Thursday, February 19, 2015

168. complete book four

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                        MKADK’s  Journey towards Allah 

                                       Part Four

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                           Collection of Blog at:

                                         www.afnta-questforallah.blogspot.com

                              Collection of chants at youtube: mkadk.afnta

 

 

 

 

 

                                          Author:  MKADK

 

 

                                            

 

 

 

 

 

Price: free

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                 Dedicated  To 

                                              The Supreme God

 

                                                                                                                                                

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quotations are allowed

Email address: mkadk2012@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

              “Allah Guides To His Light Whom He Pleases” 

                    “Allah Is The Light Of Heaven And Earth”  

                                                        (God in Holy Quran)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


List of Books that helped my quest


 


  • A Search in Secret Egypt by Paul Brunton
  • A Search in Secret India by Paul Brunton
  • Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda
  • Confessions by Saint Augustine
  • In Quest of God by Swami Ramdas
  • Iqbal's poetry
  • Kashaf ul-Mahjoob by Data Gunj Bakhash
  • Living with Kundalini by Gopi Krishna
  • Pilgrim of Stars by Dilip Kumar Roy and Indra Devi
  • Shahab Nama by Shahab
  • The Autobiography of St Therese of Lisieux. Translated by John Beevers
  • The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna by Swami Nikhilananda
  • The Hunger of the Soul by Nancy Mayorga
  • The Life of Teresa of Jesus by Teresa of Avila. Translated by Allison Peers
  • The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection.                           Translated by Salvatore Sciurba
  • The Varieties of Religious Experience by William James
  • The Dark Night of the Soul by St. John of the Cross. Translated by Allison Peers
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

 


Dictionary of terms


 


  • Ashram: hermitage
  • Daam. A prayer to cure a sickness
  • Durvesh:  a Muslim mystic or fakir
  • Fakir:  a Muslim ascetic mystic. beggar
  • Fana:  a disintegration. passing away ( in God, in teacher, in holy prophet )
  • Juzzab. Absorption in God, in Islam
  • Kundalini:  a serpent power. When awakened it rises progressively from base of spine to                                         the head
  • Mantra:  a holy word or phrase, to be repeated
  • Marakba: contemplation, meditation
  • Maya: a cosmic illusion
  • Mujahida: a form of Jihad or holy war, but the purpose is God-realization by spiritual                                              means
  • Mujzoob. A person absorbed in God, in Islam
  • Namaz: an Islamic prayer;  one of the five pillars of Islam
  • Qalandar: a high-grade Muslim mystic
  • Puja:  ceremonial worship
  • Pujari: a priest that performs Puja
  • Sadhana: spirtual practices in order to reach God
  • Sadhu:  a monk or a holy person
  • Samadhi: a  superonscious state, trance-like state
  • Shariat:  Islamic religious laws and traditions
  • Sri:  a title of respect
  • Swami: a  monk who has taken vows of chastity, obedience and poverty
  • Tareekat: Islamic mysticism
  • Tasauwuf:  Islamic mysticism
  • Tawakkul:  trust in God; a central pillar of Islamic mysticism
  • Yoga:  a path to reach God in Hindu mysticism
  • Yogi:  a practitioner of Yoga
  • Zikar:  repetition of a name ( usually God's) or a phrase
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    List of contents
     
     
    167.Foreword………………………………………………………………….page 7
    134.Fate versus Free Will. Part one ………………………………………….9
    135 Fate versus Free Will. Part two------------------------------------11
    136. Fate versus Free Will part three……………………………………….12                                            
    137. Fate versus Free Will. part four…………………………………………14                                       
    138. Fate versus Free Will part five…………………………………………  15
    139 Fate versus Free Will part six………………………………………………17
    140 Fate versus Free Will part seven…………………………………………18
    141… Fate versus Free Will part eight……………………………………….20
    142 Fate versus Free Will part nine ………………………………………… 21
    143.Systems of the World. Part. one…………………………………………23
    144 Systems of the World. Part. two…………………………………………25
    145. Systems of the World. Part. three………………………………………26
    146 Systems of the World. Part. four…………………………………………28
    147 Systems of the World. Part. five………………………………………….30
    148 Systems of the World. Part. six…………………………………………….31
    149 Development and critique of religion. Part one……………………33
    150 Development and critique of religion. Part two……………………34
    151 Development and critique of religion. Part three………………….36
    152. Two books on God. Part one ……………………………………………….38
    153. Shah Sahib. Part one…………………………………………………………….40
    154. Shah Sahib. Part two…………………………………………………………….41
    155. Shah Sahib. Part three………………………………………………………….43
    156 Two books on God. Part two …………………………………………………44
    157. Two books on God. Part three……….........................................46
    158 Mother of ST Augustine……………..............................................47
    159 ST. Augustine. Part one …………….............................................49
    160  ST Augustine. Part two……………...............................................51
    161 ST Augustine. Part three………….................................................52
    162 ST Augustine. Part four……………................................................53
    163 ST Augustine. Part five ……………................................................55
    164 Prophet Muhammadpnuh seen over centuries. Part one ………… 56
    165. Prophet Muhammadpnuh seen over centuries. Part two …………58
    166. Prophet Muhammadpnuh seen over centuries. Part three……… 60
     
     
     
     
     
     
                                                                                
     

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                              167. Foreword

 

Mkadk presents part four of my ‘Journey towards the Great God’. It is a collection of blogs 134-166. I have made no further advance in my quest. It has gradually dawned on me that I have two missions; first mission is to reach God, and the second is to invite others to the Light of God. As of now, I have failed in both missions. The door of God is still closed and I have not awakened the love of God in anybody. Those who are worldly, do not read my blog, or books, or listen to my poems on YouTube. They are not interested in God. Those who are religious are happy in their own rituals. They do not have an inner thirst for spirituality. They praise God, they thank God, they pray to God, they are afraid of God, but they do not love God. They are not even attached to God. They do all those things as a habit, in an absent minded way. Those who are devout worshippers do not need my book because they are quite content, and may get nearness to God in their own way. Only two persons have really liked my books, and praised them, but they are already far advanced in mysticism, much more than I. One of them, Shah Sahib, said, “He should not concern himself about approbation from others; he has been assigned a task, he should just do it.”

 

Whatever I wanted to convey to others has been completed. In these four books I have attempted to answer all the riddles which had perplexed me for years. I will keep on writing more blogs, but they will be about men and women of God or of books, but not about complex subjects. Here is a summary of those topics that I have covered:

1. There are eighteen blogs on God (blogs 97-114).

2. There are three blogs on mysticism, as I understand it (blogs 93-95)

3. There are nine blogs on Fate versus Free will (blogs 134-142)

4. There are six blogs on the systems created by God for the governance of this world (blogs 143-148)

5. There are three blogs on development and critique of religions (blogs 149-151)

6. There are twelve blogs on dark night of the soul (blogs 39-50)

 

Some things have to be added about the proof of God, as provided in my blogs. Without the existence of God, one cannot explain the creation of universe, prophecies about future events, miracles, answer to prayers, and the existence of spirits of dead people. Atheists scoff at these five arguments. They call it “God of gaps argument”. What they mean is that science cannot explain certain things, such as those I have mentioned. They say, these are gaps in our knowledge. That does not mean there is God who is the perpetrator of them, therefore, they are not proofs of God. We, the scientists, are working on these gaps. May be in another five hundred or a thousand years, we will have satisfactory scientific explanation of them.

 

Although I do agree, as I have mentioned in blog 146 (Reply of Einstein), that these supernatural events must be carried out by some yet undiscovered laws, because that is the way of God; everything follows laws, created by Him. Therefore, in a sense, nothing is supernatural. However, even if a thousand years from now we discover the new laws explaining these occurrences, they will still point to a Supreme Mind.

 

The obstinacy of atheists astounds me. They follow two basic assumptions, without any absolute requirement or logical reason to adopt them, as if they were some self evident truths, such as that an elephant is bigger than an ant. These two assumptions are: There is no God, and Revealed knowledge is not true knowledge because it is not testable. All their hypotheses regarding these five supernatural phenomena are based on these two rules that they have adopted. Let us examine some of them.

 

1. God created the universe, because nothing can be created from absolute nothing (discussed in detail in blog 101). Therefore atheist scientists said; No, universe must have been created from nothing, since we believe that there is no God. A scientist Alan Guth called the universe, an ultimate free lunch.

2.   Bertrand Russell said“...The universe is just there, and that's all.” That means there is no origin of universe. So, Russell denies the current understanding that the universe started from a Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago, and stars and galaxies gradually evolved.


3. David Hume, a Scottish philosopher, said that there are no miracles, because miracles violate laws of nature, which is impossible. It is just superstition. St Augustine relates the miracle of incorrupt dead bodies (blog 160):


God revealed Bishop Ambrose, in a vision, where the bodies of martyrs Protasius and Gervasius were hidden.  All these years (over two hundred) You had preserved them incorrupt.”

 

Saint Augustine was far from a superstitious fool.

 

4. The chance of intelligent life to arise is 1 followed by 117 zeroes (see blog 153). This is an extremely small chance. The answer by atheist scientists is; have infinite universes. Infinite has 1 followed by infinite zeroes( trillions, googol, googolplex or even more zeroes ), at least  in one of them ( one out of 10117) everything would be exactly right, and intelligent life will emerge.

We cannot fathom one universe. Consider having infinite universes! Who created them? It reminds me of world of fantasy. Create whatever you want, in your mind, and call it a hypothesis, without an iota of data. Keep the mantra; no God, no revealed knowledge.

 

Coming back to the beautiful world of spirituality. God is not a supposition to the great mystics and prophets, because they have actually experienced God. Some have actually seen the light of God, although it had deleterious effects on them. Moses and Saint Paul and Shah Sahib saw it. Moses fell unconscious. Paul became temporarily blind. Shah Sahib (his original name is Noor Alam), a Sufi mystic, told my brother, that he can see the light of God in his mind’s vision, with closed eyes. This mote has written three blogs on Shah Sahib ( 153-155).

 

St Augustine could not answer the question that how prophets could see future (blog 159). He wrote:

“For it is utterly impossible that things which do not exist should be revealed. The means by which You do this is far beyond our understanding. I have not the strength to comprehend this mystery, and by my own power I never shall.”

 This mote has attempted to answer this riddle. See explanation 6 in blog 141 and further discussion in blog 142.

Fifteen years and two months have passed since the start of my journey towards God

 

Mkadk

 13th February, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

134. Fate versus Free Will. Part one

 

This is one of the knottiest problems of all times.

Mankind has thought about it for centuries. I have no intention of stating what philosophers, scientists, rationalists and religious scholars have said about it. I will discuss this problem in an entirely different light; the insight of mysticism. Right at the outset, I want to state that, despite years of thought, I have not arrived at any solution. I think it is an insoluble problem. It ends in a paradox, which I will state somewhere. Let this mote start with stating the two theories. Then the pros and cons of each hypothesis will be examined.  We will see if one or both hypothesis can be rejected

 

Hypothesis. Fate. According to this hypothesis, in its pure and extreme form, everything is predetermined. What a person will do during his life has been determined before his birth, by God (1-2). I quote from al-Ashqar:

 

               The central knowledge of Allah, by which He ruled that He would create whatever He wanted to exist, and……………….. He wrote down all of that in Al-Lau hal-Mahfooz ‘the preserved tablet’ in His words. So the heavens and the earth…….and everything in between them and in them___ all of that is preserved in the Al-Lauh al-Mahfooz.

               The creation of whatever Allah, the Almighty, has decreed should exist, according to His prior knowledge and what was written by His pen; whatever happens in reality is identical to that prior, written knowledge.

In other words, God has decreed all things as they will be.

 

To a modern man it is a preposterous notion. Nobody infringes on his independence. If this hypothesis was true then he was a mere puppet. He does not for a moment thinks that he is a puppet. Moreover it flies against one’s own daily experience. Let us say I want to move my arm. I think about it and will my arm to move, and it moves. I do not have to get permission from anybody. All our actions are our own. We usually have multiple choices; we choose one of them, for whatever reasons

 

But others, who have thought about free will a little more deeply, have come to a different conclusion. They think that free will is an illusion. In other words we think that we have free will but in reality we do not. It is a mere illusion. This passage from Somerset Maugham’s novel ‘of human bondage’ illustrates this point:

At last Philip said: “Well, I can’t say anything about other people. I can only speak for myself. The illusion of free will is so strong in my mind that I can’t get away from it, but I believe it is only an illusion. But it is an illusion which is one of the strongest motives of my actions. Before I do anything I feel that I have choice, and that influences what I do; but afterwards, when the thing is done, I believe that it was inevitable from all eternity.”

“What do you deduce from that?” asked Hayward.

“Why, merely the futility of regret. It’s no good crying over spilt milk, because all the forces of the universe were bent on spilling it.”

I had read these passage decades ago, and at that time was struck by its novelty. Why do Philip and others arrive at that conclusion? I believe for two reasons:

First, they think it was determined as such. It was in their destiny. It was written in the stars. If there were two choices to a possible action, and they took option number one, they were destined to choose option number one. Had they taken option number two, they were, since all eternity, chosen to take option number two.

The other reason is that one is a product of nature and nurture. Our nature is made by the genes that we inherit; half the genes from one’s father and the other half from one’s mother. We are nurtured by where we are born and where we are raised. Our parents, our teachers, our peers, the environment surrounding us, are the predominant forces that mould our character____all during childhood. We have absolutely no independence during nature or nurture. Nobody asks us where you want to be born? Where you want to be raised? Who should be your parents?

Therefore, although it appears that we perform actions according to our own free will, how much of that free will was made by the twin forces of nature and nurture_____both, as we have determined, were beyond our control. That is why the character of Philip said that the free will is an illusion.

Now, let us examine the evidence and the arguments in support of fate

1. The hypothesis of fate has been handed down to us through religious books and scriptures. John Calvin in Christianity, Ibn Taymiyah in Islam, Swami Vivekananda in Hinduism (3), believed in it and their beliefs were derived from their scriptures. Partial support is also found in Judaism.

However, since this mote does not regard scriptures as evidence or argument, he is going to completely disregard it.

2. Some persons have been able to tell future events. That means future exists somewhere, which these persons have the ability to read (or see)

To be continued


 

(1)  “Divine will and predestination” by Umar S. al-Ashqar

(2) Majmoo’ al-Fattawa by Ibn Taymiyah

(3) Swami Vivekananda (1907) "Sayings and utterances".. “Therefore we see at once that there cannot be any such thing as free-will; the very words are a contradiction, because will is what we know, and everything that we know is within our universe, and everything within our universe is molded by conditions of time, space and causality. ... To acquire freedom we have to get beyond the limitations of this universe; it cannot be found here”

 

 

 

135. Fate versus Free Will. Part two

 

We were discussing the two causes of belief in fate

Prophecy or prediction of future events is a strong argument in destiny, and also God, as I have discussed in great detail in blog 102. If the future exists somewhere, then somebody wrote it, and that somebody can only be God. Nobody else is so powerful. How could Swami Vivekananda predict 43 years in advance that Mr Dickenson will receive a silver cup from his guru (blogs 79-81)? I have described 13 such prophecies in blogs 102-3. Events happened just as they were predicted years in advance. The ability of Chandi Das to go blank for few minutes and then tell Paul Brunton (blog 91) what was going to happen to him, strongly supports the notion that a scene of future was brought to the inner eye of Chandi Das, just as the scene of Sri Yogananda eating strawberries in America, years later, was brought to the mind’s eye of Sri Yukteswar.

One may say, that it would really add to our knowledge, if instead of guessing what transpires, we would know for certain what happens. In other words the person who has the ability to see future, shares it with others. This mote has the privilege of having this knowledge, because the seer shared it with me.

 

A seer wanted to test whether he can see the future in advance. There was a lottery which had live drawing of the numbers, on TV, next day. He used some spiritual procedure, after following its stipulations. After some time, like a flash, one number came. He wrote it down. He concentrated again, and the next number came, in a similar flash. The lottery had seven numbers. One by one, he got all the seven numbers. Next day he watched the live drawing on TV. His seven numbers were correct. He never repeated it, due to the following reasons:

               a. He became quite sick. These practices take a lot out of a person.

               b. He was strongly warned by higher powers, never to do it again. God’s laws, such as hiding the future, are for important reasons. To look into future, without God’s permission, is against God’s plans

 

You may argue that these prophecies do not necessarily prove that God willed all events to happen as they actually happened; he just knows them in advance. In other words, due to his infinite mind, he has foreknowledge of everything, but he does not make it happen. Events happen by free will and chance.

 

This is a valid point; we will discuss it when we discuss free will.

 

Now, let us discuss the arguments against fate:

 

1. It does not explain evil

2. It does not explain injustice

3. Makes God, indifferent, cruel and unjust

4. Why is God hidden?

5. If everything is preordained by God, then what is the purpose of creation by God?

6. It flies against our daily experience of events happening due to free will.

7. Does not explain the cruelty of predator animals to prey.

8. All human effort is completely useless.

 

Let us discuss each point.

1.It does not explain evil in this world. Everybody has heard of Holocaust. There is no greater example of pure evil, on a large scale, in modern human history. If God is responsible for all events then He is responsible for Holocaust. This mote has never in all his life, for even a moment, thought that my beloved God is responsible for any evil. We ourselves ( Nazi Germans in the case of Holocaust) and an indifferent, neutral Nature are responsible. However, my sentiments are not a substitute of argument. The argument is that God could not have created Holocaust because an infinite, limitlessly powerful mind would neither have the need nor derive any pleasure from the slow sufferings of millions of persons. It has to be the system which created such evil philosophy. Since human beings ( Hitler ) created that philosophy, so human beings are responsible. If humans are responsible then they acted by their free will. If that is the case then hypothesis one ( Fate ) is wrong and hypothesis two ( Free will ) is right, as we will discuss later when we examine hypothesis two.

2. It does not explain injustice in this world. We all have seen examples of injustice. Powerful, cruel, and selfish people thrive, while weak and righteous suffer. One sees hordes of professional beggars in India and Pakistan, their bodies distorted from poverty and disease. Some are born blind or crippled and their whole life passes in grief. Hitler, Stalin, and Genghis Khan led lives of power and comfort. All of them died without suffering. Beating and cruelty to slaves was common in the past. I quote Darwin (1):

 

I feel glad that this happened in the land of the Brazilians, for I bear them no good will - a land also of slavery, and therefore of moral debasement...On the 19th of August we finally left the shores of Brazil, I thank God, I shall never again visit a slave-country. To this day, if I hear a distant scream, it recalls with painful vividness my feelings, when passing a house near Pernambuco, I heard the most pitiable moans, and could not but suspect that some poor slave was being tortured, yet knew that I was as powerless as a child even to remonstrate. I suspected that these moans were from a tortured slave, for I was told that this was the case in another instance. Near Rio de Janeiro I lived opposite to an old lady, who kept screws to crush the fingers of her female slaves. I have stayed in a house where a young household mulatto, daily and hourly, was reviled, beaten, and persecuted enough to break the spirit of the lowest animal. I have seen a little boy, six or seven years old, struck thrice with a horse-whip (before I could interfere) on his naked head, for having handed me a glass of water not quite clean; I saw his father tremble at a mere glance from his master's eye. These latter cruelties were witnessed by me in a Spanish colony, in which it has always been said, that slaves are better treated than by the Portuguese, English, or other European nations. I have seen at Rio de Janeiro a powerful negro afraid to ward off a blow directed, as he thought, at his face. I was present when a kind-hearted man was on the point of separating forever the men, women, and little children of a large number of families who had long lived together

 

_____________________________________________________________________________________(1) Voyage of the beagle by Charles Darwin (1839), chapter V

 

To be continued

 

136. Fate versus Free Will. Part Three

 

We were discussing the arguments against Fate.

 

3. It makes God, indifferent, cruel and unjust. There is cruelty, injustice, hunger, poverty, disease, and natural calamities, like earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, droughts, tornadoes and hurricanes. If everything is decreed by God, then is it not logical to hold God responsible for all of the above? If you believe in the hypothesis of Fate, then the best you can say in God’s defense is that he is indifferent, or He does not know, or He died. If He died then the universe and the earth are running on its own. The inhabitants of earth are responsible for their affairs. But that is hypothesis two (Free will). Same would be true if God did not know, because the mankind must be managing their affairs on their own.

 

If God was indifferent, then we have to imagine a scenario in which we envision God responsible for all the miseries that have been mentioned above and not caring about them. It would be like us, killing millions of animals every day for food, and billions of insects and microbes to make our life better. I have seen the kindest hearted persons devouring meat and killing mosquitoes and flies. How is it that we don’t think about it? Because we get desensitized to it. Maybe God has become desensitized too. At least, in our case we are compelled to do so because we need food and are protecting ourselves from disease and discomfort. There is no such justification for God. He need not worry about food or discomfort. And moreover he created the insects and microbes.

Can God be indifferent? The closest example is that of a writer of a play. Suppose the writer is also the producer, and director of the play. Whatever, the actors will do or say on stage, how the plot proceeds, how the drama ends, is what the writer has willed them to do. Can such a writer (and in this case also the producer and director) who wrote the minutest detail of the play be indifferent? No it is not possible. An indifferent writer would be an oxymoron, like hot ice. Let me quote Darwin again: “To this day, if I hear a distant scream, it recalls with painful vividness my feelings, when passing a house near Pernambuco, I heard the most pitiable moans, and could not but suspect that some poor slave was being tortured”

 

God created those pitiable moans. God spilled the milk (see blog 134), in Maugham’s novel; ….. because all the forces of the universe were bent on spilling it.”

 

Therefore, God is neither dead, nor indifferent. He is not responsible for all the miseries. We and a blind nature are responsible. And we have free will

 

4. Why is God hidden? His being hidden from us would only make sense, if he wanted us to live on our own, without the interference of any higher power. As if either there was no God, or if there was a God, He set everything in motion 13.8 billion years ago (see blogs 100-101).  The experiment, in our world, and billions of other planets with life, may proceed for other billions of years. We will discuss it in more detail when we discuss the hypothesis number two of Free Will

 

5. If everything is preordained by God, then what is the purpose of creation by God? Our job is not to find the purpose of creation by God, because with our limited intelligence we may never find it. Our purpose, now, is to determine, if a meaningful purpose can be ascribed to God, in hypothesis number one (Fate). According to this hypothesis God is like a play writer who is also producer and director. The outcome of the play is known to the writer. There is no suspense, unlike it is for a scientist who is setting up an extremely long and complicated experiment, for the first time, and does not know what the outcome would be. Whole drama (written by the play writer) becomes useless and rather silly.

 

Furthermore, this hypothesis will make God (the writer of the play) cruel, unjust and sadist. We will then sympathize with Swedenborg, the Swede, who said: “if I could only find that arch-tyrant God, who created so much misery in the world, I would strangle him to death”

 

6. It flies against our daily experience of events happening due to free will. This point has already been discussed. There is no evidence to support hypothesis one, except prophecies. Prophecies will be discussed again in Free will hypothesis.

 

7. Does not explain the cruelty of predator animals to prey. There is cruelty in animal kingdom. I think it was Darwin who remarked “Every living organism eats other organisms or is being eaten by it”

Now it is completely normal in nature. Predators have to kill other animals to survive. But all the animals that become prey, suffer, even if it is for few minutes. Ask yourself, would you like to be a deer being chased by couple of panthers. You run and run, but are caught by the predators and thrown on the jungle floor. They may start eating you while you are still alive. Or, how would you like to be a bird being carried away in the talons, which are digging in your body like iron nails, of the predator. Have you seen a cat playing with a bird for hours (I once saw our two household cats playing with a live mouse, like a soccer ball)? Bird predators have been known to throw fish in the sea from a height, and swooping in the water, catching the fish, and throwing it again and again, for sport.

Now, what if you are the author of this cruelty?

If you were the creator, you could easily have created a world, without carnivorous animal. Every animal could have an aversion to meat, like a cow or a horse. World would have been a peaceful place.

There is no excuse, whatsoever, in hypothesis one (Fate), for creation of carnivorous animals.

 

All living things arose by themselves, through the process of evolution, as I have explained in blog 99.

 

To be continued

 

 

 

 

137. Fate versus Free Will. Part Four

 

We were discussing the arguments against Fate.

 

8.  All human effort is completely useless. It seems to be a startling statement but it is true. As discussed in previous blog, in hypothesis one (Fate), God is like the writer, producer and director of a play. Just as the actors in a play have no independence; they say their lines and act, as directed, so in the drama of the world, nobody has any independence. We are like puppets, in the hands of the puppeteer.

 

Religious scholars have tried to get around this notion, by ascribing a two-tier system. A part determined by God, which is unchangeable, and a part carved by humans, themselves, through the agency of free will. Since it involves free will it does not belong here in hypothesis one. It won’t be discussed here anymore.

 

One wonders if the evidence against Fate is so overwhelming, why some people still cling to it.

Three reasons:

1 It has gone into human psyche, after thousands of years of belief

2. If you don’t want to act, it supports inaction.

3. It is a consoling factor.

 

  1. For thousands of years (before Darwin) everyone agreed that everything was created by God and God was omnipotent. So it was natural to ascribe most events to God. Palmistry and Astronomy also supported the existence of fate or destiny. Since Copernicus and Darwin, at least in the West, pendulum has swung in the other direction, and Free will is held paramount, but still it is in our genes.

2. It supports inaction. A scene in the epic movie ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ illustrated this point:

 

“They cross the Nefud Desert, considered impassable even by the Bedouins, travelling day and night on the last stage to reach water. A soldier accidently falls off his camel unnoticed during the night. He is lost. The Arabs don’t think it is prudent, or even possible, to go back and get the soldier. But Lawrence wants to go back. That means everybody will have to wait for Lawrence for hours; a foolhardy and impractical notion. His allies insist that the man’s death has already been written from heat, thirst and exhaustion.

Lawrence goes back in the desert and retrieves the man. On return, he pointedly says to Omar Sharif; “Nothing is written”(bold letters are mine )

A great saint like Swami Ramdas also advocated inaction (1). His ex-wife was telling him that their daughter needs to be married, while she (the ex-wife) did not have a penny. I quote:

 

He listened to her with a cool indifference and said

               “Why do you worry over the matter? God’s will is supreme. All things happen as He wills and at the time determined by Him”

               “How can you say so? Do you mean to say that human effort has no value”? She retorted.

               “Human effort” he replied “is necessary only to learn that human effort as such is useless and God’s will alone is the real power that controls and brings about all events ( italics are mine ). When you realize this truth, human effort ceases and divine will starts its work in you, and then you do all things in the soul, liberated from care, fear and sorrow. This is the real life to be attained. So leave all things to the Lord by complete surrender to Him”

3.  If life has been especially harsh to you. If you have been dealt a bad hand, if sorrow and misery has eaten your soul, if despite your best effort you have been unsuccessful in achieving your heart-felt desire, your single greatest aim in life, then you may console yourself that it was written in the stars. It was in your fate, destiny or kismet.

___________________________________________________________________________________

(1). In the vision of God. Volume 1, by Swami Ramdas

 

 

138. Fate versus Free Will. Part Five.

 

Hypothesis Two. Free Will. It states that Humans are masters of their own fate. They have free will. Future is not pre-ordained. It is not written in stars. It is not decreed by God. All events, without exception, happen by the interaction between free will, nature and chance (chance is actually one of the manifestations of nature)

The two tier system proposed by religion and mystics ( such as Ramakrishna ), according to which some events, such as birth, death and some other major events in one’s life, are decreed by God, while the rest are in the hands of the individual through his exercise of free will, is rejected by hypothesis two. Let us read what the great saint Sri Ramakrishna said (1):

 

“Is there anyone who has free will or anything like that? It is by God’s will alone that everything has always happened and shall happen……man understands it in the long run.

Just as, when a cow is tied to a post with long tether, it can go to a distance of one cubit, or it can go up to the full length of the tether according to its choice, so too is the free will of the man….God has given man some power and freedom to utilize it as he likes.

That is why the man feels himself free……

And mark this: if anyone prays to Him in all humility. He may remove him to another place and tie him there; or he may lengthen the tether or even remove it completely from the neck.”

 

We asked, “Does the man have no duty or responsibility?”

“………………..He does not give one more power, if the little that is given is not properly used. This is why individual effort and perseverance are necessary. Don’t you see, everyone has to make some effort? however small, before he gets God’s grace?”

 

But this mote rejects that. All events, since the creation of universe have been happening without the intervention of God. They have been the result of natural events, as explained in blogs 97-99.

 

Everything happens according to the law of cause and effect. Let me repeat what I had already written in blog 102:

According to the law of cause and effect, an action takes place because a preceding action caused it. The first action is called the cause, while the second action, which is the result of the first action, is the effect. For instance, a ball is climbing up the sky. It is climbing up because somebody threw it. Throwing the ball is the cause of the ball climbing up.

It is a fundamental law of nature that the cause precedes the effect. When we will discuss time travel, a well known paradox is mentioned, called the ‘grandfather paradox’. If it was possible to travel in the past, one could kill one’s grandfather before one’s father was born. But then one could not be born to kill the grandfather. The solution to the paradox is that his existence (the cause) has to precede the killing (the effect). So it cannot happen. Time travel in the past is not possible.

Sorry for this digress.

If that is true then nobody should be able to tell future, because it does not exist. It does not exist because it has not been made yet.

But I have narrated in previous blogs (blogs 102-3) thirteen prophecies. We will tackle this contradiction sometimes later.

When I talk of forecasting future, I mean the part of future which cannot be told by any scientific means. Weather is predicted fairly accurately by meteorologists. If somebody has boarded a nonstop train going to London, there are fairly good chances of him being in London sometimes later (barring some unforeseen event). Scientists can predict solar and lunar eclipses very accurately. Doctors are fairly accurate in predicting the approximate date or week of a baby’s birth. We know that Halley’s Comet last appeared in the inner Solar System in 1986 and will next appear in mid-2061.

 

What cannot be told are the seven numbers in exact sequence which would be the winning numbers in the live drawing of a lottery at some future date? ( mentioned above in blog 135)

 

Now, let us quote again the objections to hypothesis one (blog 135) and see if hypothesis two can explain them:

 

1. It does not explain evil

2. It does not explain injustice

3. Makes God, indifferent, cruel and unjust

4. Why is God hidden?

5. If everything is preordained by God, then what is the purpose of creation by God?

6. It flies against our daily experience of events happening due to free will.

7. Does not explain the cruelty of predator animals to prey.

8. All human effort is completely useless.

 

Objection 1-3 are regarding evil, injustice, and cruelty. Hypothesis two easily dismisses them, because they were not created by God. All these are manmade. As regards to why God is hidden, is because God had to be hidden, for mankind to reach their full potential. If a Father figure of God was always hovering around, who mankind could consult, the growth of human race would be stunted, like that of a child who refuses to grow up.

Statements 5-6 do not apply in hypothesis two.

Predators and preys in animal kingdom are the result of the race for the survival of the fittest and other aspects of evolution, as explained in Blog 99. Statement 8 does not apply in hypothesis two.

 

To be continued

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­__________________________________________________________________________________

(1) Sri Ramakrishna, the great master, Volume one By Swami Saradananda, page 94

 

 

 

139. Fate versus free will. Part Six

 

What are the arguments against free will, or hypothesis two?

 Actually there is only one argument against it, and that is if the future does not yet exist (because it has yet to be made), then how come some men of God are able to tell it, sometimes in precise detail? In blog 135, I narrated how a man of God who foresaw the seven lottery numbers, one day in advance of their live drawing on TV. It is as if future existed somewhere.

 

Thus we arrive at a paradox:

 

1. Some persons can see future, therefore it exists somewhere

 

2. Future does not and cannot exist, because it has not been made yet.

These are two mutually contradictory, immovable statements. Only one of them can be right, or is there some way in which both are right?

Let us first examine the actual evidence of prophecies. I have chronicled 13 such events (excluding the one in blog 135) in blogs 102-3. A summary of them is in blog 114. Since many persons do not have access to computer, I will restate the summary here:

 

               How can anybody tell the future which has not been made yet? To have my grandfather buried in the same grave with his son, required a colossal event to happen, in which millions suffered. For Swami Vivekananda to see the event of the silver cup 43 years in advance, only a Divine power had to be involved. How did Swami Yukteswar know that the veterinarian will fall ill soon, recover, and die 6 months later? How did he know that Yogananda will be fed strawberries in America? And Kashi did die, as predicted.

               How can one explain the vision of the teacher putting a garland of flowers on the president’s neck and receiving a check; Baroda Babu’s telling Dilip Kumar Roy, 12 years in advance, that he will have to wait for Indra Devi to join him as his disciple for his real progress, and also telling him about what Sri Aurobindo advised him regarding his hernia.

               One does not have any explanation of Indra Devi’s vision of the pilot dying in crash one year in advance and then his spirit coming to Indra.

                Brother Lawrence predicted on Friday, that he will die on Monday (blog 15-7). That is how it happened.

                In blog 91, I have narrated the incident of Paul Brunton meeting Chandi Das. Chandi Das, reluctantly, narrated some incidents of Brunton’s future. Some of them came true, by the time book was published.

 

What are the possible explanations of prophecies?

 

1.  All these anecdotes of prophecies are false. They never happened.

2. The anecdotes are true, but the predicted events were made to occur, when their time came, by some powerful living persons or spirits.

3. The causes or signs of future start appearing in the present, from them the future can be predicted.

4. The people who predicted, had the ability to travel in the future

5.  There is a parallel world, which is a copy of our world, like the image in a mirror (or we are the image). It is ahead of us in time. Whatever will happen in future over here has already happened in the other world. Therefore access to that world enables us to know our future.

 

Now, let us examine these speculations in greater detail.

 

1.   All these anecdotes of prophecies are false. These episodes have been carefully selected by this mote. I heard the story of my grandfather and uncle, from the lips of my mother (blog 102). Mr Dickenson told the story of silver cup many times, and Sri Yogananda, being a man of God, would not have chronicled it in his autobiography, were it false. The source of other anecdotes (3-8, in blog 102) is also written by Sri Yogananda in his book. I, myself, talked to the teacher who put garland of flowers, around the president’s neck. He verified it. I, myself, talked to the seer who foresaw the seven lottery numbers. The other episodes are also taken from the books of men of God, like Paul Brunton, Brother Lawrence, and Dilip Kumar Roy. So all these episodes are authentic.

There is a valid criticism, that all of these episodes are hearsay or could have been fabricated by the authors, themselves. I have not mentioned a single episode, watched by me, or experienced by me. I have no answer to this argument. Maybe God will one day grant me such an episode. But it still will not answer the criticism, because how will the readers know that I am not making it up.

 

To be continued

 

 

140. Fate versus Free Will. Part Seven.

 

 We were discussing the possible explanations of prophecies

 

2. The predicted events were made to occur, when their time came, by some powerful living persons or spirits. Take the example of Mr Dickenson being told that one day his guru will give him a silver cup. Swami Vivekananda may not have seen the future; words may have been wrung out of his mouth by some unseen power, just as it happened to Sri Yogananda (blog 103):

 

“One day in my Ranchi school, a boy named Kashi, a brilliant youth of twelve, asked me “Sir, what will be my fate?”

‘You shall soon be dead’. An irresistible power forced the answer from me.

The boy died the same year.

 

When Yogananda was walking in a street of Calcutta, an unseen power may have influenced his mind and made him buy a silver cup for Dickenson. Higher powers, when necessary, do influence our minds.

For instance, take the two incidents quoted in section 6 and 7 of blog 112, as Mufti Sahib’s prayers. In one instance some higher power influenced the mind of the wife of the landlord, and in the other case the mind of the person who gave Mufti Sahib money for the bus fare.

 

This argument can be invoked in some cases, but not all.  For instance, a fakir told my grandfather that he and one of his sons will be buried in one grave. To have it happen, a colossal event such as Partition of India had to take place, in which millions of people died or suffered. It could not have been done just to make the fakir right. Similarly Yogananda sister could not have attired herself in her bridal dress and later during the day kill herself to prove herself right.

 

3. The causes or signs of future start appearing in the present, from them the future can be predicted.

This argument was first made by St Augustine sixteen hundred years ago (1). For instance the sunrise from day-break. I quote:

 

‘I behold the day-break, I foreshow, that the sun, is about to rise. What I behold, is present; what I foresignify, to come; not the sun, which already is; but the sun-rising, which is not yet. And

Yet did I not in my mind imagine the sun-rising itself (as now while I speak of it), I could not foretell it. But neither is that daybreak which I discern in the sky, the sun-rising, although it goes

before it; ……… . Future things then are not yet: and if they be not yet, they are not: and if

they are not, they cannot be seen; yet foretold they may be from things present, which are already, and are seen.’

 

This argument is not valid in any of the 14 situations cited above, such as for Swami Vivekananda to see the event of the silver cup 43 years in advance

 

4. The people who prophesied had the ability to travel in the future. Travel in the future is the fodder of science fiction. Even famous physicists claim that theoretically it is possible (2). If some men of God have this ability they could go in the future for few minutes, like Chandi Das did in front of Paul Brunton, and then come back to the present, and report their findings (blog 91)

 

Let us examine what the scientists have to say:

 

‘If you want to advance through the years a little faster than the next person, you'll need to exploit space-time. Global positioning satellites pull this off every day, accruing an extra third-of-a-billionth of a second daily. Time passes faster in orbit, because satellites are farther away from the mass of the Earth. Down here on the surface, the planet's mass drags on time and slows it down in small measures. In the  super massive black hole Sagittarius A at the center of our galaxy, the mass of 4 million suns exists as a single, infinitely dense point, known as a singularity [source: NASA]. It must slow the time a lot over there.

 

We call this effect gravitational time dilation. (3) ’

 

If you were travelling on a space ship at 99.999% of the speed of light, one year on that space ship would have equaled 223 years on earth. When you came back after a year, all the people you knew before your journey would have died. One would have travelled 223 years in future.

 

The trouble about all these speculations is they do not help us one bit. Take the example of a traveler starting on his space trip in year 2014, at close to the speed of light. Let us say he has the magical ability to watch the events on earth. After a month he wants to notify all the events to somebody on the earth. Let us further suppose that he can send the message at the speed of light. The message will take another month to arrive on earth. Two months have passed since he started his journey. These two months are approximately equal to 37 years of earth time. Time travelled 223 times faster on the earth than on the space ship. It is 2051 on earth. The message cannot tell the earth inhabitants anything that they already don’t know. They have lived through it. It is their past. What the men of God supposedly do is to watch the future, which yet do not exist.

 

To be continued.

 


 

1). Confessions by St. Augustine, chapter X1                                                                                             (2).: How to build a time machine by STEPHEN HAWKING
(3) How Time Travel Works by Kevin Bonsor and Robert Lamb


 


 

141. Fate versus Free will. Part Eight.

 

We were discussing the possible explanations of prophecies

 

5.   There is a parallel world, which is an exact copy of our world, but it is ahead of us in time. Let us suppose it is 500 years ahead of us. Let us further assume that it is one hundred light years away from us (a light year is the distance light travels in one year, at the speed of 186,000 miles per second.). If the year on our earth is 2014, the year in the other world is 2514. If we had the ability to watch the events at the other world right at this minute, we would be watching what is going on in the other world in year 2414. (It took the light to reach to us a hundred years; therefore it is 2514 minus 100).

               So, if by some technique you were able to make a video film of the last 4 hundred years of the other planet; years 2014 to 2414 of the other world, and feed it to a giant computer on earth, or still better, download it in the memory center of your own brain, if you were a holy man, you would have the ability to forecast events which are going to happen on earth, in the next four hundred years,! You could have started recording in year 1614 of earth time, and be up to date, in the present year of 2014.

               However, to have all that to happen, you have to fulfill the following conditions:

 

1.  A planet which is an exact replica of our planet, like an image in the mirror.

2. The planet is ahead of our planet in time.

3. We have the ability to watch or record the events in the other planet.

 

First two are highly implausible suppositions, but the third is easy and is being routinely done by many telescopes on earth and in space.

Therefore, we cannot discard this possibility. Maybe, in the future, when the science is much more advanced, we will find the parallel world.

However, there is one consideration, which can make us reject this scenario, at least the part which deals with prophecies.

 

We were discussing the possibility of a parallel world, which is exactly similar to our world, like the image in a mirror, but is ahead of us in 500 years, away from us by 100 light years, and this is the year 2014. A man of God, or a scientist, has downloaded the film of years 2014 to 2414. What is going to happen in year 2015 is exactly, and in every single detail, recorded and can be viewed.

Let us play out the scenario of Swami Vivekananda telling Dickenson that he will receive a silver cup from his guru (blog 102). This event occurred 43 years later. Therefore, if Vivekananda foretold the event, he must have seen, in his mind’s eye, what happened in the other planet; he must have seen an image Vivekananda telling image Dickenson that he will get a silver cup, by seeing what happened in another ( third ) planet.

               But there is no other ( third ) planet! We assumed there were only two planets. Is there a third planet? If we proceed on this path, there has to be a fourth, and fifth planet. As a matter of fact, an infinity of mirror-image planets, ahead of each other in time. We are entering the realm of absurdity.

 

Is that the end of our theorizing? If this mote is baffled, he derives some satisfaction, that mightier minds and more advanced mystics than him have similarly accepted defeat. Listen to what St Augustine had to say in ‘Confessions’:

Thou then, Ruler of Thy creation, by what way dost Thou teach souls things to come? For Thou didst teach Thy Prophets. By what way dost Thou, to whom nothing is to come, teach things to

come; or rather of the future, dost teach things present? For, what is not, neither can it be taught. Too far is this way of my ken: it is too mighty for me, I cannot attain unto it; but from Thee I can, when Thou shalt vouchsafe it, O sweet light of my hidden eyes’

 

I have another theory, which may be the correct solution, and satisfy the paradox stated in blog 139. We will call it explanation 6.

 

6. The people who prophesied, and told about future events have access to the Master screen play. In the drama of the universe, God is not the writer, and director of the play, He is more like the producer of the play. He had the idea to create the play.  Whatever, the actors will do or say on stage, how the plot will proceed, how the drama will end, is in the screen play. However, He did not write the screen play. He knows by His infinite mind what is in the screen play. He did not preordain the screen play but He has foreknowledge of the screen play.

The writer and director of the play are we, ourselves, and the Mother Nature.

The people, who tell the future, do not travel into the future. They stay in the present. They do not see the future, because the future does not yet exist. Scenes are brought to their mind’s eye, or words are wrung from their mouths without their forethought, by higher powers, which have access to the Master screen play.

 

To be continued

 

142. Fate versus Free Will. Part Nine

 

We were discussing another theory, which may be the correct solution, and satisfy the paradox stated in blog 139.

 

How does God have foreknowledge? There are two possibilities:

 

 1. He knows it because He has an infinite mind that can compute all the possibilities.

2. The play is being played a second time. First time in a computer, similar to some sort of simulation, or actually  in our planet or some other planet. What is going to happen now, in our planet, will be the same as happened the first time around. Suppose you are watching a film second time, you can easily tell how the plot will proceed. What the actors are going to say? If you play the film thousand times, every single detail will occur exactly the same way. The drama of this world is something like that, except that we write, direct and act in this drama, and not the decrees of God.

 

               Men of God tell a particular future event. Because God wants them to tell. God gives them permission to tell and they always seek permission from God before they tell, because they fully know that it is a divine law to have the future hidden from mankind (otherwise mankind would not put their full effort). They violate the law with divine sanction. When Brunton asked Chandi Das to tell him his future, Chandi Das rebuked him and said, “Why do you seek to know? The Creator has kept the future hidden for a fit reason” (blog 91)

 Let us now restate the paradox:

 

1. Some persons can see future, therefore it exists somewhere

2. Future does not and cannot exist, because it has not been made yet.

 

Both statements are true. There is no paradox!

 

What is required is to restate 1, as:

1. Some persons can see future, therefore it exists somewhere, but not the actual future, but how is it going to transpire, in a screen play, which these persons can access.

 

There is one small puzzle to be settled. When Chandi Das told Brunton his future, he also said that he can only see a part of the future:

Only in part. The lives of men do not move so smoothly that every detail is ordained for them.”

 

Did he mean the two-tier hypothesis of Ramakrishna?

‘Just as, when a cow is tied to a post with long tether, it can go to a distance of one cubit, or it can go up to the full length of the tether according to its choice, so too is the free will of the man….God has given man some power and freedom to utilize it as he likes.

That is why the man feels himself free…’

 

This mote thinks that the solution to this problem is not the two-tier hypothesis of religion but that the things get clearer as the event approaches ( a seer told me this fact ). It is as if one was witnessing a city from far distance. One can only see a mass consisting of thousands of house. As one approaches nearer, one can see separate houses and buildings. Still nearer, one can see the multiple storeys and windows in the buildings. As one approaches further, one can see occupants of the houses and whether they are men and women or children.

 

In the end, let us see what the components of hypothesis 2 (free will) are:

 

1. Man is free to choose his own fate

2. Nothing is preordained.

3. God started this play of universe for His inscrutable reason.

4. God sometimes interferes in the screen play for His unfathomable reason. This part appears contradictory to number 1. This will be discussed in greater detail when I discuss the “system of the world” at some future time.

5. God has foreknowledge of the future.

6. A Master screen play exists.

7. The future can be foretold by some men of God.

8. The difference from hypothesis one (fate) is that the fate is not preordained. Everything happens by the interaction of free will with Mother Nature. Future does not yet exist. The difference from hypothesis two (free will) is that future can be foretold by selected persons.

 

Difference from modern scientists is:

(a). That there is God, who created everything

(b). Future can be foretold (according to science, future cannot be foretold because it does not yet exist). It does not yet exist, because it has not been made yet.

 

What are the flaws in the components of hypothesis 2?

 

 It is based on many suppositions but very little evidence.

 

Let us study this criticism. Component number one and two are not in dispute by scientists and logicians. Components number 3-5 depend upon the existence of God. I have written eighteen blogs (blogs 97-114) to prove the existence of God. I presented lot of anecdotal evidence. The reader is at liberty to read those blogs and make his/her own mind. I don’t want them to be repeated over here. Personally, I do not have an iota of doubt.

I have also presented plenty of anecdotal evidence in support of item number seven. I do not have any doubt left, after I learnt the episode of lottery numbers (blog 135), by the seer himself.

 

The main supposition, for which there is zero evidence, is the existence of a Master screen play. I arrived at it by logic. It is the only way to reconcile the paradox. The seers have to see something in the present, because as Saint Augustine repeatedly said (and this mote arrived at the same conclusion, independently) that the future does not yet exist. How can anybody see anything which does not exist? Therefore, it is logical to assume that there exists, somewhere in present, a record of future events (I called it screen play).

This mote prayed to God, even today, a way to access the future, at least for once, so that I can then say that I have myself seen some future event. For me, at least, then it won’t be hearsay.

 


143. System of the World. Part One

 

When one thinks that how this universe is run, many questions arise in one’s mind. For instance, who created this universe? Did the universe create itself? Why was it created? Is there a God? Is planet Earth, which we call our world, runs on the same principles, as the rest of universe? Are we the only intelligent, self-aware, sentient form of life, or are there other planets or moons where there are similar life forms? What are the fundamental laws of nature? A universe is governed by same laws of nature, are there other universes which have different laws? Does true vacuum (where nothing is present) exist? And there are many other questions which philosophers and astrophysicist have in their minds.

 

This mote is a mystic, not a philosopher, astrophysicist, or a religious scholar. Here I want to theorize, not on the universe, but on the system of this world, our earth.

 

Basically, there are three hypotheses to explain the system:

 

1. There is no GOD or Creator. The universe was created at a finite period of time. Nobody knows, for sure, what was before that time. Scientists have theories about it, but essentially it is unknowable. Why was it created and who created it is also unfathomable, but scientist surmise that it created itself.  After the creation of universe, it is running on its own, by the laws of nature. Everything that happens in the world happens, because of the law of cause and effect. For purposes of this discussion we will name this, the “Materialistic theory”

 

2. There is a God or Creator. God created this universe at a finite period of time. God was there before the universe was created. He created it because of reasons only known to Him. Everything that happens in the universe happens because of His will. The world runs by fundamental laws of nature including the law of cause and effect. These laws were created by God. We will call this the “Religious theory”

 

3. There is a God or Creator. God created the universe at a certain period in time. God was there before the universe was created. He created it because of unknown reasons. However, after the creation of the universe he does not run the universe (but He may intercede on some occasions if He so desires), it runs automatically by the law of cause and effect and other laws of nature.  We will call this ‘Materialism with God theory’

 

Let us now examine these three hypotheses in greater detail.

 

Materialistic theory: I have discussed the origin of universe and the evolution of life in some detail in my blogs 98-101, in Part Three. According to the present knowledge, the universe started with a big explosion called Big Bang, 13.8 billion years ago. Nobody knows what was there before Big Bang. Was there a complete vacuum, with nothing in it? No matter and no energy. If that is true then this huge universe came into existence out of nothing! I think this is a preposterous notion. Nothing can arise out of nothing.

Science deals with this question in several ways:

1. It is useless to surmise without facts. Since we have no pre-Big Bang data we are not going to think about it. Universe is just there.

2. There is no pre-Bing Bang, because Time started at Big Bang. This is what St. Augustine also said 1600 years ago. Big objects such as planets and stars pull the fabric of time-space towards themselves by their force of gravity. Time slows. A big object such as Sagittarius A at the center of our galaxy has a mass of 4 million suns. Time must be slower over there. At Big Bang the whole matter-energy of the future universe was compressed in a singularity much smaller than an atom, the size of a Planck length; a centimeter divided by 1 followed by 32 zeroes. The massive pull of this singularity made the Time stand still.

 

3. As Sherlock Holmes, a fictional detective, once said, that if you eliminate the impossible, whatever is left, is the truth. Therefore, it follows that there must be the same amount of energy-matter before Big Bang as it was at Big Bang, and is there now, 13.8 billion years later, because the law of conservation of energy-matter states so. The law of conservation of energy is a fundamental law of nature. According to this law, energy can neither be created nor destroyed, but it can be transformed.

One of the current popular theories is that most or all or some of the energy-matter was in the form of extremely small ( the size of a Planck length ) strings, or in the form of membranes (abbreviated as brans). These strings ( like the strings of a guitar ) vibrated at different speeds, all the time, giving rise to different types of particles, just like different musical notes emerge by different tension and plucking of  guitar strings.  These subatomic particles caused the formation of atoms.

 

If my writing, at this time lacks clarity, it is because the subject itself is not clear.

 

To be continued.

 

 

 

144.  System of the World. Part Two

 

We were discussing the Materialistic Theory

 

The trouble with string theory is its lack of data. However, if we disregard this problem and discuss it just as a possibility, still there are at least three problems with Materialistic Theory:

 

(a). How did the universe come into existence? Scientists did not follow Sherlock Holmes dictum, because they did not consider all the possibilities. They should have considered the possibility of a Creator, and then refuted it, if they could. It cannot be refuted. The philosopher Bertrand Russell, in a debate with a bishop, conceded that he cannot disprove the existence of God.

(b). Where did string/brans come from? You see the scientist believe that universe was created out of nothing. But their nothing is not really nothing (an absolute vacuum, where nothing is present). The nothing of scientists is full of positive energy and an equal amount of negative energy, cancelling each other.

Thus we are led to the next question, where did all these particles, fields and energy come from? If there were precursors of them, where did they come from? And so on.  At some point the process has to start from absolutely nothing.

 

 That brings us to the point where we started. Can this huge, infinite universe or for that matter anything start from nothing? Prove it. Create one particle in an absolute vacuum.

 

(3). How do you explain miracles, answering of prayers, foretelling the future, and the existence of the spirits of dead persons who once inhabited earth, without a God. I have dealt with these phenomena, in great detail, in my eleven blogs; 102-112 in part three. If I narrate them here again, it will be needless repetition.

However, who, except God (or His deputies) could transform sandy soil into candy (blog 104)?

Who, except God ( or His deputies ) could answer the prayer of Mr Shevani’s to meet the greatest Qalander of present time, or for that matter Giri Bala’s prayer to learn the way to live without food or drink (blog 111)? Who, except God (or His deputies) would have inspired Swami Vivekananda to tell Mr Dickenson, 43 years in advance, that his guru will give him a silver cup? Who, except God (or His deputies) could provide proof of life after death, in the form of spirit of Bimla Kumari haunting a house in Cuttack, India?

 

A logician will say, where did this Creator come from?

The answer is that this mote does not know. This is an unanswerable question.  Our small mind is not capable of answering this question, just as a cow cannot learn to read.

 This mote has offered his arguments (blog 113). I will repeat them in an abbreviated form for purpose of continuity:

 

 

1. God can be conceptualized as energy, or something even more subtle than energy, with a supermind.  Human brain is an example. It is made, mainly, of nerve cells, created and fed by our daily food. These cells have the power to think, feel, and create movements and store as memory. These cells communicate with each other instantaneously, at the speed of light. If our brain, a collection of billions of cells, made of atoms, and atoms made of subatomic particles, such as electrons and protons and neutrons, can have thoughts of pain, pleasure, compassion, jealousy, and anger, why not God, a collection of pure energy, have a mind?

               2. How can such supermind arise, out of sheer nothing? The answer is that the same process of evolution, which caused the atoms to combine with each other and make chemicals such as amino acids, which led to the formation of a cell, and then to man, in 3-4 thousand million years( blog 99), could have created God ( I shudder at my own temerity ) in a limitless amount of time.  It may have happened with the same two engines of mutation and natural selection. There is no logical or biological reason for evolution to stop at a certain point. If not mutation, then deliberate experimentation, by the supermind, on the leptons and quarks, to continue its improvement.

 

Religious theory. God created this universe. He runs it. He is responsible for all the happenings in the world and universe, because everything happens by His divine will. I have discussed this theory in great detail in four blogs; 134-137. There is no need to repeat it. But, let me reiterate the points against it.

 

Now, let us discuss the arguments against the Religious theory:

 

1. It does not explain evil

2. It does not explain injustice

3. Makes God, indifferent, cruel and unjust

4. Why is God hidden?

5. If everything is preordained by God, then what is the purpose of creation?

6. It flies against our daily experience of events happening due to free will.

7. Does not explain the cruelty of predator animals to prey.

8. All human effort is completely useless.

Each of the above mentioned points are examined in detail in blogs 135-137.

 

This theory is not valid

 

To be continued.

 

145.  System of the World. Part Three

 

Materialism with God Theory. This hypothesis is an attempt to compromise the two basic observations that ordinary human beings make. First, everything is made by somebody; thus, this highly complex universe could not have come into existence just spontaneously. Therefore, there has to be a Creator who created it. Secondly, one thing leads to another, every action leads to its consequences. Every human being has observed that such and such thing happened or happens due to such and such thing. For ordinary human beings God never comes and plays any role in their daily lives or anybody else’s daily life

This theory is an amalgam of hypothesis no 1 and 2. It accepts a Creator, and therefore answers the first criticism to the “materialistic theory”, namely, that nothing can be created out of nothing. The theory also explains the second criticism to the materialistic theory; i.e. the phenomena of miracles, answering of prayers, foretelling of the future, and the existence of the spirits of dead persons who once inhabited earth. God or His deputies are responsible for these occurrences.

It also answers the criticism to the religious theory (see details in blog 136), namely, why is there so much suffering and injustice; the answer is, because they have nothing to do with God. God ordinarily does not interfere in the running of the world; therefore, whatever is going on in the world is happening due to the law of cause of effect, just as it would happen if there were no God. If people are poor, there are economic reasons for it. If they suffer due to old age or disease, that is due to the limitation of their body. If they are preyed upon by cruel or powerful people, it happens because they are weak, or their government is not redressing this problem, and so on. Even animal suffering is due to their weakness or old age. Remember, God does not have to be good according to this hypothesis; at best, He is indifferent and does not care.

God has to be hidden, because He wants human beings to develop on their own, be their own masters, and learn from their own mistakes. It complies with our daily experience of events happening due to our free will interacting with environment.

Human effort is not useless. As a matter of fact, it is the engine that propels us forward. The whole of human history is due to human effort.

If we were to take this theory in its pure form, then God created this universe 13.8 billion years ago, and since then it is running on its own.

But things are not so simple. We still have to answer three questions:

1. Does God ever interfere in the running of this world?

2. What is the purpose of the universe?

3. Is God personal or impersonal?

Let us try to answer these questions:

1. Does God ever intervene in human affairs? This is a difficult question to answer, because logic will say No, while evidence points towards Yes. I don’t have the answer.

If you try to place yourself in the position of God, you will imagine Him as some form of tremendous energy with a mind. A mind that is supermind. That Mind sets up an experiment with a set of basic unchangeable rules, like the speed of light (nothing can exceed that limit ); charge of an electron; magnitude of strong nuclear force ( which holds the atoms together ); principle of conservation of energy ( energy can be neither produced or destroyed ); attraction of atoms to each other resulting in the formation of chemicals and thus formation of life, including us; force of gravity to be the weakest of the four forces of nature and yet the only one which acts at long distances, 4-7 billion km in the case of Pluto. It is this force which makes the earth revolve around the sun. Dark energy pushing the galaxies apart; nuclear fusion atomic reaction that fuels all stars (including our sun, which then provides solar energy to the earth). Liquid water, a source of energy from a nearby star, and oxygen, are the requirements of life anywhere in the universe, etc.

The purpose of the experiment may be to see the emergence of intelligent, self-aware (animals are not self-aware), sentient (capable of feeling) life forms, and follow their progress over billions of years. After the experiment is over, make necessary changes and start a new experiment. Logically there should be no outside interference because it would pollute the results.

But, this mote thinks that the evidence is to the contrary. God (or His deputies) interferes in two ways:

(A). Minor way, when a person invites God in his/her life

(b) Major way, when He interferes in human development and history

(a) Minor intervention. Everything in our lives happens by the interaction of our free will with the environments through the law of cause and effect. God is not concerned. He does not interfere, whether we are virtuous or evil, whether we perform good deeds or bad deeds. To ask God to interfere in your life, you have to invite God in your life. This is a cardinal principle.

To be continued..

 

146.  System of the World. Part four

 

 

We were discussing that you have to invite God in your life.

 

How do you invite God in your life? By praying to Him. You have to beg God again and again. He may or may not grant your prayer. But if you are earnest in your desire to reach God (and God will look in your heart), this mote is certain, as certain can be, that He will grant you your prayer. He will transform you. Some people are lucky (because they are ready) and get transformed quickly; otherwise, most often it is a gradual process and may take decades (two or three decades in the case of this mote)

God enters your life, often, in an unobtrusive way. Law of cause and effect is not violated, although there are exceptions. For instance, in the case of Shahab, a letter came from Germany, which was a supernatural event, because the spirit of Fatima (daughter of holy prophet) could not have known the prayer of Shahab (blog 65). There are other examples.

 

The principal that is never violated is that the sanctity of the overall experiment is preserved. The rules of the game are not changed. One is not allowed to interfere in God’s system. Let me give you some examples to illustrate this important point.

               Giri Bala did not eat or drink for fifty six years (blogs 79- 80). Therese Neumann did not eat and drink for twelve years (except for a wafer each day). When Sri Yogananda asked Giri Bala that why didn’t she let the public know her secret of living on air, it would eliminate hunger in the world, she was shocked. Her answer was most revealing. She said it would be against God’s plan.

               A seer learnt the seven winning lottery numbers, one day in advance of drawing, by a spiritual technique (blog 135). He was strongly warned by higher powers, never to do it again. God’s laws, such as hiding the future, are for important reasons. To look into future, without God’s permission, is against God’s plans

               Jesus Christ performed miracles left and right. Why didn’t he (or other powerful mystics like Sri Yukteshwar, Data Sahib) disclose the secrets of making electricity, or a fusion nuclear reactor, or disclose the existence of American Continent, etc. Because, that would have interfered with God’s plans. It would violate the sanctity of the experiment.

               I used to wonder in the past (I don’t anymore) that why don’t Data Sahib, the highest saint of Pakistan, help the inhabitants of Lahore in a major way (Blog 62-63). He helps in the form of daily free food for hundreds. Perhaps few dozen are helped, monetarily, each day. In a city of 6-7 million, and in a country of 190 million, these efforts seem to be very insufficient. I used to wonder, why doesn’t he eradicate the basic problem of poverty, and thus help millions. Perhaps he could do that. He could provide the secret of cheap solar energy, or to produce rain on demand, or reveal a cheap way to convert sea water into fresh water. I don’t wonder anymore, because he is not allowed to do so. It would interfere with the basic premise of the experiment, that human beings should progress ( or regress, as in the case of 16 centuries of stagnation in human thought from Greek period to Renaissance ) on their own.

 

Before we proceed any further we must address what is meant by supernatural. Miracles are supernatural events, because they apparently do not obey the existing laws of nature. They may yet obey some other undiscovered laws of nature.

 

 It is clear that there are souls. I have provided ample evidence (107-110). Now how do we explain souls scientifically? We simply cannot. A dead body is no different from an inanimate object like a lump of coal or a cup. Brain disintegrates after death. I suppose if we were to ask this question to Mr Einstein who reportedly did not believe in God, after showing him a soul and convincing him that there is life after death in the form of souls, he might have answered in the following way. “There must be physical laws governing the existence of soul forms, just as there are laws which govern the visible universe. It is just that we have not yet discovered those laws. After those laws are discovered the explanation will be very simple. Think, how our ability to predict solar eclipse to a second, might appear to a man living thousands of years before Christ. Or what would he think of a man walking on the street talking in a few inches long cellular telephone to another person who may be thousands of miles away, and only the recipient, out of 7 billion inhabitants of earth, can hear him. Think of a bird pecking at his own reflection in a mirror, a reflection that looks and moves like real.  Soul may be like a reflection in a mirror, both real and unreal, but obeying the laws of nature.”

 

To be continued

 

 

 

 

147.  System of the World. Part Five

 

 

We were discussing the ways by which God intervenes in human affairs.

 

b) Major way. When He interferes with human development and history. Take the example of prophet Muhammadpbuh. I have chosen prophet Muhammadpbuh because his first encounter with a disembodied entity was very dramatic, and he told it to so many people and it is mentioned in Koran also. And the event did not take place in remote past but in 7th century, in a cave in Saudi Arabia. The historical evidence is fairly authentic. But, I could have chosen Jesus or Moses, except that there is no account of Jesus accosted by God or His deputies, and encounter of Moses with, allegedly God, was close to 3500 to 4000 years ago­­­____ a long time ago, we may have received a distorted account.

 

 

  “One day suddenly the Truth descended upon him while he was in the cave of Hira. The angel came to him and asked him to read. The Prophet (pbuh) replied, “I do not know how to read.” The Prophet (pbuh) added, “The angel caught me (forcefully) and pressed me so hard that I could not bear it any more. He then released me and again asked me to read and I replied, “I do not know how to read.” Thereupon he caught me again and pressed me a second time until I could not bear it any more. He then released me and again asked me to read but again I replied, “I do not know how to read (or what shall I read)?” Thereupon he caught me for the third time and pressed me, and then released me
and said, “Read in the name of your Lord, who has created (all that exists), has created man from a clot. Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous.'“(96):1-3.

Then Allah's Apostle (pbuh) returned
with the Inspiration and with his heart beating severely. He went to his wife, Khadijah and said, “Cover me!” she covered him until his fear was over. After that he told her everything that had happened and said, “I fear that something may happen to me.” Khadijah replied, “Never! By Allah, Allah will never disgrace you. You keep good relations with your kith and kin, help the poor and the destitute, serve your guests generously and assist the deserving people afflicted with
calamities.”

Khadijah then accompanied him to her cousin Waraqah Ibn Nawfal, who, during the pre-Islamic period became a Christian. Khadijah said to Waraqah, “Listen to the story of your nephew, O my cousin!”

Waraqah asked, “O my nephew! What have you seen?” Allah's Apostle described that which he had seen. Waraqah said, “This is the one who keeps the secrets (angel
Gabriel) whom Allah had sent to Moses. I wish I were young and could live until the time when your people will turn you out.” Allah's Apostle asked, “Will they drive me out?” Waraqah replied in the affirmative. After a few days Waraqah died and the Divine Inspiration also paused for a while.”

 

               Source: www.christianforums.com/t7258400

 

This mote thinks that God, through His deputy, intervened in a major way in human history that day, and also in the case of Moses, because his account of the first encounter is similar to that of prophet Muhammadpbuh; confusion, fear and chills.

 

God might have intervened at critical junctures in the case of origin of life on planet earth. Early snowfall in the winter of 1941, did contribute to German defeat in Second World War. Imagine the world history for the next thousand years if Nazi Germany had won. Many biologists think that life could not have erupted on earth without a Designer and DNA molecule is too complex to have originated just at random, as if the first watch was made by a blind watchmaker.

 

To be continued

 

 

 

148.  System of the World. Part Six

 

This leads us to a paradox: On one hand mankind is supposed to develop on their own, without outside interference, on the other hand glaring examples of divine intervention. No doubt is left in the mind of the participants (like prophet Muhammadpbuh, Giri Bala, and Therese Neumann) and the people around them, that this is the finger of God doing it, because the two women lived on air for years, for everybody to see. God is supposed to be hidden. Why manifest Himself by miracles?

 

I do not know the answer, but I can try.

 

God intervenes in a major and a minor way due to His three eminent qualities. I have picked these three, in a litany of others, with some consideration. These are Goodness, Mercy, and His desire that people should appreciate Him, and if possible love Him.

 

Goodness. The proof of His goodness is that when He intervenes in a major way through prophets like Moses, Jesus, Muhammadpbuh, Buddha, Krishna, the ensuing teaching is to love the fellow man. To create a good society. All the preaching of prophets and mystics, inspired by God, is to do good and make the society better.

Mercy. Although He appears indifferent, but He is merciful. If a society becomes selfish, a major reformer, like Jesus, is sent. Here is a thoughtful verse in Gita, the Hindu scripture: Lord Krishna (human incarnation of God, according to Hindu religion) said;

 

“Whenever dharma (Divine way) declines and the purpose of life is forgotten, I manifest myself on earth. I am born in every age to protect the good, to destroy evil, and to re-establish dharma.”

                                                                                                                                  The Bhagvad Gita. 4:7-8

Why would God take the trouble of helping if not from mercy?

 

Consider the two prayers of Mufti Sahib (blog 112). He begged God to help him in feeding his guests. Prayer was immediately answered. Money was provided. His other request was for helping him to spend Eid with his family. Again his request was granted, and money came through the hands of a stranger. The person who wept so much that skin under his eyes broke down.  He importuned God for a huge debt relief (blog 112). His request was granted. All these three episodes denote mercy. Out of all the qualities of God, this mote, appreciates His mercy the most.

 

To be appreciated if not loved: When Jesus was asked what the most important commandment was, he replied; to love God.

There is something in God which is attracted towards the people who love Him. The person, who loves Him without any reward, and without any answer (from Him), is indeed rare. Because it is very difficult to love somebody which is just an idea in the mind in the form of infinite expanse of empty space; Dionysius the Areopagite gave it the name of Divine Darkness. It is difficult to love a concept. To love Goodness, Justice and Beauty. It is much easier if there was a human form to love, such as Jesus, Muhammadpbuh, Buddha, Krishna, and Ram, or an object such as Kaaba ( the holiest site of Islam ).

 

2. What is the purpose of life? I don’t know.

 

3. Is God personal or impersonal? By personal God is meant that He is approachable. He has human qualities such as joy, sadness, love, and justice. Requests can be sent to Him as supplications. He takes interests in the affairs of the world. And finally, he interferes in the world.

 

By impersonal God it is meant that He is somewhere, far, alone, absorbed in Himself. Nobody can reach Him. He is not aware of the affairs of this world.

 

He is neither happy nor unhappy

He is neither angry nor jealous

He is neither just nor unjust

He is neither merciful nor cruel

He does not love or hate

He is neither good nor bad

 

From my own personal experience and from centuries of mystical thought, I am certain, as certain can be, that God is personal. To experience Him, one has to invite Him in one’s life. As I have said earlier, this is a cardinal principal. I have narrated so many incidents of His (or His deputies) interventions in blogs 102-112, that there is no doubt left of a personal God.

 

But part of God is impersonal. Unapproachable.

 

The only fact which is still unclear is that what if all these instances of miracles, answering of prayers, prophecies, spirits of dead connoting life after death, are perpetrated by His deputies and not by Him? He may be remote and unattached to this world. It is an unanswerable question, but it does not bother me at all, because the system under which these deputies operate has been created by God, and all the prophets and thousands of mystics have said the same thing ( except Buddha ), on rooftops, at peril of life. These systems, such as spirits of bygone human beings, (trillions of them, over millions of years) and life after death, are huge systems. They cannot be created by humans, since they predate them. The spirits could not have developed spontaneously, because brain, like the rest of body, disintegrates.

 

Therefore, God is both personal and impersonal. The great saint Sri Ramakrishna said that impersonal and personal God cannot be separated; they are the same, like milk and its whiteness.

This mote thinks that the Holy Spirit in Christianity is based on the same principle; it is the kinetic energy of God.­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­_____________________________________________________________________________________

(1) Dionysius the Areopagite, ‘De Mystica Theologia’. Taken from the book, ‘Mysticism’ by Evelyn Underhill

 

 

149. Development and critique of religious thought. Part one.

 

I respect all religions, but believe in none. I think that the religions are outdated now. Moral conscience of the society has sufficiently developed. Today is the epoch of secular humanism, which this mote believes (in my case, with the addition of fervent love of God and to reach Him through mysticism).

 

The religions arose to fulfill the needs of a particular society at a particular time in human history.

Why did man need religion? I have written about it in various blogs (33, 36, and 98). Let me repeat them over here.

Human beings saw a flat, stationary earth.  Sun and moon rose in the East and set in the West. Stars filled the sky. Sunlight permeated the day and the moonlight suffused the night. Cool breeze in a hot summer day was delightful. There was a pregnant pause at dawn and dusk, as if the whole universe was holding its breath. There was joy in watching the children play. There were myriad plants and animals. Rain came to nurture the harvest. Fragrant flowers attracted butterflies. Each season came with its own delights. Beautiful snowfall in the winter, and fragrant flowers in the spring. There were blue lagoons, winding rivers and deep oceans. Clouds scudded the blue sky. Fish swam in the water and birds soared in the air. Cows and horses roamed in the pastures and camels in the deserts. Bees supplied them with honey and quadrupeds with meat and milk. Man was filled with wonder.  Everything moved with precision. Just as a house could not develop by itself, somebody had to make it; similarly, the world had to be made by somebody. The thought of the grand universe making itself never came in the imagination of humans. There had to be a creator of the universe.

 

Against such beauty and grandeur, there was ugliness. There was great suffering and injustice.

 

Famines were common. Just few years of drought were sufficient to cause them in ancient times. Hundreds of thousands of people would die, including women and children. Tsunamis, floods, hurricanes and earthquakes would wipe out hundreds of villages and towns. There was the constant misery of epidemics of smallpox, plague, malaria, cholera and many other such diseases. Childhood sicknesses and birthing problems killed hundreds of thousands each year. Most of the globe suffered from chronic malnourishment in the poor.

Then there were the problems created by human beings themselves, such as poverty, wars and slavery. The dark ages had cruel kings like Tamerlane and Genghis Khan who would construct towers of heads. Last century had unprecedented number of deaths by the hands of Hitler, Stalin, Hutus and Pol Pot.

 

The problem of misery and injustice has plagued philosophers and religious scholars for over two thousand years. The ancient Greek philosopher, Epicurus posed what is now called Epicurean Paradox

 

“God is omnipotent, God is good, but Evil exists”

"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?"

It was more natural to think that sufferings could not be explained by religious arguments, so human beings thought about it and tried to reconcile the 3 powerful observations, which were before them. Those 3 observations were the following:

 

(A) Huge universe is present, and could not have possibly arisen, on its own.  

(B)There is lot of suffering

 (C) People do good things and bad things. Cruel or bad persons are not necessarily punished, in fact they may have a great life, and the good are not necessarily rewarded.

 

Since it was obvious and unalterable fact (to them) that there was a God, the need was to reconcile it with the second observation, the suffering. The logical answer would have been that God was not such a kind entity; in fact He appeared to be downright cruel. Even under the best circumstances He had to be indifferent and uncaring. So the wise men convinced themselves that there must be a life after death where justice will eventually be done. And to explain the bad deeds in the presence of omnipotent God, the Devil (Satan) had to be invented (bad deeds were the work of Satan and not of God). Hindu religion used a different theory: ‘Your sufferings are due to the misdeeds done by you in previous lives’. Oppressed people needed these dogmas, because that way of thinking gave them strength and eased their burden in three ways:  First, because they may think that their suffering  was due to God’s will, so it must be good, since God is good. And religion taught unquestioned surrender to God. Secondly, they may think that there may be a hidden benefit in the present calamity ( there is a silver lining in most clouds). And, through these trials, there may be an improvement in the better part of one’s nature. Who were they to question God’s wisdom? He knew better. Thirdly, if they were not rewarded here, then God’s justice made it absolutely certain that they will be rewarded in the next life.

 

To be continued.


 

  150. Development and critique of religious thought. Part two

 

 

With these subterfuges God was still good and powerful and had nothing to do with the suffering. There was a third argument that suffering was not really suffering, but an illusion of suffering, because this was a transitional period; universe was proceeding towards a noble goal, therefore some pain had to be borne.

 

Still it did not explain animal suffering by a kind God.  Also it did not explain the suffering of children born with diseases, such as HIV: AIDS, or disabilities, such as blindness (because it was not their fault. They had not yet lived long enough on earth to commit sins)

 

And, how about bad people having a good life? The answer to that was that these people will be judged and punished on judgment day. But that brought in the question of free will vs. fate, which is an unsolvable contradiction. In other words, it was not their fault; because even if they had free will (and not preordained results) it still boiled down to how much free will they really had, because a lot depended on their inherited genes or their early environments, none of them was in their own control (I have already discussed this problem in nine blogs, 134-142)

 

Before I proceed further, I must state what all religions (except Buddhism) believe;

 

(1). Religious scriptures are either literally word of God (as Quran) or inspired by Him, as Bible and Torah. Therefore no alteration in the religious tenets or religious beliefs is allowed, because they are derived from the Holy Books. They are perfect.

(2) The followers of every religion think that their religion is the best, the others have some defect. The other religions are either outdated, like an old edition of a textbook, or polluted over the ages, so that the original teaching has been lost.

(3). All religions teach that each member should perform good deeds and avoid bad deeds, such as stealing,  looting, murder, or coveting one’s neighbor’s wife. These teachings appeal to common sense because they would be good for the tribe.

(4) All religions teach that one should be good to others. If one is good to others, the others are reciprocally, good to him. Again, very good for tribal society.

 

Apart from all these good points, there were still philosophic problems with religions:

 

 (a) Satan appeared to be a human invention; to explain the evil. How could Satan be so powerful, almost as powerful as God Himself? Why did He make Satan and why did He allow Satan to put people on wrong path? If Satan was created to test people, why should God be testing people (how they will react to adversities?) when He should know the result beforehand, after all He is the All- Knowing God? Is suffering due to deeds in the previous lives? If so, how about poor animals who undergo suffering.  Why such cruelty in animal kingdom? The theory of suffering due to sins of previous lives breaks down in case of animals because they have no concept of sin.

(b) Why so many religions (and not one religion), which differ with each other in their instructions to mankind ( Hindus worship cow, Muslims eat cow; as founder of Pakistan, Jinnah, famously said ), and thus cause doubt over their authenticity and cause strife amongst human beings? Why did God not give clear instructions to mankind in some unambiguous fashion?

(c) The universe was so big and an individual was so small, that it did not appeal to common sense that He was going to concern Himself into looking into what every lowly person was doing (as most religions proclaim will happen on Judgment Day).

 

After considering all that I have written above, I decided not to follow any religion. The moral compass of an enlightened modern man should be sufficiently developed, that he should not need the crutch of religion. Belief in God is an entirely different matter. One should not confuse God with religion. One can believe in God without believing in any religion, as most secular humanists (like this writer) do, and one can believe in a religion and not believe in God, as most Buddhists do.

 

 What makes the moral compass in us? It is the mother (to a greater degree), father (to a lesser degree), the nuns in Catholic Schools, teachers in general, fellow students, books, films, and the society in general. I have talked to several people who got their education in Catholic Schools. They told me that the nuns were a great role model; here were women who had given up everything and accepted chastity, poverty and obedience, for the sake of God. They taught that one should love and obey God and help other human beings. One should not lie, rob, cheat, or steal. I am a great supporter of religion. Core base of morality in human society has partially originated from religion, and partially because the innate value of many practices such as not to steal, rob or kill, not to covet neighbor’s wife, were beneficial to the tribal society. The mission schools and hospitals in 19th and 20th century spread light and helped the sick and downtrodden masses in the world. This mote went to a missionary run college. My mother took a 5 hour journey, from a village, by train, to go to a Holy Family hospital in a city, to undergo serious abdominal surgery. What could she have done if there were no nearby hospital where she could have had surgery? It would be fair to assume that, in the last two hundred years, events like these must have happened to hundreds of thousands of individuals in Asia and Africa. I think critics of missionary activities in colonial period wrongly consider that these activities were just a cloak to spread Christianity. Yes, spreading Christianity was their mission, but helping the indigenous population was also their mission. The two missions were not mutually exclusive.

 

To be continued

 

151. Development and critique of religious thought. Part three

 

 

 To understand the good that the religion has done, let us compare the Island of Tahiti before and after missionaries came and spread Christianity. They reformed the place. Here is an account of Darwin in 1835, when he visited the island, and the history of arrival of missionaries:

 

On 5 March 1797, representatives of the London Missionary Society landed at Point Venus (Mahina) on board HMS Duff, with the intention of saving the native populations from paganism. The arrival of these missionaries marked a new turning point for the island of Tahiti, having a lasting impact on the local culture.

Excerpts from the Diary entry of Darwin:

November 20th. 1835—………….

 

 I was very anxious to form, from my own observation, a judgment of their moral

State……… (Darwin had read) that the Tahitians had become a gloomy race, and lived in fear of the missionaries. Of the latter feeling I saw no trace, unless, indeed, fear and respect be confounded under one name. Instead of discontent being a common

Feeling, it would be difficult in Europe to pick out of a crowd half so many merry and happy faces.

 

The prohibition of the flute and dancing is inveighed against as wrong and foolish; — the more than Presbyterian manner of keeping the Sabbath is looked at in a similar light. …….

On the whole, it appears to me that the morality and religion of the inhabitants are highly creditable

 

There are many who attack, even more acrimoniously than Kotzebue, the missionaries, their system, and the effects produced by it. Such reasoners never compare the present state with that of the island only twenty years ago; nor even with that of Europe at this day; but they compare it with the high standard of Gospel perfection. They expect the missionaries to affect that which the Apostles themselves failed to do. Inasmuch as the condition of the people falls short of this high standard, blame is attached to the missionary, instead of credit for that which he has affected. They forget, or will not remember, that human sacrifices, and the power of an idolatrous priesthood — a system of profligacy (shamelessly immoral or debauched) unparalleled in any other part of the world — infanticide a consequence of that system — bloody wars, where the conquerors spared neither women nor children — that all these have been abolished; and that dishonesty, intemperance, and licentiousness have been greatly reduced by the introduction of Christianity. In a voyager to forget these things is base ingratitude; for should he chance to be at the point of shipwreck on some unknown coast, he will most devoutly pray that the lesson of the missionary may have extended thus far.

 

In point of morality, the virtue of the women, it has been often said, is most open to exception. But before they are blamed too severely, it will be well distinctly to call to mind the scenes described by Captain Cook and Mr. Banks, in which the grandmothers

And mothers of the present race played a part. Those who are most severe, should consider how much of the morality of the women in Europe is owing to the system early impressed by mothers on their daughters, and how much in each individual

case to the precepts of religion. But it is useless to argue against such reasoners; —I believe that, disappointed in not finding the field of licentiousness quite so open as formerly, they will not give credit to a morality which they do not wish to practice, or

to a religion which they undervalue, if not despise.

 

Bloody wars, human sacrifices, idolatry, shameless immorality of women were abolished in Tahiti.

 

My main quarrel (amongst many) with religions is their intolerance. Each religion is considered the latest and final word of God. So many wars have been fought in the name of religion, countless persons have died. Even as I write these lines (July 2014), Muslims, Hindus, Christians and Jews are fighting with each other.  There are not many countries in the world where there is no threat of terrorism, or terrorist attacks have not taken place, in the name of religion ( and in some cases, the sects of same religion fighting with each other ); USA, Russia, China, France, UK, Spain, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Nigeria, Somalia, Kenya, Chad, Mali, Algeria, Libya, Indonesia, Malaysia, Burma Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Iraq, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Israel, Palestinian Lands, Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt, are some of the examples.

Critics may say that I have let go religions too lightly. I did not mention their numerous defects, especially some of their wrong teachings, even if we disregard the practices. A tree should be judged by its fruit. If intolerance and bigotry are the hallmarks of the fervent followers of most religions, then why blame the followers and exculpate the religions? It is the teachings which produced the followers. Critics are right. I have purposely avoided it, due to two considerations: When I write, I ask myself two questions ?

               Is this writing appropriate for a spiritual blog?

               Does it bring harmony or strife amongst human beings?

My criticism of the teaching and practices of various religions will not bring human beings closer but split them further apart.

 

I must mention my two conclusions regarding social role of religion. I have thought about it for some time.

 

1. Religion should have no role in government. In other words, in the old debate of church and state, I consider that the two should be separate. Religion is a personal matter between an individual and God.

 

2. In order for religion to maintain relevancy in the next thousands of years, it must learn to innovate and adapt. Rigidity, which was its greatest strength in surviving the upheaval of science and technology, is also its greatest weakness. Scholars of all Middle East religions attempt to explain those writings of their Holy Books which contradict science and common sense by interpreting them in novel ways so that they are in accord with modern age ( one can derive any meaning from scriptures, by giving new meaning to the words ; a day can be one day or a million years ) . These attempts are laughable; for instance, does anyone really believe that Eve was created from the rib of Adam? All such attempts are bound to fail. To this mote, the answer is simple; People, ideologies, culture, books, almost everything, should be judged in the context of their times. During the Vietnam War soldiers in uniform were mocked with anti- war slogans, and called baby killers, in many streets of America. Now the same soldiers are held in high esteem, because they answered the call of their country.

People were given examples, by prophets, which they could readily understand. Raging fires of hell were contrasted with green gardens, trees with fruits , beautiful women and cool canals of heaven.

Don’t apply twenty first century standards on books, ideologies and people who lived hundreds and thousands of years ago.

 

 

 

 

 

152. TWO BOOKS ON GOD (part one)

 

 

I have recently read two books on God. One is ‘Tlash, (means Search)’ by Uxi Mufti, and the other ‘Why science does not disprove God’ by Amir Aczel. Here are my impressions. First about Tlash.

 

This book is written in Urdu language, and is actually a translation of the original book, "Measuring the Intangible”. Mr Mufti is a psychologist and a Pakistani folklorist. He is also the author of many books and winner of many awards. The author must have been studying God for decades, because when he was studying in Prague in late sixties, the title of his thesis was ‘a scientific hypothesis of God’. At that time he did not complete the development of a scientific hypothesis, but now, in this book he claims that he has. So what is the hypothesis?

             The hypothesis is that God can be proven by His ninety-nine names. These names are mentioned in Quran, the holy book which, according to Muslim belief, is the word of God Himself, and revealed to His prophet, in pieces, over years. Each name denotes a quality of God. For instance the name AL-Raheem, means, the Compassionate; Al-Jabbar means, the Almighty; Al-Muntaqim means the Avenger; and so on.

 

In the book, is there any proof or evidence regarding the truth of this hypothesis?

 

None.

 

The author supports his hypothesis by the following arguments:

 

1. Since these names of God are taken from Quran, and Quran is the word of God, therefore there has to be a God.

This argument has of no value to the Non-Muslims

 

2. The premise is based on two very authentic traditions; one is of Imam Tirmidhi, a famous ninth century Islamic scholar, and the other a prayer called Ganj-ul-arsh (I had great trouble understanding what was meant by Ganj-ul-arsh. The book itself does not explain it. First I thought it was a book.). If his hypothesis was authenticated by these two, he should have at least provided a text of the documents; there is none. Unfortunately, the book lacks an index, which would have helped the reader to find out if the author had explained them somewhere else in the book. 

Again, this argument has of no value to Non-Muslims, and even to many Muslim. Just because someone says that God can be scientifically supported by His names, does not make it so. All Muslims and followers of other religions (except Buddhists) believe in God, just by faith.

 

3. In the “introduction” the author states, that some experimental support of this hypothesis will be provided in the second part of this book. I searched diligently, because that would have been the clincher, but there was none. 

 

A great part of the book is spent on explaining the properties of the ninety nine names of God. The entity of God possesses these ninety nine qualities, amongst hundreds of other qualities, because He has hundreds of other names also. Thus He emerges as a possessor of enormous powers and qualities. Some of the properties are opposite to each other, but the author claims, that it is the nature of God, and of the whole universe, like the positive and negative poles of electricity. He is Restrainer as well as Extender; the Humiliator and Downgrader as well as the Exalter, the Upgrader..

 

Even if we accept at face value all the qualities of God, as accorded to Him by the ninety nine names, it tells us what God would look like, if there was a God. It does not prove or attempts to prove that there is a God.

 

It is as if there was a myth that somewhere there exists a building which holds all the treasures of the world. The building has ninety-nine doors. Each door has a name (ruby, sapphire, diamond, gold, etc) and leads to a room which contains the treasure mentioned by the name of the door. Nobody has seen this building and nobody knows its location. If somebody claims that the knowledge of the names proves that there is such a building, we will not accept his claim, unless he provides some proof. Mere saying is not evidence. One of the famous scientists of all times, Charles Darwin claimed that species change and evolve. His grandfather, Erasmus Darwin said the same thing and wrote a book named Zoonomia . Nobody paid him any mind, because he was an armchair theoretician, with no data. Whereas Charles, undertook an almost five years voyage around the world and collected specimens of plants, animal and rocks. He collected more data for another twenty years. He then published his theory, which was substantiated with immense data.

 

The book deals with quantum physics and spirituality. When I review the second book I will discuss how quantum physics has been used as an alternative hypothesis to the theory of creationism (that the universe was created by God). Its mention in this book points towards the erudition of the author, but adds nothing (rather subtracts) to his central hypothesis

 

The best part of this book, which I heartily support, is his advocacy of Sufism (mysticism) as a way of experiencing Reality. He admonishes science not to disregard mysticism. Just as science is based on experiments, so is mysticism. Mystics experiment every day, in the form of hours of meditation for decades. What he/she sees and experiences cannot be demonstrated to others, but it can be replicated. As we know replication is a necessity for validation of any theory. The techniques have been passed from teachers to disciples for over 2-3 thousand years.

 

The book is difficult to read and understand. But it is a noble and sincere effort. It fails in its objective because God cannot be proven by science. God also cannot be proven by religion or philosophy. Ordinary knowledge in the form of scholarly pursuits is useless. God can only be realized by practicing mysticism. The path is open to all creeds, even to a secular humanist like me.

 

To be continued

 

 

 

153. Shah Sahib. Part one

 

A man of God, died last week.

 

He was called Shah Sahib. His original name was Noor Alam. My brother first met him a few years ago in Data Durbar (the popular name of the shrine in Lahore, Pakistan, of Data Gunj Bakhash, , also called Data Sahib, an 11th century mystic). At that time my brother was very sick. He was vomiting blood and had abdominal pain. He fell down in streets couple of times and was taken to a hospital. He was diagnosed with cancer (although that part is not documented). One day he met a durvesh (Muslim ascetic) in Data Durbar. He brought some food for the durvesh. The durvesh said do you have cancer? My brother replied in affirmative. The durvesh said that in a far flung area a Qalander lives; only he has the ability to cure you. That durvesh was Shah Sahib. My brother took that journey, and met the Great Mystic (see Foreword to book 2, blog 53), who cured him.

 

On his second visit to the Great Mystic, the Mystic enquired about the health of Shah Sahib. That shows that the mystic not only knew Shah Sahib but held him in great regard.

 

When my brother had his meeting with the yogi who always wore dark glasses (blog 64), Shah Sahib knew, on his own, that my brother had met the yogi. He is the one who told my brother that the yogi’s glance can burn.

 

On one occasion, he told my brother that he spent many years in mountains of Kashmir with his spiritual guide.

 

Shah Sahib read Part one of my books. His remark to my brother was that nobody will know anything about Islamic mysticism from this book. He said it not in a critical way but in a sad way. I did not know anything about Islamic mysticism; therefore I had briefly mentioned the little that I knew in one blog (blog 32).  It was his remark that prompted me to read more about Islamic mysticism which resulted in several blogs in parts 2, 3, and 4.

 

Shah Sahib read part 2 of my book. My brother told him that I wanted his impressions about part 2. First he was amazed at the notion that I wanted his opinion. He said, “It is a very good book. He has understood mysticism correctly (blogs 93-95). He should not worry about other people’s opinion. He has this duty, he should just do it.”

 

I made a tape of the Urdu translation of some of my poems and recorded them in my own voice. I told my brother to ask Shah Sahib if he would want to listen to them. He said “off course, I want to listen to them, but in private. Give me two hours.” They were in Data Durbar. When my brother came back he found Shah Sahib in Juzzab (smadhi).

Here are excerpts from my recent notes:

 

10/17/14.  Shah Sahib is very sick. He is likely to die. He has diarrhea. This is his second such illness. On his previous sickness he stayed with my brother. My brother looked after him. He washed Shah Sahib’s soiled clothes himself, instead of giving them to a servant for washing, because the servant may have felt repugnance.

He is not eating anything. He was sick prior to coming to Lahore, but he insisted to coming to Data Durbar, as if he wanted to say goodbye. He is staying with somebody else but it is my brother who is looking after him for the last 5-6 days. He told his life story for the first time.

 

He was born near Pakputtan. His name is Noor Alam. Both his parents died when he was a child. He had an elder brother who wanted him to become a laborer, but Shah Sahib wanted to study. He was in fifth grade at that time. He left the house and came to Pakputtan and lived there for several years, because there was free food available in the famous shrine over there. He did kitchen work (washing dishes, etc) in a hotel and also studied. He passed his matriculation (10th grade) examination in 1970, by getting about 550 marks.

He saw the people around the shrine and became disenchanted with them because they were frauds and cheats. He hated the residents over there because they preyed upon the gullible villagers.

 

He moved to Lahore and settled near Data Durbar, because there was free food available at the shrine. There, also, he saw deceit, but to a lesser degree. He bought some books and studied. He prepared for F.A. examination. A leader of the Shrine Trust noticed him. He was touched by his zeal for education and his poverty. He gave him a room in the Shrine. One day he was sick, and the exam was very close. As he was weeping, a holy person came to him and did a daam(a spiritual prayer for healing ). He got well the next day. He passed his F.A (12th grade) in 1972. He gravitated towards that holy person, who guided him towards spirituality.

 

To be continued

 

154. Shah Sahib. Part Two

 

 

 

 

 

In 1978, he got a spiritual reward. That meant he had been noticed by God. In 1980 he was given some reward by Data Sahib. Since 1970 he has been established in Data Sahib and that holy man (who is deceased now).

In 2002, he had a tremendous advancement. He received what he had always wished. He had the vision of God’s light. Now, he has become so advanced that when he closes his eyes he can see the light very soon. It is a bright light. It has a second quality that it gives Shah Sahib peace.

My brother asked him whether he had ever opened his eyes, while he was seeing the light. Shah Sahib replied “No. I know by my own knowledge that if I open my eyes, either I will go blind or die, because nobody can see God”(see footnote )

 My brother enquired, “Are you aware of time and space when you are with this light?”

Shah Sahib smiled and replied, “How can one be aware of anything when one is with God? If you are aware, then you are not with God. The light lasts for 10-20 minutes, and then one comes back to his surroundings.”

 

He said he has only followed the path of Sufism (follow the Shariat), and not that of Qalanders (independent of Shariat).

 He said that the path towards God is very difficult. The path of Qalandars is even more difficult than that of Sufis. He said to Riaz that “you are a very rare person who is close to the practitioners of both paths (because of approval from both Data sahib, a sufi, and Baba lal Shah, a Qalandar, see blog 63)”. He talked about me and said “Whatever duty he is given, he should keep on doing it. It is true that he got less time, but that must have been God’s will”.  On another occasion he had said that spiritual powers helped your brother in his journey.

My brother said that he has been told several other things, which he cannot divulge to me.

Shah Sahib said that he can receive messages from others, but he does not have the capability to transmit messages. The spirit of Daata Sahib has communicated to him many times. He said that to communicate with the spirits of dead people, needs a separate and different technique and knowledge, which Sufis should not learn.

 

Shah Sahib said a strange thing, that persons who are on God’s path are closely monitored. My brother asked, that the fire which burnt his building (see footnote), and his recent rickshaw accident in which he broke his clavicle ), were they ordained by God, or just natural, random, events? Shah Sahib said they were not random natural events. My brother said that then how do you explain that 15-16 innocent persons died in the fire. Shah Sahib said what is death to God? ( see footnote three )

 

My brother said that the face of Shah Sahib was shining and radiant with spiritual glow. He could discern a halo around his face.

 

Shah Sahib now lives in a small village near Sahiwal, called Saywa, where he helps people with daam.

Shah Sahib decided to go back to his home. A berth was reserved in the train. My brother accompanied him in the journey. Shah Sahib did not allow him to go all the way to his village. He put him in a horse driven carriage.

 

11/4/2014. Today I talked to my brother. Shah Sahib died 3-4 days ago. My brother received a message from somebody to go to Shah Sahib’s village immediately. Meanwhile a man from village also arrived. When my brother arrived at the village, Shah Sahib was still alive. Shah Sahib said ‘I was waiting for you. My time has come. I can no longer see the Light of God on closing my eyes. This vhachowra (separation) is unbearable.’ My brother could still see the halo around Shah Sahib’s face.

Shah Sahib said to him ‘I am not in a position to give you any gift. Tell your brother (Mkadk) that God likes tearful prayers.  He should beg God with tears (as if I have not shed enough tears).’

 

Shah Sahib had called for the headman of the village. His special disciple was also present. He told my brother to give Shah Sahib’s handkerchief to the special disciple. He also told my brother that after his death he should be buried as soon as possible, and my brother should lead the prayer of the dead (Namaz-a-jinnaza). My brother told him that he has never lead a prayer, but Shah Sahib did not listen to his plea. He said to the special disciple “He ( my brother ) is your superior, never disobey him. I am giving you these three orders/advices: always speak truth; don’t prey upon the visitors who will come here, all of you ( there were 5-6 disciples/hanger-on’s) will have enough for your needs; you ( the disciple ) give the final wash to my dead body.” Shah Sahib told my brother to leave his books intact in the room and to bury him in the coffin which was there in the room. He added, ‘there is small amount of money also. Pay the grave-diggers from that money. If any money is left, distribute it amongst the disciples.’

 Shah Sahib soon died. He recited Kalma (the first and foremost tenet of Islam) before his death and said something like ‘Molah (God) I am coming’, or similar words.

 

60-70 persons attended the Namaz-a-jinnaza. The headman gave some sketchy details of Shah Sahib. He said “Shah Sahib arrived 10-15 years ago. He was sitting, and was oblivious of his surroundings. The villagers recognized that he was a majzoob (a person who is in a state of juzzab, or absorbed in God).  They looked after him. Once an important person’s daughter became very sick. Shah Sahib cured her. That man gave this piece of land to Shah Sahib, where eventually two rooms were built. He would disappear from time to time ( presumably went to the shrines at Pakputtan and Lahore). His fame spread and supplicants started coming.”

 

To be continued

 

155. Shah Sahib. Part Three

 

 

11/14/14. I talked to my brother today. He gave the following news:

When he was in train with Shah Sahib, he asked Shah Sahib whether he ever had any doubts about Islam.  Shah Sahib replied, “How can I even have an iota of doubt about Islam, when I found the light of Allah through Islam. One can reach God through different paths and creeds (same thing which Great Mystic of Khyber Pass, Yogi from India, Sri Ramakrishna, and the Baba from Saudi Arabia had said)”. He said that the study of the life of Prophet Muhammadpbuh cannot be done without the study of Hadith ( sayings of the Prophet), because his life was not a secret. It was open. He lived with his companions, and had been observed by 20-25 thousands Muslims. Some of them had known him since he was a young man. Most of the Hadiths are reliable. Certain aspects of his life, like marriages, have been criticized. So be it.

 

Shah Sahib said a great thing, which delighted my heart. He said he respects other religions too. They are true also. It is just that the followers of the religions distort the message. However, the followers of each religion must follow their commandments faithfully, like doing good, and helping others. Thus Shah Sahib did not insist that Islam is the best, and the only true creed, a cause of so much bloodshed and intolerance.

The other day my brother was sitting in Data Durbar when a man approached him. He said are you Mr. …….? My brother replied in affirmative. He said last night he had a dream. In the dream a venerable person appeared and said “ Go to Data Durbar. There will be a person, ………, wearing white dress. Give him five hundred thousand rupees. So here are five hundred thousand rupees”. My brother asked him how did the person in the dream look like? That man replied that he could not tell, the features were not clear.

Soon my brother received clear orders from a different source. He learnt that this money is for enclosing the grave of Shah Sahib with a quadrangular wall. It should have two doors, one in the North and the other in the South side. So my brother went to the village of Shah Sahib. He gathered two village elders and the special Disciple. He told them the plan of the wall and gave the Disciple the money. It requires registration of the deed for the land in a Government office. Money was put in a steel safe deposit.

 

This incident tells three things: a special spiritual site at Sayva is being created, already supplicants have started coming. Secondly, that Data Sahib, with the approval of God, takes care of his special disciples even after they die. Through the tomb of Shah Sahib and this mote’s blog, Shah Sahib’s name will be remembered, perhaps for a long time. Thirdly, it means Shah Sahib was no ordinary person.

 

What can I say about the life of Shah Sahib? His life was an embodiment of Sufism, at its best. Never married, lived in poverty, never extended his hand to others. He met his expenses by accepting money from the grateful persons helped by him. Acceptance of such donations is allowed in mysticism, provided the money is given freely (mystics never asks for money, their gift is free) and is small (bigger donations are accepted if many students are attached to the shrine, or if free food is distributed). He even set his own money aside for grave-diggers. He bought his own coffin. He loved God. He got everything through Data Sahib. He helped the sick and the needy that came to him. He was a spiritual guide to my brother and this mote, although I never met him in person. I am honored that he mentioned this mote by name minutes before his death.


I do not know what special powers he had. He could cure some ailments. He had a receiver in his brain to receive messages. He knew of events, such as my brother’s meeting with the yogi from India. He could discern spirituality in others.

The Merciful God rewarded him for his lifelong piety and gave him the great gift of His Light. Such a reward is extremely hard to earn. As St Teresa of Avila (and Brother Lawrence) remarked (see blog78):

“If there is a single thing to which a man clings, it is a sign that he sets some value on it; and if he sets some value upon it, it will naturally distress him to give it up, and so everything will be imperfection and loss (also mentioned in blog 37)”. Probably Shah Sahib was close to that stage.

 

 

Footnote one. Spiritual light is very powerful. Nobody can endure it. Moses fell down unconscious. St Paul fell down from his horse and became blind for three days. A Qalandar who has been my brother’s mentor, and got injured in Data Durbar (blog 64), became oblivious to time and space (Jazzab) for over three weeks.

Footnote two. My brother survived the fire with only the clothes he was wearing. That was the greatest calamity of his life.

Footnote three. This mote has a different interpretation of the incident of fire. The fire occurred due to electric malfunction. It was a natural incident, not ordained by God. But  he was saved by the intercession of spiritual forces. I have called this Minor Interventions in blog 145.

 

 

 

156. TWO BOOKS ON GOD (part two)

 

 

I want to narrate my impressions of the book ‘Why science does not disprove God’ by Amir Aczel. This is not a formal review.

 

The book is an answer to some atheist scientists, notably Richard Dawkins (1) and Lawrence Krauss (2), who claim that since everything can be explained without God, therefore there is no God. These scientists actually do not prove that there is no God. Nobody can and nobody ever will, because it is not true.

 

This is different from some scientists, such as Stephen Hawking (3), who say that God is not necessary to explain the beginning of universe and evolution, but there may be God.

 

 

Since Aczel refutes the arguments made by these scientists, on a compelling scientific basis, I will narrate the main arguments, and Aczel’s reply:

 

1. Universe had to follow quantum rules. The world of Quantum Physics (world at subatomic level) is bizarre, even the greatest mind of last century, Einstein, could not understand it. One of the proposals by Noble laureate Feynman was that if a particle had to travel from point A to point B, it will take all possible paths. Thus, the universe had to do the same because it was like a particle during the Big Bang or a fraction of a second later. This would have resulted in multiple universes, one of them ours. The importance of multiple universes is an extremely important concept of ‘anthropic principle’, which will be discussed later.

Since there is no way to prove or disprove this theory, Aczel did the best he could; he talked to other physicists

 

Aczel’s talked to a particle physicist, Noble laureate Gerald ‘t Hooft, who said ‘ we  still don’t understand at all what truly happens in the world of truly small___ all we have may be shadows on the wall, cast by a mysterious “veiled reality”’

 

Aczel quotes another renowned quantum theorist, D’Espagnat:

“The Veiled Reality conception…merely involves the conception …..(That they) are reflections or traces___ of the great structure of “the Real”

So, people like Hawking, who have taken this theory of one scientist about a particle, to absurd heights, and applied it to universes, have no sense of proportionality and probability.

 

2. Universe arose out of nothing. This is the heart of the case of the atheists. If there is no Creator who created the universe, then the universe somehow had to create itself out of nothing. This mote has discussed this point in great detail in his blog 101.

The construction of their theory involves following steps.

(A). their nothing is not really nothing. It is not a nothing that does not contain anything; absolutely empty. Their nothing is full of energy (derived from quantum foam), force fields (electromagnetic, gravitational), Higgs field, quantum tunneling, and something in which all of these are embedded (what is outside of this something; more something? See footnote)

Where did quantum foam come from? Where did these fields come from? If they came from something, where did that something come from? And so on. At some point, it has to start from real and absolute nothing. Nothing can be created from nothing, what to talk of a whole universe, full of matter, space-time, fields, and energy.

 

Just changing the definition of nothing is a sleight of hand. Real question remains unanswered.

The atheists have a similar argument; who created God? Our answer is that we don’t know. Our small mind is not capable of answering this question, just as a cow cannot learn to read. This mote has tried to answer it (blog113). Can God create things out of nothing? Absolutely.

 

(b). How is energy changed to mass (particles  or matter) to create the universe. This mechanism is called paired production (matched pair of virtual particles; matter and antimatter). It has to be remembered that particles did not arise from nothing but from pre-existing energy.

 

3. Anthropic principle. Simply stated, it says that the universe is the way it is, because if it were otherwise, we humans would not have arisen, to ask these intelligent questions.

 

This is an evasive answer. Penrose calculated that “the chance of intelligent life to arise was 1 followed by 10 raised to the power 117 zeros (if my math is correct it means 1 followed by 117 zeroes)”. This is an extremely small chance. Again quantum physics comes to their rescue with its bizarre rules, because according to it, if anything can happen it will happen.

Instead of explaining how the fundamental laws were so exactly right, for intelligent life to emerge, the atheist just use the ruse that if they were not so finely tuned, we would not be here. Is this a real argument? Or just a lawyerly subterfuge. I will discuss the precision of laws of nature in another section.

 

If there are many universes ( an infinity of universes ), in most of them intelligent life could not emerge because the conditions would not be suitable, but in one of them ( one out of 10117) everything would be exactly right, and we will emerge.

 I quote from Aczel: “If you wanted to test which hypothesis is true, a universe created to specific requirements, or a universe just happens to satisfy the requirements because we observe them, you would find that there is no specific way to determine the answer”

 

To be continued

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­____________________________________________________________________________________

(1) The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins

(2) A universe from Nothing by Lawrence Krauss

(3) The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking

 

 

157. TWO BOOKS ON GOD (part three)

 

 

We had just finished discussing the anthropic principle

 

4. Suitable environments. Everyone knows that in order for life to emerge one needs liquid water, oxygen, a source of energy like sun, and a temperature that is not too hot or too cold. Aczel discusses the consequences of the alteration in the four fundamental forces of nature (gravity, electromagnetism, strong nuclear force and weak nuclear force) and the dark energy. If dark energy (which propels the space and galaxies outwards) was stronger it would not have allowed the galaxies to coalesce, if it were any weaker, gravitational force would have won and collapsed the galaxies. In either case sentient life could not emerge. If gravitational force were any stronger, it would have crushed us. Integrity of atoms could not be maintained if electromagnetic force was different, electrons would not orbit. If electrons won’t orbit, no chemical bonds with other atoms could have formed. No chemicals___no life. If strong nuclear force (which is the most powerful of all forces and due to its attracting power holds the nucleus of an atom together) was any different, quarks would either fly out of nucleus or be crushed. If weak nuclear force had a different value, possibly everything would be radioactive and stars won’t burn____no energy ____ no life.

 

Aczel has provided many more examples. He was most impressed by the precise charge of quarks, a fraction of a second after big-bang, and there gathering in triplets, to form protons and neutrons. Why did they gather in triplets and not doubles or quadruplets? An “up” quark has a 2/3 charge, and a “down” quark has a _1/3 charge. The proton has two up quark and one down quark. Thus the charge of a proton is 2/3 + 2/3_ 1/3 = +1, which is exactly equal to the _ 1 charge of the electron (for electron to circle). In neutrons there are two   down quarks and an up quark. The charge is 2/3-1/3-1/3 = 0. It has no charge.

 

Isn’t God marvelous!

 

I could go on and on. He has mentioned many unsolved riddles. Where did all the antimatter go? What is dark energy? How are the constants of nature derived? (Strength of all electromagnetic interactions is 1/137; gravitational constant is 6.67384 x 10-11)

 

His ideas of evolution and religion are different from that of this mote. I am not going to discuss them. That is why this is not a review of the book, but just my impressions. These are the impressions of a secular humanist who also loves God very passionately.

 

This is a great book. It succeeds in its task of proving that science does not disprove God. This mote has taken the task of proving that there is a God, in my eighteen blogs, 97-114, on the site                                          www.afnta-questforallah.blogspot.com

 

Lastly I want to say again which I have said in the previous blog. God cannot be proven by science, religion or philosophy. Ordinary knowledge in the form of scholarly pursuits is useless. God can only be realized by practicing mysticism. The path is open to all creeds, even to a secular humanist like me.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­____________________________________________________________________________________

(1) The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins

(2) A universe from Nothing by Lawrence Krauss

(3) The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking

 

Footnotes: I quote from my blog 101, “If you ask the scientists, what are these galaxies expanding into - outside the outermost limits of the universe? Is there more empty space? The answers will seem either vague, meaningless or couched with silence and irritability.”

“The law of conservation of energy is a fundamental law of nature and has no exceptions. It states “the total energy of an isolated system cannot change—it is said to be conserved over time. Energy cannot be created or destroyed, but can change form”.  Therefore the total energy pre-Big bang (for this discussion ignore Time. Time started at Big Bang, so truly speaking, there is no before Big Bang ), at Big Bang, 13.8 billion years after Big Bang, and 100 billion years after Big Bang should be the same.                  

But scientists claim that universe started from nothing. According to Guth, universe is the ultimate free lunch. So, what is the truth - tremendous amount of energy or nothing?”

“Now, Hawking is a brilliant scientist. Why would he believe in such a preposterous idea? The reason is that he arrived at a conclusion first and then he went to find the facts (there are no facts before Big Bang) which will support his conclusion. Religion does this backward practice; scientist should not do such cheating. His pre-conceived conclusion was that there is no Creator. Therefore, it follows; the universe must have emerged spontaneously. As Sherlock Holmes famously said “How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth”.

 

 

158. Mother of Saint Augustine

 

 

Anybody who has read ‘Confessions’ (1) cannot help being touched by the holiness of Monica, mother of Augustine. We have glimpses of her life and even her actual words as narrated by her son in his book. She died in Italy in 387 A.D.

 

Her husband was a man of short temper and unfaithful to her. Wife beating was a common practice during those days but her husband,

 

 ‘ respected, loved, and admired her……….many women, whose faces were disfigured by blows from husbands would complain the behavior of their men-folk……They used to remark how surprising it was that they had never heard, or seen any marks to show……….any domestic disagreement……even for one day ’(1)

 

Her mother-in-law was at first prejudiced against her, but she won her over by ‘… dutiful attention and constant patience and gentleness’ (1)

 

Her greatest desire in life was that her son should turn to God. St Augustine writes:

 

“My mother, your faithful servant, wept to you for me, shedding more tears for my spiritual death than other mothers shed for the bodily death of a son”.

 

 Augustine was leading a sinful life and had a concubine.

One night she had a dream:

 

“She dreamt that she was standing on a wooden ruler, and coming towards her in a halo of splendor she saw a young man who smiled at her in joy, although she herself was sad and quite consumed in grief. He asked her the reason for her grief and her daily tears…………….When she replied that her tears were for the soul I had lost, he asked her to take heart for, if she looked carefully, she would see where she was, there also was I. And when she looked, she saw me standing beside her on the same rule.”

“She always said that by some sense…….she was able to distinguish between Your revelations and her own natural dreams”

 

This was a divine revelation. Augustine argued that it meant that she should not despair to be like him, one day.

‘She said at once and without hesitation “No! He did not say ‘Where he is, you are’ but ‘where you are, he is’.

 

This dream gave her great reassurance. She never doubted the veracity of the dream. She became certain that her son Augustine would, one day turn to God, although it took close to nine years. Despite the dream,

“ ……….never ceased to pray at all hours and to offer to You the tears she shed for me…………but she gave no rest to her sighs and her tears. Her prayers reached Your presence and yet You still left me to twist and turn in dark”.

 

While she was crossing the Mediterranean Sea on a ship, the ship came in danger.

 

“ It was she who put heart in the crew…………She promised them that they would make the land in safety, because You had given her this promise in a vision”

 

Once she kept on begging a Bishop to talk to Augustine and show him the right path, but the Bishop kept on refusing. He said,

 

“Leave him alone and just pray to God for him”.

 

But Monica would not stop her entreaties.

 

“At last he grew impatient and said ‘Leave me and go in peace. It cannot be that the son of these tears should be lost”. In later years she used to say that she accepted those words as a message from heaven”

 

Augustine turned to God by a strange set of events, which I will narrate in detail when I write about him. Her mother was overjoyed to hear it.

Five days before her sickness which resulted in her death, after a long and tiring journey, mother and son started talking about the eternal life of saints. It was a serene and peaceful conversation. They talked of the material things and of heaven and of love of God. Here are some excerpts:

 

“As the flame of love burned stronger in us and raised us higher towards the eternal God……..up to the heavens themselves, from which the sun and the moon and the stars shine down upon the earth. Higher still we climbed………At length we came to our own souls and passed beyond to that place of everlasting beauty…... There life is that Wisdom by which all things that we know are made………But that Wisdom is not made: it is as it has always been and as it will be forever…………..”

 

“And while we spoke of the eternal Wisdom, longing for it and straining for it with the strength of our hearts, for one fleeting instant we reached it and touched it. Then with a sigh …we returned to the sound of our own speech…”

 

“And then my mother said: ‘My son. For my part I find no further pleasure in this life……. What I am still to do or why I am here in this world, I do not know, for I have no more to hope for in this world. There was one reason, and one alone, why I wished to remain a little longer in this life and that was to see you a Catholic Christian before I died. God has granted my wish and more ………..What is left for me to do in this world?”

 

It was about five days after this that she developed fever and died after nine days of sickness.

 

She had expressed her wish to be buried beside her husband in Africa, in a grave which she had provided and prepared herself. Because they had lived in the greatest harmony, she wanted this extra happiness.

But she renounced her wish while she was sick, and told her son as follows:

 

 “You will bury your mother here (Ostia)And then, speaking to both of us, she went on, ‘It does not matter where you bury my body. Do not let that worry you! All I ask of you is that, wherever you may be, you should remember me at the altar of the Lord’

She was not frightened at the thought of leaving her body so far from her own country. ‘Nothing is far from God, and I need have no fear that He will not know where to find me when He  comes to raise me to life at the end of the world’


 

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ (1) ‘Confessions’ by St Augustine, Penguin Edition

 

 

159. Saint Augustine. Part One

 

What impresses a person the most about St. Augustine is his love for God, and his habit of thinking. Both are overawing. He had a towering intellect. He pondered over things which most people take for granted and never give a second thought.

 

He wrote the book ‘Confessions’ in 397-8 (1), which is considered a classic in spiritual literature. Whatever I am going to write about him is taken from this book (except my personal opinions), and is therefore 100% authentic. We may differ from his opinions, but we cannot doubt his sincerity. He is unduly harsh upon himself throughout his book. Some of the things for which he criticizes himself so severely were sort of trivial. For instance he and his friends stole pears from a neighbor’s tree. He did not even eat them. He was just a boy of sixteen, swept under peer pressure, to make mischief. Nowadays, it won’t be considered stealing but the rowdy behavior of a bunch of teenagers. But look at a sample of what he says, and carries on in four pages:

 

‘It is certain, O Lord, that theft is punished by Your law………..For no thief can bear that another thief should steal from him, even if he is rich and the other is driven to it by want. Yet I was willing to steal, and steal I did, although I was not compelled by any lack….. a greedy love of doing wrong. For what I stole I already had plenty………and I had no wish to enjoy the thing I coveted by stealing, but enjoy the theft itself and the sin’.

 

Let us take the first point; his love for God. Every page of this 347 pages book, mentions the magnificence of God and his love for Him. Sometimes dozens of time in a single page. Let me give you an example; book 1:

 

Who will grant me to rest content in You? To whom shall I turn for the gift of Your coming in my heart and filling it to the brim, so that I may forget all the wrong I have done and embrace You alone, my only source of good?

Why do You mean so much to me? Help me to find words to explain. Why do I mean so much to You, that You should command me to love You? O Lord, my God, tell me why You mean so much to me. Whisper in my heart, I am here to save you( Psalm, 34:3 )………….I shall hear Your voice and make haste to clasp You to myself. Do not hide Your face from me, for I would gladly accept death to see It, for not to see it would be death indeed”.

 

He is talking to God, all the time, in this book. He is telling Him his problems. He is confessing his sins. He is begging for His mercy. He is thanking Him for all the things that He has given him. He is asking him to show him light on some of the thorniest issues of all times; such as, where does sin come from? What is Time? How to reconcile passages of Bible to the scientific discoveries of his time? How were the prophets able to predict future events? He asks for His help to conquer lust, his major weakness.

 

The sentence that I highlighted (Why do I mean so much to You, that You should command me to love You?) carries an extremely important point in mysticism. I want to explain what St. Augustine meant.

 

What he is saying is that God need not have bothered Himself about him. He is just one human amongst billions of humans on planet earth, which is one of perhaps hundred billions planets in our galaxy, which is one of a hundred billion galaxies. It is God’s mercy to note Augustine and help him. God could have kept on doing what He was doing, but He paused and helped Augustine. This mote, only recently, understood God’s mercy, His kindness, in noticing this speck. We, lovers of God, think that our love somehow compels Him, as if He likes flattery (see footnote). Yogananda said as much in his book (2), that God is drawn to the tears and sighs of a lover of God. Nothing compels God; He just takes pity on His devotee. My interpretation is that God likes a true devotee, because he cares about God and not the world and is different from others. Such persons are rare, perhaps one in a thousand. Their desire to reach God is noticed by God. How does God help them?

 He puts, in their heart, love for God. And that is what St Augustine meant.

 

So the sequence of events is somewhat like this: A person wants to be near God and prays for it repeatedly, God notices it, God takes pity on him, and He puts His love in his heart. The love for God gives great strength to the person, and he travels on the path towards God despite tremendous difficulties and sorrows.

 

To be continued

 

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­________________________________________________________________________________

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ (1) ‘Confessions’ by St Augustine, Penguin Edition

(2). ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’ by Yogananda

Footnote. This mote has written approximately 6 blogs on Daata Gunj Bakhash, the 11th century mystic buried in Lahore, Pakistan. I once asked, through somebody, an exalted saint who communicates with spirit of Data Sahib, that did Data Sahib like my blogs. The saint replied that Daata Sahib is beyond these things. Surely then, God is beyond censure or praise.

 

 

 

 

 

160. Saint Augustine. Part two; Conversion

 

St Augustine carried on his pursuit for worldly gains and passions till he was 32 years old. He taught the art of public speaking to pupils. He was studying for the law. He was at the top of the school for rhetoric. He was pleased with his superior status and swollen with conceit. He was vain and ambitious and wanted to cut a fine figure in the world. He was eager for fame, wealth and marriage. He consulted imposters, the astrologers (although he refused to consult sorcerers because they sacrificed animals and prayed to spirits). He went to the theatre and watched the spectators enjoy their sadness, by witnessing the tragedy and suffering on the stage (although to his credit, he never liked the gladiatorial shows because of the cruelty).

He described himself: ‘But why do I talk of these things? I lived in misery, like every man whose soul is tethered by the love of things that cannot last and then is agonized to lose them’

 

 He was a slave of lust. He had a mistress and together they had a son. After she left him and went back to Africa, he found another mistress. He describes those days:

 

 “I had prayed to You for chastity and said ‘Give me chastity and continence, but not yet’. For I was afraid that You would answer my prayer at once and cure me too soon for the disease of lust, which I wanted satisfied, not quelled”

 

His dear friend died. He mourned for him. He narrates his grief in eight pages ‘What madness, to love a man as something more than human! What folly to grumble at the lot man has to bear! I lived in a fever, convulsed with tears and sighs that allowed me neither rest nor peace of mind’

 

He wondered about the powers the astronomers possessed; they could foretell eclipses of sun and moon many years before they happened, and whether the eclipse would be total or partial.

 

But he still searched for truth. He read many books, including Aristotle’s ‘Ten Categories’. He talked to many learned men but none could satisfy him. He writes:

 

‘Truth! Truth! How the marrow of my soul within me yearned for it’

 

And finally, he met a man of God; Bishop Ambrose, in Milan (now called St. Ambrose), who was known throughout the world for his goodness. He writes: ‘Unknown to me, it was You who led me to him, so that I might knowingly be led by him to You. This man of God received me like a father…….My heart warmed to him’.

 

Although he could not talk to Ambrose face to face, because the Bishop was always busy, but at least, over a period of time, after listening to the sermons of Ambrose he turned towards Catholic teaching. He writes:

 

‘I was glad too that at last I had been shown how to interpret the Holy Scripture of the law and the prophets in a different light from that which I had previously made them seem absurd’.

 

He narrates a strange incident. It is not clear whether it was day or night, and whether he was asleep or awake.

 

‘I entered the depth of my soul…….I saw the Light……….. What I saw was quite different from any light we know on earth…... It shown above my mind……... It was above me because it was the Light itself that made me, and I was below because I was made by it. All who know that Light, and all who know this Light know eternity’.

‘I heard your voice calling from on high, saying “I am the food of full-grown men. Grow and you shall feed on Me. But you shall not change Me into Your own substance, as you do with the food of your body. Instead you shall be changed into Me’”

 

He now started loving God! But he was amazed that he did not persist in enjoying Him. He began to search the means to gain strength in enjoying God. He found the strength through the mediator between God and men, Jesus Christ.

He derived great joy and comfort in writing of Apostle Paul.

 

This mote has learnt that if one adopts the path of religion to reach God (which unfortunately I could not) then due to certitude the task becomes easier. St Augustine makes this point:

 

‘It is one thing to catch sight of the land of peace……and unable to find the way to it, struggle on through trackless wastes where traitors and runaways, captained by their prince,……lie in wait to attack. It is another thing to follow the high road to that land of peace, the way that is defended by the care of the Commander’.

 

Two mystics (Shahab and the mystic from Bhaun, Pakistan, blogs 65-6,103) have written in their books, that they were never assailed by doubts.

 

Now, the chain of events which led to the most important event of his life; the episode of the garden.

 

To be continued.

 

 

161. Saint Augustine. Part three; Conversion

 

A fellow countryman of Augustine by the name of Ponticianus visited him in his house and saw St Paul’s epistles at his table. His close friend and fellow countryman from Africa, Alypius was also there. Ponticianus told them the story of Antony, the Egyptian monk, whose name was held in high honor. They were astonished to hear of the wonders You had worked so recently, almost in their own times, and witnessed by so many. Then he told them of the time when he and three of his companions were strolling in the gardens. Two of them got separated and came to the house of some men, who were although poor in spirit, but had the kingdom of heaven within them. In that house they found a book containing the life of Antony. One of them started to read it. The book had a profound impression upon him. Augustine writes:

 

“All at once he was filled with the love of holiness. Angry with himself and full of remorse, he looked at his friend and said, ‘What do we hope for the efforts we make?.......Can we hope for anything better at court than to be Emperor’s friends?.......’

While he was reading, a cry broke from him. He said to his friend ‘I have torn myself free of all ambitions and have decided to serve God. From this very moment, here and now, I shall start to serve Him.’ The other answered that he would stand by his comrade….. So these two, now Your servants, built their tower at the cost which had to be made, that is, at the cost of giving up all they possessed and following You.

Both these men were under a promise of marriage, but once the two women heard what had happened, they too dedicated their virginity to You.”

 

The story had a tremendous effect on Augustine. He writes:

 

‘In the heat of the fierce conflict which I had stirred up against my soul……I turned to Alypius and explained “What is the matter with us? What is the meaning of this story? These men have not had our schooling, yet they stand up and storm the gate of heaven,………….while we lie here groveling in this world of flesh and blood!’

 

Augustine took refuge in the garden attached to the house. He was beside himself with madness. He was frantic, overcome with violent anger with himself for not accepting His will. He was wracked with indecision. He tore his hair and hammered his forehead with fists. He locked his fingers and hugged his knees. He wanted to take the course of serving God, but also he willed himself not to take it.

 

A great storm broke into him, bringing with it a deluge of tears. He states:

 

“I was asking myself questions, weeping all the while with the most bitter sorrow in my heart, when all at once I heard the sing-song voice of a child in a nearby house. Again and again it repeated the refrain

‘Take it and read, take it and read ’. At this I looked up, thinking hard whether there was any kind of game in which children used to chant words like these, but I could not remember ever hearing it before. I stemmed my tears and stood up, telling myself that this could only be a divine command to open my book of Scripture and read the first passage on which my eyes should fall. For I had heard the story of Antony who had heard in a church a counsel which he thought was addressed to him. He heard ‘Go home and sell all that belongs to you. Give it to the poor…………….then come back and follow me’.

He had obeyed the counsel”.

He rushed back and opened the book of Paul’s Epistles. He read the first passage on which his eyes fell:

 

Not in reveling and drunkenness, not in lust and wantonness, not in quarrel and rivalries. Rather, arm yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ; spend no more thoughts on nature and nature’s appetite

 

As he came to the end of sentence, a light of confidence surged in his heart and all the darkness of doubt was dispelled. He was now calm. He told Alypius what had happened to him. Alypius asked to see what he had read. He read on beyond the text Augustine had read. It said:

 

Find room among you for a man of over-delicate conscience.

 

Alypius applied this to himself and told Augustine so. The admonition was enough to give him strength and he also made his resolution without any hesitation. And it very well suited his moral character, which had long been far, far better than Augustine’s.

Then they went and told Monica (mother of Augustine), who was overjoyed. As has been stated in a previous blog, she had been praying and weeping daily to the Lord, for Augustine’s conversion.

 

 

162. Saint Augustine and Time. Part Four

 

What is time?

 

 St Augustine pondered over this question. Why did he ponder over this question? Because, he pondered over another question first. How have the prophets been able to predict future events?

A modern man, even if he was a thinking man, like David Hume, an 18th century Scottish philosopher, would simply deny that prophets could do such a thing (Hume did not believe in anything supernatural). However, Augustine believed in it.

 

If prophets could tell future then it exists somewhere, but future cannot exist since it has not been made yet. Now, I hope you realize Augustine’s difficulty. Let me quote his words from his book (1):

 

As a boy I learnt that there were three divisions of time, past, present, and future. But there might be people who would maintain that there are not three divisions of time but only one, the present, because the other two do not exist. Another view might be that past and future do exist, but time emerges from some secret refuge when it passes from future to the present, and goes back into hiding when it moves from present to the past. Otherwise how prophets see the future, if there is not yet a future to be seen? It is impossible to see what does not exist.

In the same way people who describe the past could not describe it correctly unless they saw it in their minds, and if the past did not exist it would be impossible for them to see it at all. Therefore both the past and the future do exist!’

 

Is St Augustine contradicting himself? No, he is simply thinking loud and exploring various theories. He is trying to think which of the two is true, three divisions of time or only the present, and secondly he is trying to figure out how could prophets see future?

He observes very succinctly, “How can two, the past and future, be, when the past no longer is and the future is not yet?”

At one point he even questions whether present exists. He writes: “ How can we say that even present is, when the reason it is is that it is not to be? In other words, we cannot rightly say that time is, except by reason of its impending state of not being

 

He observes the other attributes of time: it is never still, that it derives its strength only from a great number of movements constantly following one another into the past; once it becomes past it ceases to be. The present has no duration (see footnote 1)

He arrives at a very important conclusion, that the past and future wherever they are and whatever they are, it is only by being present they are.

This is a subtle point, that we do not see past and future as such, both have to be converted to the present.

He floats a theory ( I do not know whether that was his final conclusion about prophecies ) about how future may be foretold. Sometimes future events give a sign of things to come. For instance, one can tell that the sun is about to rise by witnessing the break of day. Nowadays, this theory will not carry any weight. Weather forecasters do it every day. What we are discussing, are future events that cannot be predicted by any scientific means.

He cannot solve this mystery. He surrenders. He writes:

 

“For it is utterly impossible that things which do not exist should be revealed. The means by which You do this is far beyond our understanding. I have not the strength to comprehend this mystery, and by my own power I never shall.”

 

 He asks God for help (see footnote 2)

 

“My mind is burning to solve this intricate puzzle. O Lord my God, good Father………..I long to find the answer. Through Christ I beseech You……..Let Your mercy give me light”

 

He disagrees with some men who says that time is nothing but the movement of heavenly bodies (one rotation of sun makes a day and a night). He argues that everything moves in time, it is not that their

 movement constitutes time.

 

Finally he states his solution. Remember, he had made an important point which I have already mentioned; that the past and future wherever they are and whatever they are, it is only by being present they are. We do not see past and future as such, both have to be converted to the present.

 

He carries this point to its logical conclusion. Where is the place where past and future exist, as present? The answer is; in the mind. Past is memory, present is attention, and the future is expectation.

 

British Philosopher Bertrand Russell did not agree with his analysis, because it made time something mental (2)

 

He still did not solve the riddle that how prophets had been able to predict future.

____________________________________________________________________________________

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ (1) ‘Confessions’ by St Augustine

(2) A history of Western philosophy by Bertrand Russell

Footnote 1. Smallest unit of time is a Planck time; 10-43 seconds. It is the time for the light to take to travel a Planck length.

Footnote 2. This mote also begged God to help him to understand how future can be foretold, by giving him such an experience. I quote from blog 142; “this mote prayed to God, even today, a way to access the future, at least for once, so that I can then say that I have myself seen some future event. For me, at least, then it won’t be hearsay”.

 

 

163. Saint Augustine. Part Five

 

St Augustine did not perform any miracles (he might have but he did not record it in ‘Confessions’). However there are some incidents which are miraculous.

 

1. Episode of the voice in the garden, which led to his conversion. I have already narrated it.

 

2. He developed toothache. The pain was so great that he could not speak. He asked all his friends who were with him to pray to God for him. He wrote down the message and gave it to them to read, and as soon they all knelt down to offer to God their humble prayer, the pain vanished. He writes:

 

 ‘What was that pain? How did it vanish? My Lord and my God, I confess that I was terrified, for nothing like this had ever happened to me in my life. Deep within me I recognized the working of Your will.’

 

3. St Augustine writes: “God revealed Bishop Ambrose, in a vision, where the bodies of martyrs Protasius and Gervasius were hidden (see the footnote). All these years (over two hundred) You had preserved them incorrupt.”

 

4. While the bodies were being carried, on the way, several people who were tormented by evil spirits were cured. There was also a man who had been blind for many years, a well known figure in the city. He asked why the crowd was running wild with joy, and when they told him the reason, he leaped to his feet and begged his guide to lead him where the bodies lay. When he reached the place, he asked to be allowed to touch the bier with his handkerchief.  No sooner had he done this and put the handkerchief to his eyes, his eyesight was restored. The news spread.

What do the followers of David Hume, the Scottish philosopher, say about this episode? St. Augustine was there in the city of Milan. He would not have recounted it unless it was authentic. He may even have witnessed it. Augustine was a highly rational man, as is clear from his struggle to understand time, astrology, and how prophets could see future. He was not likely to suffer from what Hume calls ‘superstitious delusion’.

 

5. I have already recounted the visions of Monica; crossing of Mediterranean Sea, and Augustine and she on the wooden rule when she saw a young man in a halo of splendor.

 

Astrology. People used to consult sorcerers and astrologers, frequently, in St Augustine’s time. Young Augustine did not go to sorcerers because he did not want the sacrifice of any living thing to learn the future, but he frequented astrologers. He became friends with a wise old man. When the old man learnt that Augustine was an enthusiast for books of astrology, he told him to throw them away and waste no further pains upon such rubbish. He asked him why it was that the future was often correctly foretold by means of astrology. He gave him the only possible answer that it was all due to the power of chance.

St Augustine still did not give up astrology, but he started to have doubts.

One day a friend, Firminius, told him a story. The father of Firminius and a friend of his father were deeply interested in astrology. So much so, that they would note the exact time of birth of their domestic animals and studied the position of stars at the time of birth. When Friminius’s mother was pregnant, a female slave was also expecting a child. The two men made the most minute calculations to determine the time of labor of both women, counting the days, hours, even the minutes, and so it happened that both gave birth at exactly the same moment. This meant that the horoscopes which they cast for the two babies had to be exactly the same. If the horoscopes were the same, their lives should be the same!

The one baby born of a rich family had a good life. His wealth increased and high honors came his way. But the slave continued to serve his masters. His lot never improved.

This story made the final end of St Augustine’s doubts.

Later on, he considered astrologers as imposters

 


 

Footnote. The sons are said to have been scourged and then beheaded, during the reign of the Emperor Nero, under the presidency of Anubinus or Astasius, and while Caius was Bishop of Milan. Some authors place the martyrdom under the Emperor Diocletian, but others object to this time, because it is not clear how, in that case, the place of burial, and even the names, could be forgotten by the time of Saint Ambrose, as is stated. It probably occurred during the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius (161-180)

 

St Ambrose in 386 had built a magnificent basilica at Milan, now called the Basilica Sant'Ambrogio. Asked by the people to consecrate it in the same solemn manner as was done in Rome, he promised to do so if he could obtain the necessary relics. In a dream he was shown the place where such relics could be found. He ordered excavations to be made outside the city, in the cemetery Church of Saints Nabor and Felix, who were at the time the primary patrons of Milan, and there found the relics of Saints Gervasius and Protasius. In a letter, St Ambrose wrote: "I found the fitting signs, and on bringing in some on whom hands were to be laid, the power of the holy martyrs became so manifest, that even whilst I was still silent, one was seized and thrown prostrate at the holy burial-place. We found two men of marvelous stature, such as those of ancient days. All the bones were perfect, and there was much blood

Source: Wikipedia: St Protasius and Gervasius

 

 

164. Prophet Muhammadpbuh Seen Over Centuries. Part one

 

 

Here are some visions of Prophet Muhammadpbuh, over the centuries, all in dreams, narrated by the persons themselves, all except one, in the books written by their own hands. Therefore, the authenticity of the dreams is above board, except, if the writers were lying. The readers have to decide for themselves.

 

1. Readers of my blogs are familiar with Shahab. I have mentioned him in various blogs (9, 64-66). He was a mystic. He wrote his autobiography, ‘Shahabnama’, and the dream is mentioned in the book.

Shahab was a boy of about fourteen when he had this dream. He dreamt that he was in a vast desert. He was running in sand, which was coming to his knees. He could not breathe due to running. When he could not run anymore, he started crawling on his knees. Soon he could not even crawl on his knees. Still he crawled with his trunk. He got very tired and short of breath. There was severe pain in his chest. Suddenly his hands caught a corner of a prayer rug. The rug was spread under a date tree, and on it the Holy Prophet Muhammadpbuh was sitting. He smiled at him.

At that very moment he woke up. It was the bitterly cold month of February. Despite the cold, his whole body was inundated with perspiration. His throat was dry like a bone and breath was coming in and out like a bellow. There was severe pain in both sides of his chest. The pain in the chest remained for the rest of his life.

He sat in the bed dazed. Then he started weeping. His weeping woke his mother. “Did you have a bad dream, child?”

“Yes, I had a strange dream” he replied.

She took deep breaths to smell the air in the room.

“I have told you so many times not to use fragrant oil in your hair at night, but you don’t listen to me. Off course with fragrant oil one gets bad dreams.”

“I have not used any oil”. And then he quickly told his mother his dream.

Mother also started crying. Both mother and son wept silently, at the profound grace that had fallen on him.

The room was redolent with fragrance.

 

2. The writer of the book, named Ghazi Ahmed, (1) had a dream when he was a fourteen years old Hindu boy, living in a village in rural Pakistan, in 1938. The village had Muslims and Hindu inhabitants. Hindus were only a quarter of the total village population, but owned most of the land and were richer than the Muslims. The school boys used to discuss about the merits of Hinduism and Islam. The author happened to read a book in which Islam, Hinduism, and Sikhism was compared. Religious ideas started swirling in his head. His one Muslim friend took him to a pious Muslim scholar. He told the scholar that he had been praying everyday to God and reciting his Hindu rosary. The pious man was very pleased to hear his religious inclinations. He said the God of Hindus and Muslims is the same. “I am not asking you to convert to Islam but I am asking you to pray to God, every night, before going to sleep, the following:  O god! I am an ignorant person, without friend or helper, please show me the right path, etc………….”

He started reciting the prayer every night. Nothing happened for ten to fifteen days. Then one night he had a long and complicated dream. I am only going to narrate the part related to Prophet Muhammadpbuh.

 

 “………A large moon appeared in the west. It was about fifteen times bigger than the full moon. The light was so powerful that one could see for thousands of miles. We (the author and his friend Sadiq ) started our journey. I felt that we have arrived at Mecca. We reached Kaaba (the holiest site of Islam). Countless sahaba (companions of Prophet Muhammadpbuh) were sitting in white dress, facing Kaaba. Prophet Muhammadpbuh was sitting with his back resting on the wall of Kaaba. We recognized him from a distance. I was walking behind Sadiq, because he was a Muslim and I was not, so he had the right to meet the Holy Prophet first. We passed through the sahaba. Sadiq shook hands with the seated Prophet.

When I extended my hand, the Holy Prophet stood up, and embraced me; this lowly non-Muslim. Every pore of my body got filled with happiness. Holy Prophet sat down with me sitting beside. He asked, ‘Why have you come? ’

‘To become a Muslim’ I replied.

Prophet Muhammadpbuh took my right hand in his hands and read something. Then he said “now you are a Muslim”

I was very happy to hear this, because I had been converted to Islam by the Holy Prophet himself.

 

To be continued


 

(1) Mayra Qabool-a-Islam ( My conversion to Islam), by Ghazi Ahmed (this book is in Urdu)

 

 

 

165. Prophet Muhammadpbuh Seen Over The Centuries. Part Two

 

We were discussing the authentic dreams about Prophet Muhammadpbuh. Next night Ghazi (see previous blog) had another dream:

 

3. In the dream he saw that he was going home from the school in the company of several students. They met an apparition of a jet black, giant of a man, whose arms appeared to be about fifteen feet long and he had a horn on his forehead. Everybody was shaking with fear. Ghazi recognized that he was Dajjal, an evil figure, who is supposed to come before the end of the world. Dajjal asked the first student that who did he belong to? He replied ‘I belong to God’. Dajjal killed him. The next student was asked the same question, and he answered ‘I belong to you’. Dajjal was very pleased with the answer and gave the boy sweets. Next he asked the same question to Ghazi. Ghazi timidly replied that he belonged to God. Dajjal slapped him. He started weeping. Dajjal ordered him to come towards him.

 

Then he saw that prophet Muhammadpbuh was seated nearby. The prophetpbuh called him to come near. A thought occurred to Ghazi that he had seen the prophetpbuh just yesterday, in far away Mecca, and today he was here. He saw the prophetpbuh this time very clearly; his dress, his face, and a rosary in his hands. The prophetpbuh was reciting something, facing Kaaba.

 

He said, “Son, listen, I have come so far only to help you. Now stop crying.” He was also stroking his back with his holy hand, just as a father would do to a weeping child. “Don’t ever accept the commands of Dajjal. He cannot hurt you anymore. These worldly gains are nothing as compared to heavenly rewards. If you stay steadfast in this test, you will get great boons in heaven. Pay no attention to Dajjal’s offers. I am praying for your success. By the grace of God, you will succeed. God will help you”

 

Dajjal called me again. I saw that the other boys were eating sweets. The other boys said, ‘obey him, and enjoy like us.’ I said, ‘I will enjoy the bounty of next life’. Hearing these words, Dajjal became angry and lifted his hand to strike me. Out of fear, I woke up”

 

The prayer of prophetpbuh bore fruits throughout Ghazi’s life. He succeeded in all the endeavors that he undertook. He had a very successful and peaceful life. He did Masters in two subjects and stood first in the university both times. He retired as principal of an Intermediate College.

He did not waver during the severe tribulations caused by his conversion to Islam. His mother would cry every day. All his relatives would taunt him for giving up the religion of his ancestors, and be a source of shame for the whole Hindu community in general and his parents in particular. His parents and his grandmother would beg him repeatedly, not to dishonor the family. His father beat him to a pulp with blood soaking his dress. The father took him to the edge of a creek and threatened to throw him down into the creek  from a mountain in Kashmir. He escaped with the help of a guide. They walked for about forty miles, over snow covered paths, sometimes over crevasses in ice. They did not find food for three days.

His father took the case to the court, and got the verdict in his favor, after bribing the judge. He had to leave his house and live with Muslims. During all this period he prayed to God and the holy prophetpbuh to help him

In 1947, all his family members had to leave their ancestral village and migrate to India, because they were Hindus. He was left all alone in Pakistan with not a single relative because he was a Muslim. He never met his father again. He talked to his mother and one brother, once, across the barbed wire at the boundary between India and Pakistan. That was the last time he saw his mother.

 

 

4. Ghazi’s son, Tahir Jamil had the following dream:

 

“I was with my father. I saw a man with naked sword coming towards us. I felt that he was going to attack us. I moved forward to defend my father. The man approached near. I looked back and my father was no longer there, instead the holy prophetpbuh was standing there. I thought this man is going to attack the prophetpbuh . I thought I should sacrifice my life in order to defend the prophetpbuh. I was going to step forward to fight with the man, but the prophetpbuh gestured me to stop. I stopped as ordered. The sword fell from that person’s hand, and he said, ‘make me Muslim’. He became Muslim. I was very happy. The prophetpbuh said ‘Tahir Jamil is there a mosque nearby?’ I said ‘yes, there is an old mosque’. The prophetpbuh said, ‘Let us say maghrib prayer’. The prophetpbuh led the prayer, with me and that other person following. As I finished the prayer, I woke up.”

5. Tahir Jamil had another dream of the prophetpbuh.

“In the dream I was in Medina (where the prophetpbuh is buried). I was reciting darood (a prayer honoring the prophet Muhammadpbuh and prophet Abraham), with great fervor, at the outer boundary of the prophet’spbuh grave. The door to inner area opened by itself. I entered that door and kept on reciting darood. Another door which led to innermost room also opened. I saw three graves in that room. There was a tablet at the head of one grave, which read ‘ Muhammad rasool ullah’

I continued reciting darood, very passionately, at the foot of the prophet’spbuh grave. The grave opened and the prophetpbuh came out. He asked me the reason of my coming. I said ‘to ask forgiveness for my sins’

The prophetpbuh repliedGod has forgiven your sins and so have I’

I started weeping with happiness and gratitude.

Seeing the prophetpbuh in such a kind mood I said ‘I want to do postgraduate studies in medicine. I request your prayer for my successes

The prophetpbuh said ‘Son, study hard, I will pray for your successes’

I woke up.”

 

6. Ghazi received a letter from a man, Nazir Hussin Shah of Lalian, Pakistan. He thought that the man must have read his book and wanted to talk about it. Once he was travelling near Lalian, he thought of meeting the sender of the letter. He met Mr Nazir, an elderly man. He had never heard of Ghazi Ahmed nor had he read his book. He said he had a message from the prophetpbuh for Ghazi, but he was told to go to Ghazi and give the message. Therefore, he would travel to Ghazi’s residence and will give the message. Ghazi got upset that may be the prophetpbuh is upset with him, and the message is a scolding for his dereliction.

 

To be continued

 

166. Prophet Muhammadpbuh Seen Over The Centuries. Part Three

 

We were discussing the dream of Nazir Ahmed. One day Nazir came to the town where Ghazi lived, and gave an account of his encounter, in a dream, with the holy prophetpbuh. He told the following:

 

I developed cancer in my right leg. Blood would ooze from the wound. The leg became smaller in circumference. I started using crutches. A friend took me to a doctor in Mayo Hospital Lahore. The doctor examined the leg and said that it has to be amputated. We rented a room in a hotel. The surgery was scheduled for the next day. I went to a nearby mosque for night prayer. I prayed to God to save my leg. At around 2 AM I fell asleep. In the dream I saw a beautiful house. Lot of people were going in. I asked somebody that why were the people going in? He replied ‘don’t you know the holy prophetpbuh is inside’. I walked inside on my crutches. There I saw the holy prophetpbuh sitting and many people around him also sitting, respectfully. I presented myself to the holy prophetpbuh and said salaam, with reverence.

He said ‘What brings you here?’

I replied ‘I have come to ask you to pray for cure of my disease’

He said ‘Go to your home in the morning. The merciful God will have pity on you.’

Hearing these words I became certain that my leg will get better without any operation.

As I was turning to go, the holy prophetpbuh said ‘do you know the person standing with me.’

I said ‘No, sir’

He said ‘this is my companion Abu Bakar, listen to what he has to say (see footnote)’

With great reverence I gave my salaam to Hazrat Abu Bakarru. He answered my salaam affectionately and gave me a piece of paper from his pocket. On the paper it was written; ‘Professor Ghazi Ahmed Principal Government Intermediate College Bochal Kalan, Distt Jhelum’

 

Abu Bakarru said “read the address and memorize it”. I did it. Then he said, “Do you know this man”

I replied “I have never heard of him”

He said, ‘Ghazi Ahmed is the person who was given the gift of Islam by the holy prophetpbuh. Go to the home of Ghazi and tell him that he should gird up his loins for service of Islam’.”

When Nazir woke up, he told his friend that there was no need of surgery. They checked out of the hotel. His leg eventually healed by itself. He showed his leg to Ghazi, his foot wound had completely healed.

Ghazi stated that whenever he was invited to address a gathering he would remember the message of holy prophetpbuh.

This dream of Nazir is very important, because of three findings.

(a). It resulted in the miraculous cure of Nazir’s leg.

(b). He was given the name and address of Ghazi. Such a person did exist at that address. He had previously never heard of Ghazi.

(c). Hazrat Abu Bakar verified the fact that Ghazi was converted to Islam by the holy prophetpbuh. Before Mr Nazir’s account of his dream, one had no independent confirmation of this fact. Skeptics had claimed that this fourteen year old boy’s mind was filled with thoughts gleaned from reading the religious books which resulted in that fanciful dream; a creation of his own mind.

 

7. The readers of my blogs are aware of Data Gunj Bakhash, a great 11th century mystic, who is buried in Lahore, Pakistan (blogs 62-4,115-6). His book (1) is an autobiography, and it influenced this mote. Data Gunj Bakhash narrates two dreams in which he met the holy prophetpbuh. He writes:

 

“In the country of Syria, I was sleeping at the grave of Hazrat Blalru, the first muezzin (one who calls for prayer, in a loud voice) in Islam. In the dream I found myself in Mecca (where kaaba is located). I saw the holy prophetpbuh entering through Bab-a-Shiba. He was carrying a man in his lap, like one would carry a child. With joy I ran towards the holy prophetpbuh, and kissed his feet. I was wondering who this person might be, whom the holy prophetpbuh was carrying. He surmised my thoughts, and said this is your Imam (leader), and he belongs to your order I realized that he must be Imam Abu Hanifa (the greatest of all Imams in Sunni Islam). It became evident by that dream that the innovative thoughts of Abu-Hanifa were faultless, not because he was following the holy prophetpbuh but the holy prophetpbuh was carrying him.”

 

8. Data Gunj Bakhash had one more dream of the holy prophetpbuh. He narrates:

“I saw the holy prophetpbuh in my dream. I asked him to give me some advice”

Now, are you not curious to know, that what was the advice given by one of the greatest prophets of all times to one of the greatest mystics of all times?

The advice was ‘Control your senses

Data Gunj Bakhash elaborates the advice in a whole page.

“This is a comprehensive ascetic practice (to try to reach God), because all knowledge is acquired through the five special senses; see, smell, taste, hear and touch. Knowledge and wisdom are acquired through them……………”

I quote what St Teresa of Avila said (blog 75):

 

“It is most important, to detach oneself from all kinds of pleasures”. This is the same teaching which this mote has found in mystic practices of all religions; Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and others.

; Conquer one self.

9. My friend Dr Manocha had two visions of prophet Muhammadpbum both times in dreams. In the first vision the holy prophet pbum was sitting on a mat or something. A black blanket was wrapped around him. He had thick beard of white and grey hair. His head was covered with a black turban. His face had pitted scars on it. Dr Manocha thought that Hazoor (a title of respect) must have suffered from small pox sometimes. He watched the holy prophet by walking in an arc. As he watched, he realized that those pits were emitting light like stars. Second time he saw prophet Muhammadpbum from a distance. He was walking with a group of people. When he visited India, he specially went to a shop and bought a black shawl, as a token of his love and respect

 

 

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Footnote. Abu Bakarru was the closest companion of the holy prophetpbuh, and became the first caliph of Muslims after his death.

(1) Kashaf-ul Mahjoob by Data Gunj Bakhash.