Still my newspapers scans haven't arrived...so this morning, I'm going to tackle the tough one. I said that as Mathew Franklin Whittier in the 19th century, I committed "legacy suicide." I am now about to commit popularity suicide.
Nothing can be properly understood while rejecting God as the fundamental Reality from which all else proceeds, or, in an alternative view, which all else reflects.
Every search for truth is a search for God. If the universe is made up of pulses, short or long as the case may be, each pulse is seeking God. To the extent each pulse fails in that search, it must be repeated. So every single pulse is an attempt to find God this way, or that way. The universe is His step-ladder--it all reflects Him, and it all leads, eventually--by however a direct or circuitous route--back to Him--because it can't do anything else, being from Him.
Here, I must go to the story of how Swami Vivekananda met Sri Ramakrishna. I am telling this story from memory--and I studied these sources back in my early 20's. I may look it up later on and true it a bit with the written historical account, but let us continue for the moment. I relate this because it addresses a number of core issues.
Narendra was a college student in India, getting a Western education. As often happens, when he was exposed to Western materialist thinkers, he was beginning to question his own cultural heritage. So he sought out various gurus, and put the blunt question to them: "Sir, have you seen God?" To his disappointment, they all hemmed and hawed, until he came to Sri Ramakrishna. Ramakrishna responded: "Yes, I have seen God. I see Him as clearly as I see you. But who wants to see God? People cry buckets of tears for money, reputation or wife, but if a person would only cry for God for one day, surely they would see Him."
This, again, from memory--I'll make a note if I look up the exact quote.
Here, you may notice, you have direct empiricism, and repeatability. Meher Baba, my Guru, said of Sri Ramakrishna (again, from memory): "Sri Ramakrishna was what the world calls illiterate. Learned men from all over the world would come to sit at his feet, and not understand a word he said."
What Sri Ramakrishna has said, in the context of Narendra's question, is that he has achieved empirical results; that these results can be replicated; but that no-one will conduct the experiment properly in order to replicate his results.
Now I go to what I believe to be Abby's writing, stolen by (or given to) a young minister. Because we see it under a pseudonym, "P.", which Mathew Franklin Whittier appears to have used to publish pieces he and his beloved first wife, Abby, collaborated on, together, after she had passed. There are two more in the newspaper where this one appears, and these two are extremely plausible for Mathew and Abby, working together, while the two additional ones are extremely unlikely for this young, student minister. But that's in my book. For now, we'll just say, I have done my homework and I have good reason to believe this is Abby's philosophy. She says that skepticism is not only a matter of the intellect; it is, to put it familiarly, a matter of the heart being polluted or clogged up. The heart, Meher Baba has explained, is actually the core of the mind. We are not talking about physical emotions, nor about sentiment. We are talking about intuition, the organ of gnosis.
Jesus explained that the "pure in heart can see God." Meher Baba gave a very clear explanation of this; perhaps I can turn to it later.* Meher Baba had full and complete Gnosis--so whatever he said, if you get it unvarnished by translation or interpretation, and if you retain its context, is profundity itself. Meher Baba's words are like music which transports you to a higher dimension; they are a portal for the intuition. Mary "ate the bread and drank the wine" of Jesus's words, as I recall from my 19-year-old study of the New Testament.
Here, Abby says:
Scepticism does not usually come from the Intellect--it does not originate in the Understanding; it emanates from the Heart--from depraved affections and vicious habits. It is the mist and vapor, that rise up from the stagnant region of the disordered affections, and gather in thick clouds and settle down upon the Understanding. And it pervades not only the low vale of inferior minds, but shrouds with impenetrable darkness the loftiest summits of Intellect.
Abby goes on to describe how Society and government are affected, which doesn't so much concern us, here, though I omit it reluctantly. Then she concludes:
Scepticism destroys the proper influence of truth upon the mind, and in its nature is opposed to all truth. It would efface every vestige of it from the universe. But truth will remain the same venerable fabric, which has stood for ages, splendid and immutable, which time could not crumble--nor persecutions shake--nor revolutions change:--and majestic Appenine, the earth rocking at its feet and the heavens roaring round its head, firmly balanced on the base of its eternity--the relic of what was--the solemn and sublime memento of what must be. P.
Here, of course, by "scepticisim" she means, cynicism. Sri Ramakrishna did not mind Narendra's questions, because he was eagerly and honestly seeking out the answer. Had he unquestioningly accepted the garbage he was learning in school, he would never have run into Sri Ramakrishna in the first place.
Abby is commenting on cynical materialism when there was still spiritual understanding remaining in Western society. She could see the mess we are in, today, coming. All science which has tried to figure out the world, sans God--and I mean both God Impersonal and God Personal--is way, way, way off.
Reincarnation is a test-case. There are people who have tried to come up with material, or quasi-material, explanations for reincarnation. Now, having experienced his cynicism directly, when I tried to present my own case to him, I understand why the expert I recently butted heads with, has appealed to quantum physics in his book--despite the fact that he has no professional expertise in that subject. In the paranormal world, people take various routes to do "damage control," so as to continue to cut God out of the picture. The die-hard cynics resort to charges of Chance, or Magical Thinking, or Cryptomnesia, in order to flat-out deny the evidence for reincarnation. But some people retreat into Quantum Physics, or Genetics. That way you can still avoid accepting the soul, and God.
And let me show you, briefly, just how irrational these brilliant people are being. Because a little thought will tell you that genetics cannot be the explanation for past-life memories, since we have historically verified memories from people after they conceived children; and we have historically verified memories from people who didn't have any children. We also have people who physically resemble their past-life personality--meaning, in historically-verified cases--at least 85%. I, myself, fit in this category with Mathew Franklin Whittier. Jeff Keene resembles Gen. John B. Gordon more than 85%. He is arguably up around 95%. And there is no known genetic link between myself and the Whittier family; nor between Jeff, and the Gordon family.
So for this reason, you won't see people resort to Genetics as an explanation for past-life memories much, anymore. But look how little thought went into it. These people are grasping at straws.
Mathew was sized up as a "nihilist" by a French academician who specialized in American humorists of the 19th century, and who wrote a biographical sketch of Mathew. I knew he was like myself in this regard, and I proved it dozens of times over.
Every time a person--or a civilization--takes a blind alley, they learn something from it. Materialism is like a bad relationship that Western society will regret, but will learn from. Likewise religious fanaticism in the Middle East, but that's another story. Because identifying any Book or any Religion with the Truth, is an equal folly to Materialism and Atheism. All are side-tracks. Science can be a stepping-stone; religion can also be a stepping stone. Why? Because true science is a search for truth; and God is Truth. If science were followed honestly, it would lead, eventually, to God. If religion was followed honestly, it would, like a pair of training wheels, require that it be taken off at some point.
Actually, both of them would lead to the Realized Guru, not directly to God in the vast majority of cases. Meher Baba made the controversial point, that the middle ground between religion, and discipleship to a God-Realized spiritual master, is fraught with danger. He advised to go directly from the one, to the other, and to avoid that middle ground. I say this by way of disclaimer and warning; not that I want to get into this topic, today.
Always, at the back of my study, and my efforts, is this understanding, that I am trying to help break the back of the error of Materialism, specifically to open the way for people to find their way back to God, and true spirituality. Not to religion. Because by the time you are ready for my material, you are past the stage of organized religion, including Hinduism and Buddhism. I notice that Buddhists like to use my documentary on reincarnation for their own purposes--but it is fundamentally opposed to where they're coming from, in the sense of pointing to a space beyond organized religion.
Not opposed to Buddha; not opposed to Christ. Quite the contrary.
I close with a quote from Alfred Russel Wallace, a scientist who investigated evolution and the paranormal. Swami Yogeshananda, the monk who ran the Vedanta Society in Atlanta, Georgia at the time I was producing my documentary, pointed out to me that society chose Charles Darwin's materialistic interpretation of evolution over that of Wallace. The publishers, he said, preferred to print Darwin because his works would sell better; and society ate it up; hence, today we have his materialistic understanding of evolution in place of Wallace's more spiritual one. In other words, we, as a society, did it to ourselves. This has nothing to do with Science as a self-regulating search for truth. It has to do with popularity--and I have written elsewhere about what is required to win the popularity contest.
For my own part, I am convinced that at one period in the earth's history there was a definite act of creation, that from that moment evolution has been at work, guidance has been exercised. The more deeply men reflect upon what they are able to observe, the more they will be brought to see that Materialism is a most gigantic foolishness. And I think it will soon pass from the mind. At first there was some excuse. Into the authoritative nonsense and superstitions of Clericalism, evolution threw a bomb of the most deadly power. Those whose intelligence had been outraged and irritated by this absurd priestcraft rushed to the conclusion that religion was destroyed, that a little chain of reasoning had explained the whole infinite universe, that in mud was the origin of mind, and in dust its end. That was an opinion which could not last. Materialism is as dead as priestcraft for all intelligent minds. There are laws of nature but they are purposeful. Everywhere we look we are confronted by power and intelligence. The future will be full of wonder, reverence, and a calm faith worthy of our place in the scheme of things.
It would appear that Prof. Wallace's assessment of timing was a little off; just as it seems to be taking a bit longer for my study to be taken seriously, than I had expected. Rest assured, though, it is coming. Spirituality was diluted and distorted into codified religion; those who had hijacked it discredited it so, that the baby was violently thrown out with the bathwater, and so the pendulum swung toward Materialism and Reductionism. What's left of Religion vainly attempts to struggle against it (and you know that the fundamentalist explanation for reincarnation is that it is a "lie of the Devil"). But this over-reaction has come near to running its course. My study, among others, will be waiting.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
Music opening this page: "O Parvardigar," music by Pete Townshend, words from
The Master's Prayer by Avatar Meher Baba, from the album, "Who Came First"