Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Trump trumps All!

Dear Friends,

There's no point glossing over with platitudes the material and spiritual implications of Trumps "victory". If we pray or increase our prayers, let it not be, however, in and with fear. As disciples of Paramhansa Yogananda (or disciples of truth, peace & harmony) committed to the work of Ananda (or to other, similar endeavors) whose roots lie in our own hearts, bolstered by prayer, meditation and selfless service, we are doing our part as divine soldiers under the guidance of an exalted line of masters to bring light into the world. No one ever said this would be either welcomed by others or without self-sacrifice. 

"Trumpism" is in fact happening all over the world and in countries once the most accepting and liberal nations on earth. Fear is spreading tentacles of prejudice and selfishness like a dark cloud of poisonous gas throughout the world. It has always existed, yes, but now the nations of the world are networked together, rising or falling together: the time has come to disperse its power with light and energy.

We forget that our post WW II American generations have lived in a bubble of freedom, health, security and prosperity (however relative such things necessarily always are). Most nations and people down through the ages experience generational, or bi-generational wars, famines, catastrophes or economic upheavals on a cyclical basis. I suspect our turn is fast on its way to us. Someday it will be clear but only in retrospect how we got to this place step-by-step, whether materially, politically or spiritually.

Not fear but courage and commitment is what this turn in our country's affairs should remind us to affirm. Given who we are and what we represent, then, the form of that commitment is primarily spiritual. At the moment, our material commitment has taken only limited forms such as natural farming, educating children in a balanced, holistic way, and sharing truth teachings of many traditions (through East West). But just days ago our first homeless person appeared at the Ananda Temple in Bothell, WA late Saturday night after the evening meditation. No doubt, therefore, other avenues of serving will open up by necessity and circumstance.

Our beloved Swamiji, founder of Ananda and direct disciple of Yogananda, gave his life to serve his guru. By normal standards of merit and service, he had earned a comfortable retirement many years ago. Against the dictates of his body and health, he soldiered on, as he always said he would, to the end of his life "with my boots (of service) on." All his teaching days he never failed to remind us of Paramhansa Yogananda’s predictions, notably those of a "depression far worse than the 1930's" and of (natural) calamities we cannot imagine. (And, yes, of wars to come.)

Given Trump's ideologies and vaunted policies, the former (economic troubles) is easy enough to predict, as economic isolationism will no doubt trigger wholesale disruptions in trade. But, as history has shown and Swamiji has indicated, economic troubles often lead to competition and war. As to the other (catastrophes), are we not also urging one another to be prepared? A friend sent me an article just days ago with the Washington state government's conclusions based on their massive preparedness exercise (last summer/) extending their recommendations for individual and household preparedness from 3 days to two weeks. Well, enough on that; just read the news every week from around the world!

History will view the post war significant events in American history along the lines of such things as the three assassinations in the '60's (rejection of inspired and moral leadership), the debacle of the Vietnam War and the resignation of President Nixon (revealing our greed and cynicism), September 11 (when the rest of the world's woes came to our shores), Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans (when we first learned that we are likely to be on our own in times of need), and now this: the (temporary) victory of hate over love; competition over cooperation, abuse over respect, and prejudice over acceptance. 

My note sounds ominous because words in print exaggerate the intention but, in fact, this is the almost invisible beginning of "our time." Ananda and people like us all over the world are both the present and the future. As I have been saying for the last year in my Sunday Service talks, the time to make a choice has come. Sitting comfortably on the sidelines "minding my own business" has ended. 

Just think what it was like the day Hitler was elected. All sorts of rationalizations to remain calm and hopeful were given. Yet step by step he demolished the political and legal safeguards while everyone simply watched in amazement, sitting on the sidelines, minding their own business. I doubt history will repeat itself quite so literally and America in the 21st century is not Germany in 1930 but a bully is a bully, anywhere and everywhere. 

Ironically I am hopeful. Because the time for America's purification in order to re-establish our role and moral leadership in the world, together with that of India (not politically, but spiritually and energetically) has come. The spread of small communities where simplicity of living with high ideals is destined to appear: if not in the lifetime of some of us, surely as a result of the sacrifices and efforts we make here today, and elsewhere throughout the world. 

I am hopeful because more Americans (and others) will wake up and will make choices and commitments toward service, cooperation, simplicity and high ideals. Most people don't change lifestyle until forced; when forced, they will, at first, be angry, bitter and resentful. But enough people in this great nation and elsewhere will stand up for what is good, right and just. Of that I have no doubt, As to the details, who can say?

So, yes, let us pray but let us also affirm our commitment to these ideals of cooperation, service, devotion, meditation, and attunement to the guidance of our blessed line of gurus in harmony with the greater work of Ananda worldwide.

There is nothing to fear, only an opportunity to walk our talk with greater enthusiasm and faith. Death, troubles, and illness come to all. Never mind these things for we are a soul having a human experience for the time. Divine attunement does, in fact, bring protection in ways we cannot know in advance except through faith. 

So let's not pretend that nothing will change. Everything will change. But let us remain unchanged in our hearts and in our soul's march toward Self-realization sharing of the divine blessings we have been privileged to receive.

"Yato dharma, tato jaya" - "Where there is dharma, there is victory."

May Master's light and joy shine upon us and guide our way to freedom,

Swami Hrimananda