China (19111948), there was a certain revival of Neo-Confucian thought, but it was too late to be creative, and it was swept away by the communism. However, it was revived to some degree in the strategy of "building harmonious society" in China in 2006. Thus finding creative frameworks toward harmony is a constant renewal.

The great experience of the synthesis of three different philosophies into harmonious whole, to ensure a harmonious society of Sung China in the Middle Ages is an instructive and very actual to modern philosophical synthesis during the transition to the new global civilization  a harmonious civilization.

The article content as a whole is expressed in the model-43 of tetranet harmonious thinking, representing the GHA synthesis of philosophy of social harmony:

 

Rene Wadlow, editor of the o­nline journal of world politics www.transnational-perspectives.org and Representative to the UN, Geneva, Association of World Citizens. Address: Rene Wadlow, Le Passe, 07140 Gravieres, France

Web: www.peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=272 E-mail: wadlowz_at_aol.com

 

Syed Salman Chishty

 

Al Quran e Karim:
Understanding the social harmony in the Muslim culture

 

Surah Nooh (71:15) "See ye not how Allah hath created seven heavens in harmony"

 

"There is nothing more beneficial for the heart than reading the Qur'an with contemplation and reflection. The Qur'an encompasses all the levels of the travelers, the conditions of the workers, and stations of those possessing knowledge. It is the Qur'an that generates love, peace, harmony, desire, fear, hope, repentance, reliance, pleasure, entrustment, gratitude, patience and the rest of the different states that are life to the heart and perfection of it." Ibn al-Qayyim

Our Niyat ul Husna (Purity of Intention) in this short chapter is to share o­ne of the dimensions of Islamic Societal Harmony. We shall, with the help of God, share the way Islamic Muslim culture treats living in harmony and clear few misconceptions about the Islam which through its name and essence stands for Peace and Harmony.

Does Islam respect and tolerate religions other than itself, and do their followers have the right to express and practice their own faiths in an Islamic state? In a multicultural society where different cultures and religions are practiced, should Muslims, from the Islamic perspective, integrate with, or segregate from, other parts of the society?

Islam is the universal order, the integral religion of harmony and the unique system which is able to harmonize the physical with the metaphysical, the rational with the ideal, and the corporeal with the spiritual. All dimensions of man's earthly life have particular places of their own within the matrix of Islam in such a way that each can perform its own function and enable man to be at peace with himself, his community and nature, and ultimately to gain happiness in both worlds.

Peace indicates tranquility, mental calm, silence, serenity, reconciliation, amity, accord, concord, friendliness, harmony, o­n the o­ne hand and, absence of or cessation of war, state of reconciliation after strife and enmity, freedom from mental agitation or anxiety, freedom from civil disorder, strife o­n the other.

There is a very close relation between peace and harmony at personal and societal levels. Peace creates concord, balance, consistency, unanimity, compatibility and stability at individual and collective levels and helps to effect accord in facts, views and it acts and helps in making sympathetic relationships and mutual similarities the focal point of human concern. When peace and harmony is achieved in this real inter-related manner, the expectation for a trustful, promising, secure, and faithful existence of human beings becomes possible which, in other words, can be called hope in harmony and peace.

Now coming to Islam, when we observe this matter we are thrilled to know that the root of Islam is from Salimun and Silmun, which means peace, reconciliation, concord, harmony and submission. The allied words are Salima, yaslamu, salematun, and salaman, meaning to be in a good condition, well, without a blemish, safe, secure, and Aslama means to make sound and safe, save and attain safety, tranquility and prosperity, deliver up, submit, obey. Aslama Amrahu Ilal-Allah, to resign o­ne's self to the will of God, to submit.

Thus, the word peace, harmony and hope are very similar to the connotations of terms like "Islam". Islam is a religion, which is based o­n certain tenets and doctrines, and o­nly after following them in letter and spirit, a man can be called a Muslim.

Since, submission before the Will of God has had been the religion of all the Prophets, a Muslim is enjoined to believe not o­nly in o­ne Prophet but also in all Prophets including those whose names occur in the Quran and those whose names do not occur there. In this matter of belief no discrimination is to be made against any Prophet. The Muslims are ordered to avow: "We do not make any distinction between o­ne and another of His Prophets" Al Quran e Karim (2:285)

Islam preaches total social harmony which includes religious harmony that the whole world needs. Despite our age of information, and internationalization of learning and economics, the world badly requires a strong movement to dispel aggression in the name of race and creed. Islam provides an excellent model implemented by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and proved of its practicality.

Allah epitomizes religious understandings in Al Quran e Karim in a nutshell:

"Lakum deenukunm wa liya deen Your religion is for you and my religion for me (109:6)".

This need to be adopted worldwide as a slogan. There need be no restraints o­n preaching faith by appealing to reason.

Al Quran e Karim says: "La ilkraharfiddeen There is no compulsion in religion" (2 : 256)

Says Al Quran e Karim: "Would you compel people that they should become believers?" (10:99 & 13:40).

Coercion is rejected by Islam. For, belief (imam) is something concerned with intellect and soul and not with physical body. o­n compulsion o­ne may outwardly declare belief but the heart may reject it; in fact compulsion tends to prejudice the heart permanently even against plainest of truths, such as Allah and His Messenger (PBUH) had given expounded.

Al Quran e Karim clearly denounces the use of the force in terms of religion. It is ultimately the right of people to choose any religion they are happy with, and the duty of the Prophets is not more than educating people and reminding them of the right path. They have never been authorized to force people to the Truth.

Allah ordained religious freedom and understandings and His Prophet (PBUH) implemented and preached it. Allah tells believers: Do not insult what they call gods that are other than Allah. Prophet (PBUH) promised the Christians of Najran not to harm their crosses or idols. He even allowed Christian delegates from Najran to pray in his mosque at Al Medina.

Islam supports harmony with other religions. In the edict He issued in Hijri 5, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) gave full protection to Christians of conquered territories in all religious, social, cultural, economic and legal matters; he had warned that anyone who went against these provisions was an accursed offender o­n Islam.

Non­Muslim citizens were treated as equals of Muslims. In fact it was incumbent o­n the Governments to protect their life and property so much so that they were exempt from military service.

An English translation of a document is presented below for reference to understand the Prophet's (PBUH) magnanimity & Understandings towards communal harmony and safety and security of other faiths:

"This is a message from Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them. Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them."No compulsion is to be o­n them.

Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries no o­ne is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims houses.

Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God's covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate.

No o­ne is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight. The Muslims are to fight for them. If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray.

Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants. No o­ne of the nation (Muslims) is to disobey the covenant till the last day (end of the world)."

Islamic society right from the beginning is preaching and practicing true religious harmony and it even helped to settle disputes among followers of other religions, from its stand point of tolerance and understanding. It is to be noted and understood by everyone, tolerance and communal harmony are integral and inseparable parts of Islamic Society and Muslim Culture.

Islam is the middle-of-the road religion. o­ne finds in Islam an elaborate hierarchy of knowledge integrated by the principle of Divine Unity (al-Tawhid). There are juridical, social and theological sciences; and there are gnostic and metaphysical o­nes all deriving their principles from the source of revelation which is the Quran. Then there have developed within Islamic civilization elaborate philosophical, natural and mathematical sciences, each of which has its source in o­ne of the Beautiful Names of God. It is the Name the All-healing that shines o­n Medicine; Geometry and Engineering depend o­n the Names the All-just, the All-shaping and the All-harmonizing, and Philosophy reflects the Name of the All-wise, and so forth. o­n each level of knowledge nature is seen in a particular light. For the jurists and theologians it is the background for human action. For the philosopher and scientist it is a domain to be analyzed and understood. o­n the metaphysical and gnostic level it is the object of contemplation and the mirror reflecting supra-sensible realities.

Judaism, Christianity and Islam have a great deal in common. They are all based o­n monotheism and are committed to increase justice in the world, and the accountability before God. Their historic roots go back to Prophet Abraham and, as such, they are often described as 'Abrahamic Faith' and the basis of world civilization.

Humanism, harmony, love, brotherhood peace, compassion, tolerance and social justice are the essence of all religions. Al Quran e Karim says, "Al khalqu Aayatullah" which means the entire mankind is God's family. Hence Islamic Muslim Culture and Societies are in a social, moral and spiritual order also based o­n these values.

The article contents as a whole is presented in the following model-44:

 

Haji Syed Salman Chishty, is born and raised among the family of Chishty Sufi Community of Ajmer Sharif who are the hereditary custodian of the 11th century Sufi Shrine of Hazrat Khawaja Moinuddin Hasan Chishty (r.a). His family has been serving at the Dargah Ajmer Sharif from last 800 years as the Keys of the blessed Sufi Shrine has been passed o­n from generation to generations. He is engaged in a research studies o­n World Sufi Traditions and their impact o­n different Countries and their culture and traditions and vice versa. His study has enabled him to travel extensively in several continents and countries like Arabian Peninsula, Egypt, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Morocco, Senegal, England, USA, Singapore, etc. Director, Chishty Foundation.

Address: Chishty Manzil, Jhalra Street, Dargah Sharif, Ajmer 305001, Rajasthan, India; Ph.: +91 145 2429473 Mobile: +91 9829174973 Skype: sufi.musafir

Web: www.chishtyfoundation.org, www.peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=481

E-mail: salmanchishty_at_hotmail.com

 

Syed Salman Chishty

 

Sufism and Sufi's World of Wisdom and Harmony

 

The word Sufi is derived from Safa meaning pure, purified of ignorance, superstition, dogmatism, egotism, and fanaticism, as well as free from limitations of caste, creed, race, and nation. The Sufis believe in God as the Absolute, the o­nly Being; and that all creation is the manifestation of His nature and His harmony.

There have been Sufis at all periods of human history. Though they have lived in different parts of the world, speaking different languages and born into different faiths and beliefs, they have recognized and sympathized with each other, through the o­neness of their understanding, creating a sense of global togetherness and harmony in their own unique yet common understandings. Yet with their deep knowledge of the world and of spiritual mysteries, they have concealed their beliefs from the multitude, and have pursued in secret their way of attainment to the highest bliss.

The greatest principle of Sufism is, 'Ishq Allah, Ma'bud Allah' (God is love, lover, and beloved).

When Ahad, the o­nly Being, became conscious of his Wahdat, o­nly existence, through His own consciousness, then His predisposition of love made Him project Himself to establish His dual aspect, that He might be able to love someone. This made God the lover, and manifestation the beloved; the next inversion makes manifestation the lover, and God the beloved. This force of love has been working through several evolutions and involutions, which end in man who is the ultimate aim of God. The dual aspect of God is significant in Zát and Sifat, in spirit and matter, and in the mineral, vegetable, animal, and human kingdoms, wherein the two sexes, male and female, are clearly represented. The dual aspect of God is symbolized by each form of this wonderful world and God constantly harmonize this world dualism. This whole harmonious universe, internally and externally, is governed by the source of love, which is sometimes the cause and sometimes the effect. The producer and the product are o­ne, and that o­ne is nothing but love.

 

"A church, a temple or a Ka'ba stone,

Qur'an or Bible or a martyr's bone,

All these and more my heart can tolerate,

Since my religion now is Love alone"

(Hazrat Sufi Abul Ala).

 

The spiritual part of Sufism was most miraculously realized by, Hazrat Khawaja Moinudin Hasan Chishty (ra), Hazrat Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra), Hazrat Bahauddin Naqshband (ra), Hazrat Shihabuddin Sohrawardi (ra), and others great Sufi masters of their respective time and orders .

India, being greatly addicted to philosophy, was well suited for Sufism, where, in ancient and modern records, a great many Sufis with miraculous careers are to be found. The most revered and Ajmer Sharif holy Sufi Shrine of Hazrat Khawaja Moinuddin Hasan Chishty (ra) in state of Rajasthan is the most visited with much reverence and devotion by people of various nations and many beliefs, in thankful remembrance of their great careers and their great service towards harmonious Humanity as a whole .

Sufism, as a religious philosophy of love, harmony, and beauty, aims at expanding the soul of man until the realization of the beauty of all creation enables him to become as perfect an expression of divine harmony as possible. It is therefore natural that the Sufi Order should stand foremost as a spiritual power in the East, and that it is rapidly becoming recognized in the West.

Sufism advocates the peaceful and harmonic co-existence of all faiths. The Sufis taught about the practice of virtue, purification of the soul and divine love. Thereby, they raised their lives from the mundane to spiritual. They emphasized the inward nature of things rather than the outward.

Many Sufi saints have attained what is known as God-consciousness, which is the most all-inclusive realization of the meaning of the word 'good' attainable by man. Sufis in many cases are known to have realized and shown the greatest perfection in humanity and creating harmony among the human civilizations. Sufism is rightly been called the spirit of Islam, as well as the pure essence of all religions and philosophies.

Mehfil e Sama has always been the favorite Sufi means of spiritual development. The greatest Sufi mystic of India, Hazrat Khawaja Moinuddin Hasan Chishty, introduced Sufi music into his Chishtyya Sufi Order. Even today Sufi musical sessions for the elevation of the soul, called as Mehfil e Sama, are held among the Chishty Sufis across South Asia. Since that time Sufi music has become the important subject of Chishty Sufi practices. They declare that it creates harmony in both worlds and brings eternal peace. Harmony is the reason for peace. Peace comes from harmony.

The Chishty Sufi music which is popularly known and called as Qawwali, is a special spiritual music producing emotions of love, harmony, fear, desire, repentance, etc during the Mehfil e Sama.

Harmonious Characteristics of a Sufi as describes by a great Sufi of Bgahdad during the 9th Century

Discussing the characteristics of Tassawuf (Sufism) and Sufi's, Hazrat Ali Hujwari supports what Hazrat Junaid Baghdadi says about these qualities.

Hazrat Junaid attributes the following eight exemplary qualities of a Sufi. A true Sufi possesses:

The courage and magnanimity of Prophet Ibrahim.

The obedience of Prophet Ismail.

The patience and forbearance of Prophet Ayub.

The signs of Prophet Zakaria.

The poverty of Prophet Yahya.

The traveling nature of Prophet Isa (Jesus).

The simplicity of dress of Prophet Muss (Moses).

The Fuqr (contentment and renunciation) of Prophet Mohammed.

"He indeed is a true devotee blessed with the love of God who is gifted with the following three tributes

River like Generosity

Sun like Bounty

Earth like Hospitality"

Hz.Khawaja Moinuddin Hasan Chishty (ra)

The guiding principles of the Chishti Order are encapsulated in the famous "Final Sermon" of Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti, delivered just o­ne month before his demise.

The blessed last sermon of Hazret Khawaja Moinuddin Hasan Chishty (ra)

Love all and hate none.

Mere talk of peace will avail you naught.

Mere talk of God and religion will not take you far.

Bring out all the latent powers of your being

and reveal the full magnificence of your immortal self.

Be surcharged with peace and joy,

and scatter them wherever you are

and wherever you go.

Be a blazing fire of truth,

be a beauteous blossom of love

and be a soothing balm of peace.

With your spiritual light,

dispel the darkness of ignorance;

dissolve the clouds of discord and war

and spread goodwill, peace, and harmony among the people.

The article contents as a whole is presented in the following model-45:

 

Haji Syed Salman Chishty, is born and raised among the family of Chishty Sufi Community of Ajmer Sharif who are the hereditary custodian of the 11th century Sufi Shrine of Hazrat Khawaja Moinuddin Hasan Chishty (r.a). He is engaged in a research studies o­n World Sufi Traditions and their impact o­n different Countries and their culture and traditions and vice versa. His study has enabled him to travel extensively in several continents and countries like Arabian Peninsula, Egypt, Turkey, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Morocco, Senegal, England, USA, Singapore, etc. Director, Chishty Foundation, Vice-President, GHA-India.

Address: Chishty Manzil, Jhalra Street, Dargah Sharif, Ajmer 305001, Rajasthan, India; Ph.: +91 145 2429473 Mobile: +91 9829174973 Skype: sufi.musafir

Web: www.chishtyfoundation.org, www.peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=481

E-mail: salmanchishty_at_hotmail.com

 

Reimon Bachika

 

Religious Harmony in Japan

 

Religiously, Japan's situation resembles its natural existence as an island nation. Four islands, considerable in size and flanked by many smaller o­nes, constitute the country. Similarly, four different sources have contributed to Japan's religious culture: Shinto, Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. The Shinto tradition is culturally the more influential strand of religion. It underwent some influence from Chinese Taoism, particularly yang and yin thought and fortune telling. Buddhism is religiously the stronger part. It was transmitted from Chinese sources but developed several varieties of Japanese Buddhism. Lastly, Confucian ideas impacted social relations as well as so-called ancestor worship.

Religious harmony exists o­n the level of everyday life. Remarkably, o­nly o­ne third of the population has membership in o­ne of over two hundred religious denominations. Nevertheless, many Japanese feel attracted to religious customs of various kinds. Most of them worship at a Shinto shrine at New Years, when the whole country enjoys a week of holydays. At other occasions, parents take their children to a local shrine to pray for them at birth and at the ages of three, five, and seven. Further, many marriages are blessed in a Shinto ritual, but many others tie the knot at a Christian church or at chapels specially built for weddings. From December 20 or so, special decoration Christmas cakes are sold at stalls outside shops, just for casual passersby o­nly 1% of the Japanese have converted to Christianity (Catholicism or Protestantism) but it is a well respected religion. Quite different, when death strikes in a family, the Japanese turn to a Buddhist denominations for funeral rites. Remarkably again, the greater part of the population has either a Buddhist or a Shinto altar at home, to memorize deceased family members by offering flowers or fruits or incense. It is this practice that is called ancestor worship. Although Shinto and Buddhism have a distinct religious culture, 'household religion' functions as a common denominator.

The following are organizational religious practices. As mentioned above, the main event of Shinto is the New Year worship, starting at midnight at New Year's Eve. The most famous shrines draw enormous crowds of worshippers. At various occasions during the year, popular Shinto shrines provide occasion for worship, offering a simple ritual of purification that is performed o­n request, while neighborhood communities organize celebrations (matsuri), o­ne more kind of Shinto practice. Apart from the funeral services provided by their priests Buddhist denominations are socially active in the field of education as well as welfare. Most of them have institutions of higher learning. Some temples are classified cultural treasures, open to the public at a fee. It is from all these services that Buddhist denominations derive their income.

The main traditional Buddhist denominations are as follows. Tendai and Shingon Buddhism were established in the Heian Period (7941185) and followed by the Pure Land Denomination and Shin Buddhism (both known as Amida Buddhism) as well as the Nichiren denomination and two strands of Zen monasteries: Rinzai and Soto Zen, all of which originated in The Kamakura Period (11851333) in central Japan, with Kyoto as its center. All have their own revered founders and sutras. Based o­n these sacred scriptures they continue developing Buddhist religious thought.

Further we have the so-called 'the New Religions' that originated in the middle of the 19th century, the most active of which are Tenri-kyo and Konko-kyo (Shinto related denominations) and Soka Gakkai and Risshokoseikai (Buddhist denominations that grew fast after World War II). A few more sprang up in the 1970s, such as the infamous Omu Shinri-kyo and The Science of Happiness. The latter is following the example of Soka Gakkai in forming a political party, but as yet it is not very successful. In more details see: [121; 122].

Organized religion in Japan is pragmatic and can be characterized as 'corporate religion.' Like most business organizations, all manage their own affairs, competing with each other. Authoritarian attitudes are rare. The people's religious practices are uncomplicated. The meaning of these customs and practices is internalized through participation from childhood o­n and therefore taken for granted.

Thus, accommodating attitudes both by the people and the religious denominations make harmonious coexistence possible. At bottom, religion concerns the basic problems of life as well as spirituality that people can freely aspire to. Religious organizations are useful in providing services, spiritual guidance, and cultivating a special sense of community not found elsewhere. It is these conditions that render religious harmony possible, not top-down authoritarian thought.

Thus, the situation of religion in Japan is highly complex. Notwithstanding, we can say that it is "culturally" harmonious. In other words, Japanese culture is disposed to communitarian harmony. The same should be possible for world civilization as a whole. Emphatically, civilization cannot be harmonious without a sense of harmony among world religions.

The basic postulates of the article can be expressed in our tetra-sociological model-46, proposed and developed in the ABC of Harmony:

 

Reimon Bachika is Professor Emeritus (Dept Sociology) Bukkyo University, Kyoto, Japan. He is o­ne of founders of the GHA.

Address: Yamamotodori 3-3-10 6F., Chuo-ku, KOBE, 650-0003 Japan

Web: www.peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=24

E-mail: rbac05yamk_at_yahoo.co.jp

 

Dmitry Delyukin

 

Penang: Island of Religious Harmony

 

There is a unique place, called a street of Harmony in Penang, o­ne of the island states in Malaysia. It is situated in the capital of the state, George Town, founded by the Englishmen, leaded by the captain Fransis Light in 1786. Being popular and famous among locals and guests of the island, the street could be officially named the street of Harmony, however it is still denoted as Pitt street in all the maps and guides. It is unique because this street is the o­nly religious-cultural historical ensemble in the world, which has united architectural shrine masterpieces of all world religions. Mainly thanks to Pitt street and its shrines the government of Malaysia has achieved the recognition of Penang island as the object of cultural heritage of UNESCO.

Despite the fact, that Penang was all covered with the jungles, captain Light decided to build the fort Cornwalliss o­n the island and to start exploring the neighboring territories. Captain Light ordered to spread the word all over Malaysia, so that every new settler will receive as much of the land, as he will be able to clean. Several years later there was a real town built instead of pathless jungles that was named George-Town after the king George III, with the town buildings in Victorian style. For the first 15 years of its existence the population of George Town has exceeded 10.000 people.

Generally, the chief inhabitants were the people with different cultural and religious formation. They all were united by the idea to find work and welfare o­n this island defeated by the British empire, where as their native counties suffered from different local and internal wars. Trade routes from Japan and China to Europe now ran through Penang. It was a strong push for development of the island and attraction of great flow of immigrants from these countries, as well as from India, Middle East, Siam (Thailand), Myanmar, Sri-Lanka. In 1816 the first in the South-Eastern Asia English school was opened in Penang, where children of all nations and estates of Penang population received education.

Naturally, today Malaysian is the main language of Penang, but at the beginning of 21st century the English language became the main language of the international communication. It was caused by the trade, organized by the European trade missions. However, the Asians didn't see anything bad in it. Fransis Light in the 1970-s, at the period of the town's uprise, first proclaimed not just the freedom of the settlements, but also the principle of religious freedom to maintain peaceful coexistence and order of Penang. The Englishmen set the example by building a majestic church in the Anglican style near the fort Cornwalliss, the first of this kind in the South-Eastern Asia. Later all diasporas received the right and the land to build the shrines corresponding to their denomination.

Not to divide the town in quarters, normally occurring by the nation principle, special areas were provided for building, that were later interconnected by Pitt street or Street of Harmony unofficial name, that appeared in the middle of the last century. It became a spiritual and public center, containing 9 main shrines of the town with all rich cultural heritage of Islamic, Buddhist, Confucian, Taoist, Hinduist, Sikh, Shinto and Christian communities, reflected in its architectural appearance, as well as the Armenian and Jewish communities, that soon left the island. The real pearls of the street are believed to be the church of Saint George, the Assumption Cathedral, the mosque Captain Kelling, the shrine Nagor, the shrine Tua Pek Kong, the shrine Guan In Teng, the shrine Leon Sang Tong. They all were constructed in the first middle of the 21st century.

It is known, that the architecture of the shrines is the most important means of gradual formation of the attitude to life as a whole as to the divine creature and it reconstructs the harmony of the internal and external being. Step by step, by the beginning of 20th century a new form of public conscious appeared sporadically, that after independence of Malaysia in 1957 resulted to the official ideology "Rukunegara" or "The Foundations of the State", in view of the fact, that dozens thousands of representatives of different religious outlooks and traditions.

It may be assumed with certainty, that spiritual pluralism and harmony of religious diversity of Penang have become the way of living for its inhabitants. This is an excellent example for all the regions of religious conflicts. Such examples will become the ABC for the global harmonious civilization. At the moment, such sporadic examples are exotic for the industrialism. To make them universal, they must be conscious that is the goal of our ABC of harmony and global harmonious education, based o­n it.

The main ideas of the article are represented in the model-47 of tetranet harmonious thinking as social philosophy of the ABC of harmony:

 

Dmitry V. Delukin has graduated from the Philology faculty of Saint-Petersburg State University in 1994. Now is the employee of Saint-Petersburg State Museum-institute of Roerich family.

Address: Saint-Petersburg, Russia

E-mail: dimdel10_at_yandex.ru

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